Wintjiri Wiṟu: Modern mini marvels telling ancient stories

Uluṟu, the sacred heart of Australia’s Red Centre, holds an ancient beauty that captivates visitors from around the world. As soon as you land, you feel the wonder and the ‘specialness’ – if that’s not already a word it should be a word to describe this magical place.

It’s difficult to pin down the feeling you immediately have when you’re there. Is it energy? Life? The essence of the land? All of the above? I don’t know. Maybe it has something to do with the sand on which you’re standing potentially being millions of years old. It is one of the few relatively untouched (read: relatively unspoilt) parts of the world. The energy here is raw and you feel as if you’re moving through a place without (or of another) time.

Adding a modern touch to this timeless wonder is Wintjiri Wiṟu: a light show that harmoniously blends technology with the rich cultural heritage of the Aṉangu people.

Modern mini marvels telling ancient stories

Wintjiri Wiṟu, meaning ‘beautiful view out to the horizon’ in the Pitjantjatjara language, showcases the extraordinary capabilities of drones, lasers and light projection to tell an enthralling story as old as time.

We arrive at the Sunset Dinner performance and are presented with a selection of cocktails and canapés featuring native ingredients such as gin-infused cucumber with green ants and celery salt, and blackened mountain pepper beef fillet on a truffle slider brioche. There are also curried crocodile pies, a sweet potato and warrigal greens flan, braised beetroot on pink buns – and much more.

The menu has been created in partnership with celebrated chef Mark Olive – star of The Outback Café, On Country Kitchen and other television shows.

“There is a growing interest from both Australian and international travellers to try native bush foods so I am truly excited to create a menu which heroes these amazing ingredients and will be enjoyed under the stars while watching Wintjiri Wiru,” says Mr Olive.

The main attraction

We’re suitably buzzing from the libations and degustation, as the sun sets on the ‘Rock’ and darkness falls. Wrapped in soft warm blankets, we’re seated on an amazing tiered stage featuring artwork by local Indigenous artist Christine Brumby.

The show begins with a choir of voices telling the Mala story from their Tjukurpa which is when ancestral beings called Tjukuritja created the world according to the Aṉangu. ‘Mala’ refers to the Indigenous rufous hare-wallaby people from the area between Kaltukatjara (Docker River) and Uluru.

Voices resonate in the night sky, across the vast desert, and echo above the backdrop of laser-illuminated scrub, shrubs and trees. They tell a tale of way back, when the Mala people received an invitation to an inma (ceremonial dance) from the people in the west, but decline this invitation because they were engaged in their own ceremony at the time.

The Mala creation story at Wintjiri Wiṟu. Photo by Leon Della Bosca

More than 1200 super-light drones then light up the sky to illustrate Kurpany, in the form of trees, then rocks and birds before transforming into a menacing devil dog crafted to end the inma with chaos. Luunpa, the Kingfisher Woman, cautions the Mala, but her warnings go unheeded.

Kurpany’s wrath is deadly, sparing only the fleeing women. The show intensifies as Kurpany’s malevolence grows. Luunpa ultimately vanquishes the evil spirit, and the drones show the Mala songline before fading into the starry sky.

Wintjiri Wiṟu – Kurpany the devil dog. Photo by Getty Images for Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia

A transformative experience

I don’t throw the word ‘unique’ around very often, but Wintjiri Wiṟu is a truly unique experience. The sky darkens and the stars sparkle overhead, and you are transported into a realm where ancient rock formations merge seamlessly with cutting-edge technology.

More importantly, it is an experience the Mala people willingly share.

“We are thinking about our future. We are looking forward and have created Wintjiri Wiṟu for the next generation, for our grandchildren,” says Rene Kulitja on behalf of the Aṉangu working group.

We have held hands with Voyages to create Wintjiri Wiṟu together. From the beginning, Voyages has been working together with the Anangu Working Group. We have been talking together, listening together, and creating together.

Wintjiri Wiru – The Trees. Photo by Getty Images for Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia

Embracing Aṉangu culture and respect

The creators have taken much care to ensure the Aṉangu people’s values and beliefs are honoured. This remarkable collaboration perfectly embodies the harmony of old and new. Every aspect of the show has been crafted with the utmost sensitivity to Aṉangu traditions.

The technology and design for the experience comes from world-renowned media architecture studio RAMUS, based in Melbourne and headed up by Canadian-born light artist Bruce Ramus. Photo by Leon Della Bosca

“It is big thing what we have done. We are really pleased and honoured about this project. We should be proud and happy of everything we have achieved,” says Awalari Teamay.

“This is great for Aṉangu, it will create job opportunities for our young people to work and share our stories. This is about teaching our younger people, the next generation to take over and teach our stories.

Lots of people are coming to see the rock, to see our culture, our Tjukurpa. This will always belong to us and we want to share it.”

These stories will not be lost

Wintjiri Wiru – Kurpany as the rocks. Photo by Getty Images for Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia

By inviting audiences into sacred territory, the Aṉangu share timeless wisdom and encourage a deeper understanding of their culture.

Wintjiri Wiṟu challenges traditional perceptions of what is possible within a cultural performance. It proves that technology can serve as a bridge between ancient customs, modern expression and the delicate balance struck between innovation and respect for Aṉangu culture.

“When I saw the show, I was thinking of my grandfathers and others who have passed on this story to me, and it reminded me that I have this knowledge as well,” says local artist Christine Brumby.

“Now I want to see more and more Aṉangu, older and younger, to lead tours and share culture so people can see the Mala story right at the rock. This is a great opportunity for people all over the world to see the Mala Tjukurpa in the sky and at the rock.”

Wintjiri Wiṟu ensures these stories will not be lost. And, as you witness the symphony of lights dancing across the night sky, you too will feel a deep connection to the timeless beauty of Uluṟu and Aṉangu culture.

So, how do I book and how do I get there?

The Wintjiri Wiṟu Sunset Dinner experience costs $385 per adult and $125 per child and incudes:

  • 20-minute immersive sound and light show depicting the Mala story
  • drinks and canapés at sunset
  • gourmet dinner hamper celebrating native ingredients
  • return transfers.

The After Dark experience is $190 for adults and $95 for children and includes:

  • 20 minute immersive sound and light show depicting the Mala story 
  • light refreshments
  • return transfers.

You can also take in a Twilight Experience, which is $190 for adults, $95 for children and includes:

  • 20-minute immersive sound and light show depicting a chapter of the Mala story 
  • unlimited Australian wine
  • Australian cheese and dessert hamper featuring three types of cheese, crackers, fresh grapes, chutney, dip, and a slice infused with native flavours
  • return transfers.

You can fly to Uluṟu from Sydney, Melbourne or Cairns. Or take that long-awaited road trip through the Red Centre and drop into Kati Thanda – Lake Eyre on the way.

Stay at Ayers Rock Resort for as little as $43 per night in a campground site, or at Sails in the Desert for around $475 a night. You’ll also find serviced apartments at Emu Walk or hotel-style stays at The Outback Hotel, Desert Gardens and The Lost Camel. These accommodation options are all situated within the resort.

To book your visit to Wintjiri Wiṟu, head to

Anangu share the Mala story, from Kaltukatjara to Uluru, through a drone, sound and light show designed and produced by RAMUS.

Have you been to Uluṟu? Would you like to see Wintjiri Wiṟu? Why not share your Red Centre experiences with our members?

Podcast: Wintjiri Wiṟu is yet another reason to visit Uluṟu

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