Northern Territory Government Newsroom

Turbocharging Tourism - Parrtjima to return in April as record numbers experience the culture of Central Australia

Minister for Tourism and Culture, Lauren Moss confirmed today a 35% increase in attendance at this year’s Parrtjima festival – its highest visitation to date - and the return of the event in April 2019.

More than 20,000 people took in the sights and sounds of the Alice Springs Desert Park with thousands more also attending Todd Mall. Visitors to both precincts experienced and enjoyed the unique, visually stunning light installations and the accompanying cultural program created by AGB Events to deepen their understanding of the art and culture of Central Australia.  

The only Indigenous light festival of its kind, Parrtjima transformed Alice Springs Desert Park into an immersive outdoor gallery of light and sound. For the first time, it also expanded into Todd Mall, allowing additional art installations, workshops and collaborations with significant Arrernte people of Alice Springs.

Next year, the free family-friendly festival will take place six months early, moving from its previous September timing to 5-14 April 2019. Building on the strong growth this year, the event will stand separate from the increasingly crowded event calendar in Alice Springs through August and September and allow the event to grow national and international visitation in coming years.

Coinciding with the UN International Year of Indigenous Languages, the 2019 theme of Language Expressions will inform every light projection and art installation as well as the event’s continuously-evolving Knowledge Program. Rhoda Roberts AO, who returns to curate the festival for a fourth year, cites language as the most powerful instrument for storytelling, intellect and expression; a tool to empower women, men and society at large. 

Northern Territory Major Events Company and AGB Events will continue to collaborate with event partners, the Parrtjima Festival Reference Group and artists from all over Central Australia to continue to develop and grow Parrtjima in Australia’s most significant Aboriginal cultural festival and position Alice Springs and the Territory as Australia’s premiere destination for Aboriginal art and culture.     

Registration to attend Parrtjima 2019 is now open at

Quotes from Minister for Tourism and Culture, Lauren Moss

“The Territory Labor Government continues to invest in the arts and tourism industry of Central Australia because creating jobs for Territorians is our number one priority.

“Through our additional Turbocharging Tourism investment in Parrtjima, we have seen Parrtjima truly grow and evolve beyond its original position as a light show to Australia’s most significant Aboriginal cultural festival. 

“The activity and people at both Alice Springs Desert Park and Todd Mall is fantastic for our local tourism economy in Alice Springs. Over 100,000 people have engaged with Parrtjima across social media in the last few weeks and the eyes of Australia have been on Alice Springs as media coverage has led to unprecedented interest in the 2019 event.

“To see the interaction and sharing of culture and experience between tourists from all over Australia and the world with the families and locals in Alice Springs, artists from all over Central Australia and significant members of the Arrernte people was amazing.”

Quotes from Parrtjima Cultural Curator, Rhoda Roberts

“Parrtjima 2019 seeks to shine a light on the beauty and complexities of central Australia’s vast network of Indigenous languages.

“In line with the UN International Year of Indigenous Languages, there is no better time to reflect on, understand more about and truly celebrate the languages that make our country unique.”

Quotes from Alice Springs Town Council Mayor, Damien Ryan

“It has been fantastic to see Alice Springs light up with Parrtjima 2018. Watching local families and tourist’s enjoy this Festival of Light in iconic Alice Springs locations, such as the Todd Mall and the Desert Park, has been wonderful for Council to be a part of.”

Quotes from Owner Epilogue Lounge, Chris Wilkinson

“Parrtjima’s extension into Todd Mall has been so well received: the beautiful lights, artworks and interactive workshops have added to the vibrancy of the area. Like many of our neighbours, we’ve been blessed with stunning views, but also a significant increase in patronage, creating new friends and seeing more of our regulars. It’s a truly great outcome for the community.”

Media Contact: Trish Grimshaw 0401 119 242