The beauty, awe, and spirituality of Uluru can be done no justice with words or images, at least not by me, so I’ll keep this one short. The only way to understand the importance of this place is to learn what it means to the Anangu, who are the land’s traditional owners, and have been for thousands and thousands of years. Too many people fly in to Ayers Rock Airport, spend a day, snap some photos, then check it off their bucket list of epic places to see. I am not pretending to be an expert on this land, but after several days there I felt as if I was only beginning to scratch the surface of this mystical place.
The question always asked by travelers, in relation to Uluru, is “to climb or not to climb?”. National Park Service and the Anangu would prefer you not to climb, and suggest that you not. Besides the physical danger (and several have died over the years attempting to do so), Uluru is a place of utmost importance to its traditional landowners, who lived, and still do, in a desert environment. However, this question has now been put to rest, as climbing Uluru was closed to the public in late 2019.
The waters which collected around the base of the monolith literally were life-giving to them, and only men of a certain status in their community would climb Uluru, in specific rituals. The NPS is worried that, should the climb close, tourists will stop visiting Uluru, which I find hard to believe. You would upset and worry the Anangu by climbing- as it is their land they feel personally responsible should you become injured. If you die, the land becomes a place of sadness for your family and for many people, and they prefer Uluru to be seen as a place that gives life, not takes it.
Although I am not of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage, even as a visitor from the outside, one can easily see what makes this area so unique, special, and sacred. A visit to Uluru is unlike anywhere else- but by taking the time to understand why it is such a sacred place, by talking to and learning from the land’s traditional owners, you can gain a much deeper understanding and sense of place.
- Katie Dundas
- : Katie Dundas is a freelance writer, blogger, and American expat based in Sydney.
- : https://www.theaccidentalaustralian.com/
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- : It's all about adventure travel and expat life in Australia and Asia.
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- : This is the first time this story has been published.