World First Indigenous Tourism Experience Launches at Uluru
Spectacular light and sound show, Wintjiri Wiru, launches tonight in the spiritual heart of Australia
10 May 2023
Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia has launched Wintjiri Wiru, a breathtaking cultural storytelling experience at Uluru, developed in partnership with the Anangu community.
This gamechanger for the Australian tourism industry combines ancient Anangu storytelling with state-of-the-art drone, laser and light projection technology. It is the first time an experience of this magnitude has been performed on a regular basis anywhere in the world.
Wintjiri Wiru - which suggests a 'beautiful view out to the horizon' in the local Anangu language - brings to life a chapter of the ancestral Mala story which sits between Kaltukatjara (Docker River) and Uluru. Over the past few years, Voyages consulted and collaborated closely with a group of 10 senior Anangu from both communities, to bring Wintjiri Wiru to life taking great care to tell the story in the right way.
Rene Kulitja, on behalf of the Anangu Consultation Group said, "We are Anangu and we have one of the oldest continuing cultures on earth. This chapter of the Mala story has been passed to us from generation to generation. Our ancestors walked this Country, carried this story and shared this story through inma, our songs and our ceremonies.
"We are thinking about our future. We are looking forward and have created Wintjiri Wiru for the next generation, for our grandchildren.
"We have held hands with Voyages to create Wintjiri Wiru together. From the beginning Voyages has been working together with the Anangu Working Group - talking together, listening together and creating together.
"People from every place have come to see Uluru. Now we want people to come and experience our story in a new way. We want visitors to know this is our story, to look and listen and feel with us. Our stories have been here since the beginning, and want to share this story with the world."
Matthew Cameron Smith, CEO of Voyages, said, "We are honoured we can share the cultural importance of the Mala story with our guests, through such an illuminating and captivating experience in the spiritual heart of Australia. As custodians of the land and part of the Mala story, the Anangu consultation group has carefully guided us on the Wintjiri Wiru experience, from conception to launch, to generously share their story with the world."
Designed and produced by world-renowned architecture studio RAMUS, the Wintjiri Wiru experience illuminates the Central Desert with a spectacle of lights, projections and lasers shining on the spinifex and mulga, connecting the earth and sky to offer an expansive experience of light and sound in the presence of Uluru.
The depth of the story is revealed when more than 1,100 drones take flight each night to lift the ancient images to the sky. Through exquisite choreography and visual artistry, the drones depict aspects of the Mala story accompanied by a narration in Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara languages, and a soundtrack with traditional inma recorded with members of the local Anangu community.
Visitors can view the show on an environmentally sustainable, purpose-built platform "floating" above the desert with stunning panoramic views of both Uluru and Kata Tjuta nestled on the horizon. Artwork from local Anangu artist and community member, Christine Brumby, has been cut into the architectural steel separating the various seating levels of the platform and backlit for maximum impact.
About the show:
There are two nightly performances of Wintjiri Wiru - the three-hour Sunset Dinner and the 1.5 hour After Dark show.
Native Australian produce and Indigenous foods are the heroes of the culinary experience of Wintjiri Wiru. From lemon aspen and wattleseeds to quandong, warrigal greens and lemon myrtle - the menu for Wintjiri Wiru is an authentic celebration of native Australian ingredients combined with modern culinary techniques that match the exciting drama of the new experience.
Gourmet canapes and cocktails will be served at the three hour Sunset Dinner performance followed by a selection of hot and cold native inspired dishes paired with premium Australian wines. The Wintjiri Wiru Sunset Dinner experience includes return resort transfers and is priced at $385pp.
For the After Dark show, wattleseed caramel popcorn will be served alongside refreshing gelatos featuring native ingredients. After Dark costs $190pp.
A second show each evening called After Dark is a shorter, one-hour long experience including light refreshments followed by the show. After Dark costs $190pp.
Indigenous chef Mark Olive, known globally for his unique style and television shows The Outback Café, The Chefs' Line and On Country Kitchen, has been working closely with Ayers Rock Resort chefs and suppliers to craft menus that showcase native Australian flavours.
For more information go to: www.ayersrockresort.com.au or call 1300 134 044.
Voyages Indigenous Tourism acknowledges continuing Anangu connection to land, water, sky, culture and community and pays respect to Anangu communities and Elders and welcomes the opportunity to celebrate Anangu culture through the Wintjiri Wiru experience.
About the Mala Story:
The Mala story will be the first Indigenous story of its kind to be shared on this scale and frequency and is important Tjukurpa.
Tjukurpa has many complex meanings and is a philosophy that links Anangu to the environment and ancestors. Tjukurpa stories talk about the beginning of time when ancestral beings first created the world. These stories contain important lessons about the land and how to survive in the desert as well as rules for appropriate behaviour.
The story begins with the Mala (rufous hare-wallaby) People, living at Uluru, conducting their inma (their ceremony).
An invitation came from the west, to join another inma. This was not possible, as the ceremony had begun, and could not be stopped. So, a huge devil dog called Kurpany was created to destroy the Mala inma.
The evil spirit travelled towards the Mala people. Luunpa, the Kingfisher Woman, was the first to spot it. She warned them and they did not listen. The evil spirit shape-shifted into many forms. First, the trees, then rocks, then birds, and ultimately, Kurpany, the devil dog. Luunpa screamed out and told the Mala People that an evil spirit was coming, they finally saw it and became terrified.
The dog attacked and killed many of the Mala men, and in great fear and confusion, the remaining Mala fled South from Uluru. Kurpany did not attack the Mala women. They are still living here at Uluru today. The Kingfisher Woman still keeps watch, and the dog's footprints are embedded in Uluru.
About Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia:
Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation (ILSC) established to undertake tourism business on its behalf. Voyages offers unique experiences and cultural immersion in spectacular locations around Australia including Ayers Rock Resort in the Northern Territory and the Mossman Gorge Cultural Centre in Tropical North Queensland.
Voyages works closely with local communities, respecting and supporting Indigenous culture and offering employment, training and business development opportunities to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
RAMUS studio is led by Canadian-born light artist Bruce Ramus who has spent decades designing and producing light spectaculars around the world. Based in Melbourne, Australia Bruce has assembled a multi-disciplinary team to conceive and deliver permanent and temporary light artworks for commercial and government property developments, sports and entertainment, local council, retail and tourism.
For further information:
Images are available at: https://voyages.mediavalet.com/portals/wintjiri-wiru-media