Aus Lights on the River | Free Family Friendly Events | 26 Jan 2024

Aus Lights on the River 2024 at Elder Park/Tarntanya Wama, Adelaide

The 2024 Australia Day Program in Adelaide will be guided by two overarching themes, Belonging to Country and Connecting to Nature.

Aus Lights on the River is a two-day program on Thursday 25 January and Friday 26 January showcasing Our SA Story through immersive visually engaging light, vision, and sound installations supported with complimentary children’s activations.  This is a FREE, family-friendly event.



  • 5pm–11pm | Aus Lights on the River, including food hub
  • 7.30pm | Twilight Reflections – First Nations Ceremony
  • 9.30pm | Cinematic Firework Display

Friday 26 January 2024

  • 7am-8am  | Mourning in the Morning Smoking Ceremony
  • 5pm–11pm | Aus Lights on the River, including food hub
  • 7pm-8pm | Respecting Country Parade (ROUTE MAP)
  • 8pm-9pm | Official Ceremony
  • 9.30pm | Cinematic Firework Display

Aus Lights for Kids – A Magical Affair for Ages 4 to 8

Friday 26 January 2024 from 4pm

Aus Lights for Kids guarantees an enchanting experience for your little ones, filled with laughter, entertainment, and the magic of discovery. Prepare to immerse your little ones in a world of joy and wonder at Aus Lights for Kids, an event specially crafted for children aged 4 to 8.

Mesmerising Performances

  • Watch your kids be enthralled by incredible performances featuring talents from renowned groups like Heap Good Performers and the ever-popular Peter Combe. Every performance is tailored to captivate and entertain, from music to interactive acts.

Australian Wildlife Encounters

  • Embark on a unique adventure as your children get up close and personal with Australian native animals. This hands-on animal handling experience, reminiscent of a petting zoo on a smaller scale, promises both education and excitement.



Rotunda Illumination – Luminous Currents

The Rotunda becomes a Seaquarium in the round. Follow large sea mammals, fish and invertebrates as they swim around our cyclical sea, celebrating the diversity of life in our waterways and oceans.

Blending found and salvaged media, dive photography and coastal footage. Dozens of coastal species interweave and illuminate the Rotunda, bringing us the view of underwater life through a thousand tides.

(Lantern Concept and Composition of Oceanic media by illuminart stories in light, and collaborators. Key Creatives: Luke Zero Shaw, Alice Peacock, Samantha Ray, Joshua Earl, Cindi Drennan)

Festival Centre Shells – Leaping Light

Every day, thousands of animals pass by, land on or sleep in the gum trees along the rivers of Australia, and the trees cast their shade over watery pools sustaining life. This moving image sequence captures some of the creatures who live along our country’s waterways.

(Creature Compositions by illuminart stories in light and collaborators)

Sparkles the Cuttlefish

Immerse yourself in an adventure with Sparkles the Giant Inflatable Cuttlefish and friends. Join an imaginative journey celebrating South Australia’s diverse aquatic environments. Choose your costume, explore your marine animal through movement and story, and be enchanted by underwater soundscapes.

Limited capacity – let the storytellers guide you. Children will especially enjoy an interactive experience to discover the Australian Giant Cuttlefish, found in unparalleled numbers near Whyalla, South Australia, during winter.

Sparkles is a special guest brought to you by the City of Whyalla and is a creative installation by Evelyn Roth and the Nylon Zoo team.

(Creative team: Soundscapes: illuminart stories in light;  Evelyn Roth – Nylon Zoo)

Marine Maze

Have you ever wanted to explore the underwater world like a fish or an octopus?  In this unique experience, you can enjoy the colours and textures of the underwater worlds.  Explore a reef in need of your nurturing to bring it to life and discover the secret stories of biodiversity in an innovative immersive space created through creative, playful activations.

Ocean Odyssey Dome

Dive into the Dome and experience full immersion with VR technology and thematic after dark projections. Join 360 videographer Carl Charter and EMS staff to embark on an undersea adventure with whale sharks, cuttlefish and other incredible oceanic creatures of all sizes that inhabit South Australia’s Great Southern Reef. This is a perfect activity for all ages with a safe and professionally supervised experience of our unique and beautiful marine life.

VR Experience 5.30pm to 9pm on both days. Dome projections after dark.

(Creative team: Carl Charter – Experiencing Marine Sanctuaries)

Dive into Creativity

A hands-on creative making experience for families and children.  Unleash your creativity, connect with nature, and co-create a stunning art installation. Immerse yourself in the enchanting realm of South Australia’s aquatic environments, where migratory birds soar, and sea life dances beneath the waves. Join in on a transformative journey as they celebrate the beauty of marine life through interactive exploration, where families and children become artists on nature’s canvas.

(Creative team: Monica Prichard and Michelle Jahn – exclusive illuminations)

Illuminated Country

Existing reflections form layers across landscapes.  Reflect on the meaning of Country and create new reflections on the river.

On the far bank, the light spills upwards from the trunks of the trees into the foliage, casting reflections into the river as water and light combine to share stories and contemplations through time.

The illumination that spills across the water spells out Country.  The illumination creates a space for us to reflect on our place, our Country.

Everything in nature is connected, the land, sea, and sky countries are all one. The river is a song of fresh water that provides a space to reflect on our place, our Country.

Cinematic Firework Display

The expansive landscape’s captivating colours, rhythms and seasons will be expressed through a piece of original synchronised music, moving images and fireworks composition created especially for Aus Lights on the River 2024. This ten minute long display expresses the diversity of nature, culture, and the impressive and inspirational visual themes of our country, places and people who call it home.

The display brings together the talents of Howard and Sons, illuminart stories in light, composer Pete Ardron and vocalist Samantha Ray, to build a piece that expresses and reflects our precious and unique corner of Australia.

(Creative team: Luke Zero Shaw, Cindi Drennan, Pete Ardron, Samantha Ray – illuminart stories in light. Howard and Sons)




The Aus Lights program enables us to reflect on this great land and its peoples, starting with the oldest living cultures, our First Nations, to our most recent arrivals, the refugees fleeing from Ukraine and Afghanistan who now call Australia home.

This Australia Day is an opportunity to reflect on how we can continue to deepen our connection to nature and belonging to Country. Our increasingly fragile world reminds us all of the extraordinary beauty, richness, and expansiveness of our great country and the incredible diversity of its peoples. We can look back at our history, acknowledge the times we are now living through, and manifest our future on the foundations of respect, inclusivity and shared values.


things to do in Adelaide for families

For more information and all enquiries please visit the Australia Day SA website.

What:   Aus Lights on the River

WhenThursday 25 & Friday 26 January 2024 | 5pm – 11pm

Where:  Elder Park/Tarntanya Wama | King William St, Adelaide

Who    Everyone

At Play & Go Adelaide we make every effort to provide accurate information to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. We recommend confirming times, dates and details directly before making any plans as details may be subject to change.

Image Source: supplied 


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