There’s something magical about the Field of Light at Uluru – a shimmering carpet of 50,000 multi-coloured glass spheres, swaying gently on their stems, stretching as far as the eye can see, under the star-studded night sky of Central Australia.
The Field of Light was created by British artist Bruce Munro, so inspired by his first visit to Uluru in 1992 that he resolved to become a full-time artist working with light.
It took a decade to realise his dream, starting with a small Field of Light exhibition at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, but since then he has built an international reputation, with large scale light installations in the US, the UK, Denmark, South Korea and finally back to Uluru in 2016.
This is the biggest of all his exhibitions, covering an area of 49,000 square metres. It took 40 volunteers six weeks to plant the glass spheres on their delicate stems, connected by fibre-optic cables and powered by solar energy. Originally the display was planned to close in a year, but it has been so popular that its life has been extended to at least 2025.
The Field of Light was a highlight of our weekend trip to Uluru – but nothing could compete with the splendour of the ancient rock itself.
Our first glimpse of Uluru, glowing red in the morning light, was from above, as the pilot of our charter aircraft took us on a bonus tour flying low around the rock and the nearby Olgas (Kata Tjuka).
Later we had a close-up view of Uluru from all angles as our bus circled the rock on the way to the Mutitjuli waterhole.
The pool is near a wide cave where the wall is covered with intriguing Aboriginal rock carvings. The cave and the waterhole were used for centuries past by the local Anangu people.
Outside the cave it was surprisingly cool, with tall ghost gums and lots of greenery. And who would have thought we would find tadpoles in a pool at the base of Ayers Rock?
The third highlight of our three-day adventure was the Sounds of Silence dinner, out in the bush with wine and hors d’oeuvres, formal table settings and a moody didgeridoo. After dinner, all lights were turned off and we absorbed the peace of total silence, under a dark sky crowded with stars. To cap it all, we had an astronomer pointing out the Southern Cross, and telling tales of the night sky.
We were able to do plenty in one weekend as the tour companym NT Nowm had arranged a charter flight direct from Perth to Uluru. Normally it would take a day to get there from Perth, flying via Adelaide or Melbourne, but the charter flight took only two and a half hours. We left about 8am on Friday and arrived home about 5.30pm on Sunday.
NT Now ran its first Perth-Uluru charter in January but demand has been so strong that they quickly scheduled more. The next one leaves on Friday, June 4.
Details at ntnow.com.au
Story Photos: Margot and Karen Lang