This New Drone Show Experience Is a Must-Do in Uluru

Wintjiri Wiru Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia

Since its launch, Fields of Lights, a light exhibit by British artist Bruce Munro, has become synonymous with Uluru. You couldn’t go to Central Australia without wandering through the permanent installation, which took 40 volunteers six weeks to put together.

Now, though, two new experiences have been added to the Uluru tour mix — another by Bruce Munro, consisting of beer bottles filled with light coils and stacked to form pillars in the desert, and a drone show called Wintiji Wiru, which debuted in May 2023.

The largest drone display in the world, with more than 1,100 drones per show, the show by Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia was three years in the making and cost more than $10 million to bring to life.

The three-hour Sunset Dinner experience ($385) — there’s also a $190 After Dark show — starts with a food and drink tasting at sunset, followed by a light and sound show that tells a chapter of the 60,000-year-old Mala story, with Uluru as its backdrop.

To support the drones, the show also uses six 30w lasers, seven 12kw projectors, and around 30 bright field lights, as well as surround-sound audio with tracks spatialised with the platform to contribute to the immersive feel.

Wintjiri Wiru drone show
Image: Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia

To bring the Mala story to life, Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia consulted in-depth with Anangu, who holds the story from Kaltukatjara to Uluru.

“People from every place have come to see Uluru,” says Renee Kultija, on behalf of the Anangu Consultation Committee. “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 we want to share this story with the world.”

Both experiences begin with a coach bus ride from Ayers Rock Resort with a recording of the Mala story playing. You’ll reach an Uluru viewing deck that appears to be floating in the desert, where you’ll be welcomed with drinks and individual canapé plates, made with produce from Indigenous and Australian-owned suppliers.

Indigenous chef Mark Olive worked closely with Ayers Rock Resort chefs and suppliers to craft a menu that showcases native Australian flavours. Guests can choose from a three-hour Sunset Dinner or a 1.5-hour After Dark show.

Wintjiri Wiru Indigenous Australia
Image: Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia

Those booked for the Sunset Dinner experience will be treated to either a Cucumber Cooler or Spiced Apple Tonic – both featuring Indigenous-owned Beachtree Koala Gin – on arrival. Canapés include a gin-infused cucumber with green ants and celery salt and a blackened mountain pepper beef fillet on a truffle slider brioche.

“There is a growing interest from both Australian and international travellers to try native bush foods, so I am truly excited by this opportunity to create a menu […] which heroes these amazing ingredients and will be enjoyed under the stars while watching Wintjiri Wiru,” says Olive.

Dishes will be paired with wines from Penfolds, as well as wines, beers, and spirits from suppliers that are Indigenous-owned or who have been Supply Nation Certified. These include gin producer Beachtree Distilling Company, Jarrah Boy and Sobah breweries, and Yaru Water.

“It was critical to us that we worked with a range of Indigenous suppliers who would not only provide high-quality culinary experiences to our guests but would also benefit from supporting this new storytelling initiative,” says Matthew Cameron Smith, CEO of Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia.

Once guests on the Sunset Dinner are seated in the open-air desert theatre, they’re served a dinner hamper of antipasti platters, including smoked emu with a saltbush chilli crust, as well as an Indigenous twist on a Waldorf salad with cooked prawns, celery, quandong, apple, walnuts, and wattleseeds. After Dark show guests are served wattleseed caramel popcorn and gelato made with native ingredients.

Well-fed, and with supplied red blankets keeping you warm from the desert chill, the show begins.

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