Building Bridges: Responsible Tourism in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

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Advisor - Jeremy Barber
Curated By

Jeremy Barber

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Display of lights on ground at night time.
Curator’s statement

Visiting the Red Centre in Australia's breathtaking Outback is an experience like no other and immersing yourself in the cultural activities offered here is an absolute must — it’s exceptional responsible tourism. Two notable events that highlight First Nation heritage while providing a super uplifting and other-worldly experience are the Field of Light and the Wintjiri Wiru productions. These activities not only offer a unique perspective on the natural and cultural appeal of the region, but they also contribute significantly to the benefit of the local Aboriginal communities.

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Things to do in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

Star Lights over a brown dome mountain.

The Field of Light exhibit at Uluru is an awe-inspiring display that transforms the landscape into a mesmerizing symphony of light and color. Created by acclaimed artist Bruce Munro, the exhibit features thousands of illuminated spheres that blanket the desert floor, resembling a field of twinkling stars. As the sun sets over Uluru, the lights gradually come to life, illuminating the darkness and creating the most magical ambiance. Walking among these luminous orbs is a truly surreal experience, as if you're stepping into another world altogether. You can also opt in for an epic outdoor dining experience with traditional and native ingredients against a universe of lights sprawling across the horizon. It was for me some of the most uniquely delicious food I’ve ever eaten!

What makes the Field of Light exhibit even more remarkable are the positive impacts it has on the Anangu communities in the region. Munro's collaboration with the local Anangu people has fostered a strong connection between art, culture, education, jobs, sustainable development and poverty alleviation. The project has created employment opportunities for the community members, who actively participate in the setup and maintenance of the exhibit. This collaboration not only provides economic benefits but also preserves and shares the unique stories and traditions of the Anangu people with visitors from around the world. With what was to originally be a temporary installation, Field of Light still endures in place past any expiration date that was planned.

The mesmerizing Wintjiri Wiru event is another incredible Anangu cultural experience in the Red Centre. This captivating production combines technology with ancient storytelling techniques to bring dreamtime stories to life. The drone show utilizes choreographed drones and lasers that create intricate patterns and dramatic formations in the night sky and the ground, accompanied by narration and haunting traditional music by some of the most celebrated Anangu elders. It is a spellbinding performance that celebrates the richness of Aboriginal culture in a modern and innovative way.

Just like the Field of Light exhibit, Wintjiri Wiru has been developed in close collaboration with local Aboriginal communities. By displaying their traditional stories and art forms, the show not only preserves cultural heritage but also generates revenue for the communities involved. Your direct involvement in these cultural activities allows the Aboriginal people to maintain a sense of ownership and agency over their cultural expressions that are just now being appreciated, rather than persecuted. It also improves the standard of living for their community, ensuring that their traditions are respected and celebrated.

Both Field of Light and Wintjiri Wiru offer visitors a profound and immersive cultural experience while visiting the Red Centre in luxury, thanks to the local First Nation community who contrastingly lead impoverished lives. The splendor of these events is heightened by their positive impact on the Aboriginal communities in the region. By actively involving the local communities, these activities contribute to the preservation and promotion of Aboriginal culture, provide employment opportunities and create sustainable economic development. Engaging in these cultural activities not only enriches one's journey but also supports and uplifts the traditional custodians of the land who need it, making it a truly fulfilling and meaningful experience.

Need to Know

Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my guide, Beyond Words in the Red Centre: Australia's Ancestral Heart.

Advisor - Jeremy Barber

Travel Advisor

Jeremy Barber

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on Nature Escapes.