Looking for travel information? Tourism site
DJI 0170 1

Light Up - Nature Into Art Project. LUNA


The Light-Up Nature into Art (LUNA) project provides an opportunity to develop a new and exciting night-time tourism experience within the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges (YV&DR) Tourism region. This new series of events will assist in the dispersal of daytrip visitors to off-peak and overnight visitation, generate additional length of stay and higher visitor expenditure, and upgrade and activate important community assets.

LUNA is designed to bridge the product and experiential space between tourism, nature, art, food, and wine. LUNA is different. It prioritises First Nations led curatorial principles, environmental and sustainable practices immersed in nature, and local creative engagement.

Yarra Ranges Tourism appointed Urban Enterprise in 2022 to develop a business case for the Light-Up Nature into Art project within the region. The Business Case is supported by the Victorian Government through the Enabling Tourism Fund (2021-22).

Completed in August 2023, the business case has examined the need for the LUNA project, assessed a range of sites and activation options, recommended a preferred concept and organisation to take the project forward, and estimated the operational and economic outcomes of the project.

A Key Summary of the LUNA Business Case can be downloaded from this page – below.

Artwork Coree Thorpe

Who was involved and consulted?

The project has been developed in collaboration with a Project Governance Group (PGG), whose members include representatives from Yarra Ranges Tourism, Parks Victoria, Melbourne Water, Yarra Ranges Council, Wurundjeri Woi-wurring Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation, Department of Jobs, Skills, Industry and Regions, Yarra Valley Small Wineries and representatives from the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges Tourism networks.

Community engagement included an online survey that attracted dover 1,000 responses, and community drop in sessions in Healesville and Ferny Creek.

Project Objectives

The key project objectives are:

  • Drive additional overnight visitation and bed-nights to the region and grow average visitor expenditure.
  • Focus on driving visitation to the region in off-peak periods, mid-week, and increase visitor dispersal across the region.
  • Create new night-time experiences that are economically sustainable, leverage existing assets and enhance the region's art and cultural offerings, including First Nation’s experiences.
  • Encourage repeat visitation, ensuring experiences are contemporary (up-to-date), immersive, sympathetic with their unique environments and engaging.

What is an immersive night-time light experience?

Immersive night-time light experiences typically involve artistic light installations, projections, and other sensory experiences. They may be standalone experiences, or a part of a broader event. These types of experiences have been growing in popularity in Australia and internationally. Some recent local examples include Lightscape at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Moama Lights and the Gertrude Street Projection Festival.

The experiences would incorporate local cultural, environmental and creative concepts, including First Nations narratives and creative interpretation developed within a curatorial framework in consultation with those communities.

What might LUNA look like?

In April 2023 Little Projector Company undertook site feasibility testing, with test projections utilising imagery by Wurundjeri artist Coree Thorpe, LPC and the Lanternist.

Watch the 90 sec concept video here.

What sites were investigated – which was recommended?

The LUNA project explored a range of publicly owned and managed sites for their potential to be utilised for immersive night-time light experiences, including Maroondah Reservoir Park, Sir Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens, Grants Picnic Ground, Burkes Lookout and the Olinda Park precinct.

An iterative site assessment process was undertaken which included site visits, consultation with stakeholders and community, technical site reports, assessment against criteria, activation and concept scoping and on-site testing of conceptual activations. See the Key Summary Report for details.

Maroondah Reservoir Park emerged as the preferred site for the LUNA project, acknowledging its magnificent features for experiential activations (41 metre high dam wall, waterfalls, heritage structures and gardens), its location and capacity, its support from project stakeholders to see it activated and revitalised, and its potential to offer a site response experience, leveraging its history, cultural landscape and unique environment.

What would happen next?

This is a Business Case and feasibility study only. Yarra Ranges Tourism will seek partnerships to bring the LUNA project to fruition over the next few years. This would entail more detailed concept and creative development along with putting in place an event management model. As the concept is refined, there would be further consultation with the region’s community to address any concerns arising at that time about project implementation. Our aim is to ensure this project is unique and sensitive to our region, working sustainability with our distinctive environment and culture.

What is needed to take the project forward?

To be made possible, the project will require:

  • Enabling investments in infrastructure, facilities and utilities at Maroondah Reservoir Park. A Masterplan for the site is required to guide its upgrade, led by Parks Victoria, Melbourne Water and Yarra Ranges Tourism.
  • Project advocacy across all key stakeholders including land managers and owners, all levels of government and the community.
  • Establishment of the not-for-profit LUNA organisation to oversee and deliver on the project’s strategic objectives.
  • Approvals and agreements with landowners (including through a Memorandum of Understanding with Melbourne Water and Parks Victoria).
  • Establishment of strategic partnership with local and state government, land managers, First Nations, commercial sponsors, donors, creative organisations (regional and national), and tourism organisations, and business.
  • Ongoing engagement with the community.
  • Funding for capital works, the LUNA organisation and planning and delivery of events.

Yarra Ranges Tourism in partnership with site managers will develop project advocacy across all sectors including community that looks to take LUNA toward the next steps in implementation.

Business Case Summary

LUNA – Light Up Nature into Art

Download the Key Summary findings of the full Business Case.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Light Up Yarra Ranges project is in its feasibility and concept stage. While the Business Case addresses many areas such as site, concept and management models, many details are still yet to be confirmed.

Should this happen, there will be more refinement of activation, creative, event-type and site options, along with management models.

We have compiled these Frequently Asked Question responses as far as is possible with the information at hand at this early stage.

These will be updated as the project is developed further.

Who is proposing and managing the LUNA project? Who else is involved?

  • The Department of Jobs, Skills, Industries and Regions (DJSIR) has provided funding to Yarra Ranges Tourism (YRT) through their Enabling Tourism Fund to develop a Business Case for the Light Up Nature into Art project.
  • The LUNA project is being managed by Yarra Ranges Tourism with a Project Governance Group whose members include representatives of key project stakeholders:
    • Parks Victoria, Melbourne Water, Yarra Ranges Council / RidgeWalk, Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation, DJSIR, Yarra Valley Small Wineries and representatives of the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges Tourism networks.
  • Yarra Ranges Tourism has appointed Urban Enterprise following a competitive tender process to deliver this business case. Their team includes the creatives at Little Projector Company and GML Heritage.

When is the Business Case due to be completed?


The Business Case has been completed and adopted by the Board of Yarra Ranges Tourism in August 2023. You can download a Key Summary on this page.

Why is Yarra Ranges Tourism looking to add night-time nature and light-based events to the region’s attractions?

  • Our region has close proximity to Melbourne, which is predicted to become Australia’s largest city over the next ten years, with a population of 6.6m. Currently day visitation to the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges is 4.5m per annum. With the expected population growth and linking factors, that day visitation alone is expected to more than double by 2033, to an estimated 9.1m*. *(This has been identified in the Yarra Ranges Tourism Destination Management Plan Key Findings Paper, which can be downloaded here.)
  • A ‘do no nothing’ approach will see this growing visitation continue to be concentrated on day-time weekend visits.
  • LUNA aims to disperse some of this growing visitation more broadly across the week, introducing and encouraging mid-week and evening visitation.
  • In doing so, it is looking to better activate two existing visitor destinations which are predominately day-time weekend destinations.
  • It aims to improve the ageing and sometimes run-down assets, access and visitor amenities at these locations in a way that is sympathetic to and works with the natural environment, focusing on what it is that people love about living in and visiting the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges.

What steps would be taken to reduce the environmental impact of visitors and event activities?


The project aims to work with, not against, the natural environment and ecology that is the very reason visitors and locals come to our region. We will achieve this aim through:

  • undertaking an Environmental Impact Assessment at the implementation development stage, - and address any issues arising. This would be undertaken to the satisfaction of the site owners/ managers: Parks Victoria and Melbourne Water.
  • The audio-visual concepts being explored are ‘Low-Light’ models utilising ‘plug and play’ infrastructure that is non-intrusive, and can be added to when activating an event or art installation/curation then removed.
  • Event capacity numbers planned for these sites are modest for these types of events. Initial scoping indicates up to approximately 750 people across the entire site at Maroondah Reservoir Park.
  • The visual technology specified is ‘redshift’ lighting, reducing potentially problematic white and blue light emission. (See FAQ below on Redshift lighting.)

What steps would be taken to reduce the environmental impact of night-time lighting on wildlife and on our dark-skies? What is ‘Redshift’ Lighting?

  • LUNA would implement the latest research and technology to reduce any such potential negative impacts from lighting, following the Australian Standards and the Australasian Dark Sky Alliance best practice lighting principles.
  • This includes ‘limiting impact on nearby wildlife by selecting colour temperatures and wavelengths suitable for both human and animal requirements (Redshift).’
  • The Little Projector Company are also working to ensure that lighting options are in line with the latest Department of Environment and Energy report on National Light Pollution Guidelines for Wildlife (Jan 2020).
  • Redshift and Blueshift describe the change in the frequency of a light wave depending on whether an object is moving towards or away from us. When an object is moving away from us, the light from the object is known as redshift, and when an object is moving towards us, the light from the object is known as blueshift.
  • The advent of LEDs means that lighting design can ‘design out’ the classic white and blue spectrum which is brighter and has a higher impact on the surrounding environment and night-time skies.
  • Good lighting design can utilise LED technology to select the warmer redshift light spectrums, thereby reducing possible contributions to ‘sky glow’ and possible disturbance of insects and nocturnal animals.

How will this ‘light-up’ project be different and unique to our region?

  • The experiences would incorporate local cultural, environmental and creative concepts, including First Nations narratives and creative interpretation developed within a curatorial framework in consultation with those communities.
  • First Nations Elders from our region have been consulted throughout the business-case development process regarding cultural heritage, site suitability and the curatorial framework. This would continue in any future implementation.
  • Our planned concept site-testing in April 2023 will utilise the works of First Nations artist Coree Thorpe (Yorta Yorta, Gunditjmara, Gunai, Wurundjeri).
  • Working with the unique creative communities of both the Dandenong Ranges and Yarra Valley regions is important to this project and its future success. Preliminary discussions have already taken place.
  • The project is working to ensure linkages with the creative and curatorial concepts already developed across the ngurrak barring (RidgeWalk) trail project in the Dandenong Ranges, which intersects with LUNA at the Alfred Nicholas Gardens site.
  • Creative Concepts include re-telling the stories of the important history of these sites and surrounding regions, both their pre-Colonial histories, and the narratives of their development over the past century.


For more information regarding the LUNA project, please contact Yarra Ranges Tourism

+613 8739 8000 | info@yarrarangestourism.com.au