Before its taproots make the long descent to the basin of water that lies beneath Uluru, the kurkara (desert oak) looks small and unremarkable, a bit like a thin feather duster. But once the tree reaches that ancient source of nourishment, its branches open up, leaves outstretched, in a transformation so profound it could be mistaken for a different plant altogether.
These kurkara form part of the backdrop to Wintjiri Wiru – “beautiful view out to the horizon” in the local Pitjantjatjara language – a state-ofthe- art drone and light show that brings to life a chapter of the Mala ancestral story at Ayers Rock Resort.
The spectacular, which runs twice nightly as part of either the three-hour Sunset Dinner, Twilight Dinner or the 1.5-hour After Dark show, is the first of its magnitude anywhere in the world, comprising more than 1100 luminous drones that swirl and dip in formation to create a three-dimensional story told in light, 200 metres above the red earth. It also aims, in some small way, to share the traditional knowledge held for tens of thousands of years by the Anangu community of Uluru.
Words are woefully inadequate to describe the show’s impact and that’s kind of the point. “These are things you can’t put down on paper,” says Anangu artist Rene Kulitja, who was part of the Anangu Consultation Group that worked with media architecture studio RAMUS on the production and whose own Yananyi Dreaming design famously covered a Qantas Boeing 747. “They are things you have to hold and hear in your being. Our children will hold it. They will keep it.”
Make it a weekend
Overnight options at Uluru run from campground to high-end eco-luxury. Philip Cox-designed Sails in the Desert has 228 rooms and the languid feel of a watering-hole oasis. Even further upmarket is exclusive Longitude 131°, one of the country’s most premium eco-camps and worthy of the bucket-list status of Uluru, which is visible from every custom-made bed in the 16 tented pavilions.
When: From 11 May 2023
Where: Ayers Rock Resort, NT
What: A multi-sensory experience showcasing an Australian icon
Best for: Families
Book your tickets now
Image credit: As custodians of the land, Anangu hold the Mala story from Kaltukatjara to Uluru. To share their story from Kaltukatjara to Uluru, RAMUS designed and produced an artistic platform using drones, light and sound to create an immersive storytelling experience.