Parrtjima is a festival in light showcasing the beauty of the desert country.

Parrtjima is the only authentic Aboriginal festival of it’s kind, showcasing some of the oldest cultures on earth through new technology.

Parrtjima’s festival in light, brings the town of Alice Springs to life.

Steeped in Aboriginal Culture, this festival gives you ten glorious nights of light, art, events and music by local and national musicians. 

Parrtjima 2018
is the third annual Light Festival  held in the Red Centre.
It’s held f
rom Friday September 28 to Sunday October 7, 2018.

Parrtjima is a FREE 10 night festival.

This rich cultural experience will give you some of the most incredible sightseeing and memorable experiences during your time in this beautiful land.

Experience interactive workshops, talks, film, music and dance across two event precincts – Alice Springs Desert Park and the Todd Mall.   Hear stories, sounds and rhythms of Central Australia as you walk through the installations.  In addition to the traditional Arrernte art, the festival features artwork from across the Central Desert region and associated other parts of the Northern Territory.

Evolving over the past three years Parrtjima has become a spectacular gallery imprinted on ancient canvas shared by more than one people group, and is more that just dots.

Experience the festival fun and interact with artists and local custodians.

The Parrtjima festival is curated by the world-renowned Rhoda Roberts AO.

The meaning of ‘Parrtjima’ – pronounced ‘Par-chee-ma’

The name comes from the Arrernte group of languages.  ‘Parrtjima’ was chosen to suggest the shedding of both light and understanding.

Parrtjima is held on Mparntwe (also known as Alice Springs), which always was and always will be part of the Arrernte people.  They want you to feel welcome as they host this unique event.

For the first time in 2018 Parrtjima features two different precincts. Alice Springs Desert Park has been home to the festival since 2016, but for the first time in 2018 the Todd Mall in Alice Springs CBD also features artworks and illumination.

Parrtjima is a festival in light showcasing the beauty of the desert country. Visit Alice Springs now! Click To Tweet

Alice Springs Desert Park – Festival Hub

Amid the spectacular West MacDonnell Ranges, the Desert Park is a tourism and conservation park and nature reserve closely connected with the Arrernte people.

During the festival, the Desert Park will be home to the spectacular lighting of the MacDonnell Ranges, the Spaces On Country light installations and the Festival Hub.

Food and drinks are available, so come sit together and enjoy the music.

Parrtjima - the Festival Hub

Spaces on Country

The Gateway Nature Space


A stunning tunnel of glowing art reflecting the sense of movement and freedom in the bush and how alive the desert is.  The tunnel features a series of abstract bird shapes, inspired by Warnayaka Art’s Myra Patrick Herbert’s work Budgerigar Dreaming.

These birds are hand-painted by local community groups and schools.

Grounded Space

ParrtjimaGrounded is an installation which projects lights from above onto the desert sands of the outback.  The sequence of works creates a giant seamless canvas on country, accompanied by an atmospheric soundscape.

Gathering Space

ParrtjimaThe Gathering Space installation tells the stories of Central Australian artists through light, multimedia and re-purposed materials.  The collaboration of several contemporary artists depict freedom of place, landscape and flora and fauna.

Step inside the circle to a gathering space activated by old television monitors, showcasing stories from the artists.

Lighting the MacDonnell Ranges

ParrtjimaThe 2018 Parrtjima theme is ‘from sunset to sunrise’.  This year, the ranges will be framed in a new dimension as the backdrop to an immersive light show, creating a sense of magic with a colour and art on a spectacular gallery.

This ancient Alice Springs landscape shines in a spectacular way stretching two kilometres over the ranges.

The Forest Space


This space connects us to sky, land and water stories.  Forest Space represents the cluster of trees that grow across the desert.  The trees provide much needed shelter for local people as well as coolamons and water collectors, diffing sticks, spears and boomerangs.

Wander through fifteen tall sculptures, honouring the ancient wisdom of survival in this ancient land.

This installation was created by artists studying at the Batchelor Institute of Tertiary Education and others.

Colour Space

Parrtjima - Colour

Between lighting show sequences, step into this world-first interactive system.  Over 500 powerful, individually controlled LED lights respond instantly to every move you make.  Illuminate the landscape.  Celebrate the colours of this loved and ancient desert.

Childrens’ Space

The Children’s Space is an interactive playground space for the young (and young at heart) using the vibrant artwork of Kerinke Arts.

Children are encouraged to climb on the installation and explore the deeper knowledge of our nation through music and voice recordings.  This space is designed for free expression – and fun!

The Todd Mall Precinct

Todd Mall has been transformed by a symbolic ‘river of light’ flowing along the ground where, each night, the river will reveal symbols of gathering, campsites, waterholes and rivers.  These are important symbols of the local Arrernte people.

The central John Flynn Church lawns will also be home to nightly talks, creative workshops, film and musical performances as part of the Parrtjima Knowledge Program.

An array of beautiful textures, and patterns and colours will throw light across the street and surrounding trees using a number of state of the art LED projectors.

The Dreamtime Caterpillars

In the Arrernte people’s Dreamtime story, this region was created by giant caterpillars which became the stunning ridges of the East and West MacDonnell Ranges.

The Caterpillars are an important new installation to show respect showing one of the main ways Arrernte people connect to country.  Bringing together the stories, sounds and rhythms of Central Australia – home of the Arrernte of Mparntwe, the Parrtjma Knowledge Program features music, dance, film, and talks across both event precincts.

Festival visitors will be able to experience the stories behind the art and performances, and witness an extraordinary line up of films, including work by local Alice Springs film makers, to celebrate the diverse creativity across platforms within the region.

Headlining this year’s festival is internationally acclaimed music duo Electric Fields, who will bring their hauntingly beautiful sounds into the Red Centre.

Australia’s Red Centre

Your Parrtjima experience of a lifetime takes place in the heart of Australia, often known as Australia’s Red Centre.  Alice Springs is known as Mparntwe to the traditional owners, the Arrertne people.

Explore historic sites, see the work of local artists in Aboriginal art galleries, join a cultural event or activity, or try one of the many iconic nature and adventure activities in the stunning desert landscape of Central Australia.

Read Next:  The Red Centre Way

Getting there 

Air:  QantasVirgin and Air North are the three major airlines that service Alice Springs regularly. Together they offer daily flight routes and connections to most capital cities.

Road:  Take a road trip from Adelaide to Darwin or vice versa to combine this experience into an iconic journey through the centre of Australia.

Rail:  Treat yourself to a luxurious rail journey through Central Australia on the Ghan.  Travelling from both Darwin and Adelaide this train is recognised as one of the world’s most famous railway routes.

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Reference: Parrtjima