Shedding more light on the Red Centre

The Northern Territory has worked hard behind the scenes over the past couple of years to shed plenty of light on its vast tourism appeal.
Content produced in collaboration with Tourism NT.

THE Northern Territory has worked hard behind the scenes over the past couple of years to shed plenty of light on its vast tourism appeal. The Red Centre is now one of the most immersive multi-sensory travel destinations in the world – offering travellers an expansive range of illuminating experiences that showcase the region’s ancient cultures, deep spirituality, dreamtime storytelling and natural wonders in a filter of spectacular colour and light. From sunrise, through to sunset and after dark, Aussies enjoy a five-star feast for the senses, including striking desert landscapes, awe-inspiring landmarks, immersive Aboriginal cultures, impressive skyscapes, as well as captivating outdoor light and sound experiences.

Complimenting this amazing list of attractions is the fact that travellers can now experience the best of the Red Centre’s vibrant sights and sounds along the Red Centre Light Trail, featuring the new cutting-edge sound and light show, Wintjiri Wiru, in Australia’s Spiritual Heart Uluru, and the new Light Towers light and sound installation in Kings Canyon, created by the acclaimed maestro of light, Bruce Munro.

Light Towers by Bruce Munro ©Serena Munro

A six-day road trip is enough time to take in all of these amazing new light attractions, which also includes the Field of Light in Uluru, consisting of breathtaking sunrises, sunsets and stargazing experiences in Alice Springs, Kings Canyon, West MacDonnell Ranges and surrounds, in addition to Alice Springs’ Parrtjima Festival in April – billed as the only authentic Aboriginal light festival of its kind in the world. Excitingly, Wintjiru Wiru will take off next month, presenting a fully-immersive light and sound show combining ancient Anangu storytelling with state-of- the-art, drone and laser light technology. Its name translates as ‘beautiful view out to the horizon’ in local Anangu language, and will mark the first time a light, laser, projection and drone experience of this magnitude has been performed on a regular basis anywhere in the world. The show will see more than 1,000 luminous drones take flight each night to, quite literally, lift ancient stories and images into the sky. The show fuses the modern with the ancient, with Wintjiri Wiru convey a chapter from the ancient Mala story to inspired visitors that recounts an ancient feud between the Mala people and the mulga-seed men. As custodians of the land, Anangu hold the Mala story from Kaltukatjara to Uluru, and importantly, Wintjiri Wiru was created in close collaboration with the Anangu community, who consulted on the project, provided the story narration and provided important input on the types of visuals needed to bring the story to life.

Parrtjima – The annual festival takes over Alice Springs with ten nights of light installations from a number Aboriginal artists set against the majestic MacDonnell Ranges. ©Tourism NT/Daniel Tran

Meanwhile this month also saw the highly-anticipated Light Towers installation launch at the Discovery Kings Canyon Resort, consisting of 69 two-metre towers that change colour in response to music emanating from within them, taking travellers on a captivating and immersive aural and visual journey against the awe-inspiring backdrop of Kings Canyon. Light Towers is the latest installation from artist Bruce Munro – the same man behind Uluru’s famous Field of Light – lighting up the scenery 30 years on from Munro’s first visit to the Red Centre. Both Wintjiri Wiru and Light Towers are only a few hours’ drive from each other and are the perfect way to experience the iconic Red Centre in a new and reimagined way. Whether you’re a first-time or seasoned traveller to the Red Centre, the outback region’s Red Centre Light Trail is an absolute must-see for anyone seeking a holiday with a difference in 2023.

The Birds of Prey Show offers visitors the chance to get up close to some of the amazing birds of the desert. ©Tourism NT/Jess Caldwell/Luke Riddle

While the unmatched light shows are considered the jewel in the crown for the Red Centre, travellers should also be aware of other key attractions wowing people in places like Alice Springs, such as the popular Alice Springs Desert Park, with visitors always walking away raving about the Birds of Prey show. While in town, also make sure to see book a tour to see the magnificence of the surrounding areas, which boasts the unique West MacDonnell Ranges and waterholes such as Simpsons Gap, Standley Chasm and Ellery Creek. If going for a swim in some of the most awe-inspiring pools in the world is not quite enough, why not see it from the air by jumping aboard an outback balloon ride.

Exploring Simpsons Gap ©Tourism NT

But we couldn’t talk about the heavenly virtues of the outback without mentioning the one-and-only Uluru, with so much on offer for travellers to view this amazing monolith. Visitors can take an Uluru camel tour, view the surrounding areas by segway, see it from the air by PHS helicopter, or for an even slower pace, enjoy a gourmet dinner under the stars to enjoy the spectacular Field of Light show and soak in all of the rock’s spiritual beauty – in the Red Centre, the choices are all yours.

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