By now you’ve probably heard about the three men who climbed Uluru, went off course and got trapped in a crevice on top, leading to an eight hour rescue mission by the Northern Territory Police, Fire and Emergency Services.
While scaling Uluru is not prohibited, there are so many reasons to not climb it. For starters, it’s really hard and dangerous; a bunch of people have been seriously injured doing so. But most importantly, it’s a sacred site for the Anangu – the traditional owners of the land – who ask via a huge sign at the bottom of the world-famous monolith that visitors respect the site for what it is and refrain from walking on it.
As the sign at the base reads: “We, the Anangu traditional owners have this to say: Uluru is sacred in our culture. It is a place of great knowledge. Under our traditional law, climbing is not permitted. This is our home.”
A huge part of responsible travel is respecting the customs and culture of the place you’re going to. Remember, at the end of the day, you are a visitor – a guest – and you should act accordingly. Just like taking off your shoes in Tokyo homes and dressing modestly to visit Istanbul’s Blue Mosque, observing the cultural norms of a place is a really important and respectful thing to do if you want to be a good traveller.
On that note, here are five other really awesome things you can do around Uluru instead of climbing it.
#1 Visit the Field Of Light installation
Bruce Munro’s large scale ‘Field of Light’ artwork is currently illuminating a span of the vast Outback right beside Uluru until March 31, 2017. The field is lit up each night by 50,000 slender lights which look like a sweeping expanse of glowing flowers. Neat as.[related_articles]14552[/related_articles]
#2 Watch the sunrise over the rock
Heading to the special Sunrise Viewing Area in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta
#3 Head over to Kata Tjuta
Take the 45 minute drive east to take a squiz at the 36 large, domed rock formations known at Kata Tjuta. They’re just as impressive as Uluru, and there are heaps of great hikes you can do over there.
#4 Book an Indigenous tour
This is Anangu land, so let them show you the ropes. Learn about local culture and history from the region’s traditional owners, see some ancient art and find out more about the sacred sites around Uluru. Uluru Aboriginal Tours is an Anangu owned and operated guide company.
#5 Hike around the base of Uluru
If it’s a hike you’re after, go around instead of up. The Uluru base hike is a 10.6 kilometre loop offering unparalleled views of the monolith. Each twist and turn offers a new perspective. It’s amazing.[qantas_widget code=AYQ]Check out Qantas flights to Uluru.[/qantas_widget]