Never been to Australia’s iconic Uluru? The stunning new drone light show is the latest new thing to do at Uluru and a top reason to go or return again. Uluru in Australia’s red centre is where the Northern Territory desert creates a landscape that astonishes from dawn to dusk. Go now and see the spectactular Wintijiri Wiru sound and light show.
10 new things to do at Uluru
Here are 10 new things to do at Uluru to add more thrill to your experience.
Be amazed by the Wintjiri Wiru drone, laser and light show
Combining ancient Anangu storytelling with state-of-the-art drone, laser and light projection technology, the magnitude of Wintjiri Wiru as a regular performance is a world first. Created with great care to tell the story in the right way, the show brings to life a chapter of the Mala ancestral story, which sits between Kaltukatjara (Docker River) and Uluru. Over several years, Voyages consulted and collaborated closely with ten senior Anangu to create Wintjiri Wiru.
More than 1,100 luminous drones take to the air to lift ancient images to the sky. They depict aspects of the Mala story accompanied by a story in Yankunytjatjara and Pitjantjatjara languages on a soundtrack with traditional inma recorded by the local Anangu community. Visitors can see the show from an environmentally sustainable, purpose-built platform that floats above the desert offering stunning views of Uluru and Kata Tjuta on the horizon.
Two performances of Wintjiri Wiru are held each night. The evening starts with a three-hour Sunset Dinner and a 1.5 hour After Dark show follows.
Wander through a Field of Light
Created by internationally renowned artist Bruce Munro, the popular Field of Light exhibition has been extended indefinitely. Covering more than seven football fields, Field of Light in local Pitjantjatjara is called Tili Wiru Tjuta Nyakutjaku or ‘looking at lots of beautiful lights’. With more than 50,000 light spindles, it is currently Munro’s largest work. The stems sway almost as if they were breathing, in a spectrum of colour that ranges from desert ochre to deep violet.
You can purchase a pass to the exhibition and take a self-guided walk after dark. You can only access this site on a booked tour via Ayers Rock Resort.
Walk with the wind
Climbing the rock is so last century and no longer allowed out of respect. Today it’s all about tapping into the Uluru’s spiritual energy and sharing some of the ancient legends and lore. Walk around the base of the rock, learn some of the legends, discover the secret silence. You don’t need to climb Uluru to be elevated here.
Try bush foods
Never eaten kangaroo, emu or crocodile? Take the plunge with a tasting platter at Arnguli Grill, Desert Gardens Hotel. The portions are small, but the flavours are excellent. Go the whole way with a flight of matched wines to accentuate the flavour nuances.
You can also join a free tour and receive an Introduction to Indigenous Food. The tour takes 45 minutes and commences daily at 1 pm.
Sunrise breakfast with damper
Chow down on some true Aussie tucker with a slab of freshly cooked damper liberally doused in Golden Syrup in front of a campfire, while the morning sun lights up Uluru. Works for me! Follow it with the best bacon and egg roll and a guided tour around Uluru with plenty of local insights. Don’t miss a trip to the ‘lav’ after breakfast to enjoy a drop toilet fit for a king. There’s even a painting on the wall. Desert Awakenings is the tour to take you there. It’s $193 per person for this Uluru tour.
Relax in the spa
It’s hot, cold, rainy, or you just feel like a treat? Head to the spa for a relaxing massage or facial. You’ll find yourself in capable hands and come out floating on air as I did. Talk to the folk at Red Ochre Spa, Sails in the Desert.
Ride a camel
They might be a feral pest, but behind a camel’s long, luscious lashes lie the smarts of an eight-year-old child. Hop on a camel for a comfy ride through the desert with a different perspective. Talk to Uluru Camel Tours. Costs from $80 per person.
Learn how to dot paint
Take home a piece of the Red Centre by creating your own art in a dot painting workshop at Ayers Rock Resort. A Maruku Arts Dot Painting Workshop will have you painting under the guidance of a local Indigenous artist to great a story of your experience at Uluru. The 1.5 hour workshops cost $72 per person.
Cycle around the rock
Do it a different way and cycle around Uluru. You’ll see all the same sites, just a little quicker. The bikes come with helmets and there are designated, lockable parking stations at the best stopping points. It’s $50 each for a three-hour hire and includes helmets and a lock. More information at Outback Cycling.
Dine at Sounds of Silence
The Sounds of Silence dinner will see you enjoying canapes under an open sky surrounded by the desert on a dune overlooking Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park with the sound of a didgeridoo echoing amongst the landscape. There’s a three-course dinner with bush tucker inspiration and a guided tour of the night sky. The dinner is a bookable experience and costs from $234 per adult.
Treat yourself with a Tali Wiri dinner
My favourite Uluru dining experience is Tali Wiri. It all happens on top of a dune with sunset views of both Uluru and the distant domes of Kata Tjuta. The four-course dinner is served with style and accompanied by stories, culture and fine wine. More about Tali Wiri here.
Unpolluted by light, the skies in the red centre are perfect for stargazing. Take a one-hour guided tour of the night sky and look through a telescope with an Astro Tour. You don’t need to know anything about star gazing, but you do need to want to learn more. Tours are bookable and cost from $55 per adult.
Learn about bush lore
If you want a guided bush walk or to listen to a bush yarn, check the daily free activities at Ayers Rock Resort.
Australia’s major airlines fly into Ayers Rock/Uluru airport which is the closest airport to Uluru. You can also fly into Alice Springs, but you’ll need to travel and drive 468km which takes around five hours to get there.
When to go
Go in Australia’s cooler months, June, July and August or adjust your plans for the shoulder seasons when it is warmer. Plan your trip carefully in the summer months of December, January and February, so activities centre around the beginning and end of the day. Some tours and dinners, such as Tali Wiri do not operate during the summer months so check the tours you have on your must do list before booking.
Visiting Uluru is a life-changing experience for many and deserves a place on the top three best places to see in the world in 2020.
Where to stay
There’s a range of accommodation available around Uluru. I have stayed at Sails in the Desert several times and can recommend the rooms here. If you can’t keep your eyes off Uluru, I recommend a stay in the Desert Gardens Hotel where you can see the rock from your room. To luxe it up, try glamping at Longitude 131. That’s on my wish list.
Get all the details here.
Disclaimer: Ed+bK travelled and stayed as a guest of Sails in the Desert.