“Uluru is a very important place, it’s not Disneyland.” Central Land Council Sammy Wilson once said. Today, October 26 is the day that the Uluru climb closed for good. What a timely moment to reflect on our long overdue visit to Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park last June. If you haven’t had time to make the journey, put it on your to-do list. It’s hard to not to moved by the landscape and this giant monolith.
Leaving the city and the coastline and flying inland for hours makes one realise what a vast country we live in… It’s easy to overlook this spectacular UNESCO World Heritage site that is in our back yard. I have to confess it was only after our road trip to Joshua Tree the year before that made me think about visiting the desert landscape here on our doorstep. I am so glad I did – I loved it.
The only negative was witnessing the constant stream of tourists walking past a large sign that asked them not to climb, and explained why. But now this climb is closed, after almost thirty-four years there is peace for the Anangu people, the traditional owners. I really couldn’t understand the need to climb Uluru – there is so much beauty that surrounds you….as one of the rangers said, ‘Come with an open mind and heart and immerse yourself in it.’
When flying into this environment, it looks like there is nothing out there…but once on the ground it was surprising just how much biodiversity exists in this desert landscape. I was mesmerized by the whispy white spinifex against the ochre colours of the earth. And I got my lovely mum up at 4.am so we could capture the sunrise ! She coped pretty well despite the temperature being a very low 8 degrees ! (Don’t forget to visit Kata Tjuta and if time put Kings Canyon on the list)
“Once the focus is away from the climb, there is going to be more focus on the culture and the environment and that is what this park is world-listed for.” Tijiangu Thomas
The closing of the climb is a timely and powerful message. It is not only sacred places that need to be protected from the many feet that now travel the world; living landscapes and cultural places across the world should be respected and protected for future generations…
I hope this inspires you to take a road trip and see Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park with your own eyes…
But make sure your shoes are made for walking… 🙂