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1,000-drone light show coming to Uluru to lure tourists

written by Jake Nelson | March 24, 2023

Wintjiri Wiru uses more than 1,000 drones in its nightly shows.

Uluru will play host to a massive nightly $16 million drone and laser light show as part of a new tourist experience.

Starting on 11 May, the Wintjiri Wiru experience – designed by media architecture studio RAMUS – will use more than 1,000 drones to form images in the night sky of the Mala ancestral story, which sits between Kaltukatjara (Docker River) and Uluru.

Wintjiri Wiru, which will run for two shows a night from March to December and one show a night in January and February, will be the world’s largest ongoing drone show and has been in development for three years. It is aiming for the US and European tourist dollars as Indigenous tourism seeks to rebuild after the pandemic.

An Anangu consultation group has been involved with the project from the beginning, including the name, visuals, music, and narration in English, Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara languages, said Matt Cameron-Smith, CEO of Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia, which owns the Ayers Rock Resort.

“We are honoured that 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,” he said.

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“As custodians of the land and this 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.”

Tickets to see the shows will start at $190 per person for the one-hour After Dark experience, upt o $385 per person for the signature three-hour Wintjiri Wiru Sunset Dinner show.

“We are delighted to be working with RAMUS through their light installations, projections, lasers and incredible drone technology, which coupled with the spine-tingling soundtrack of the Anangu inma, brings connection through a shared memorable experience,” said Cameron-Smith.

“We hope the Wintjiri Wiru show will nourish visitors’ thirst for a deeper spiritual connection with this very special part of Australia.”

Wintjiri Wiru dwarfs what was previously Australia’s biggest nightly drone show, ELEVATE Sydney, which launched for limited runs in 2022 and 2023 using up to 600 drones; Melbourne has also seen smaller rival 350-drone shows during January 2022.

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