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Australia’s Uluru – Closed to Climbers

The sacred site of Uluru, once known as Ayers Rock, has seen an influx of visitors today, desperate to make the climb ahead of the permanent ban that will be imposed tomorrow, 26 October 2019.

Since the climb opened in the 1950’s, dozens of tourists have died, the most recent in 2018 when a Japanese tourist died while attempting to climb one of the steepest parts of the trek. Hundreds of others suffer injury, heat exhaustion and dehydration each year, all of which are very upsetting for the Anangu community in particular, who feel a responsibility for the site.

Uluru is a holy place for the Anangu, the indigenous people who own the rocky monolith. The final decision was made by the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Management Board and the Anangu in November 2017 to permanently close the climb to visitors. The decision was made for safety reasons, as well as out of respect for the Anangu people’s wishes.

Although the climb is closed, the Anangu offer a warm welcome to visitors. According to the press release on the Australian Government website, the Anangu believe that closure of the climb will encourage tourists to learn more about the local culture. The Anangu offer walking tours, giving valuable first-hand information on the spiritual history of the site along with talks on the local fauna and flora.

Uluru is one of Australia’s most famous landmarks, standing at around 1,142 feet high, the formation is made of a sandstone composition. One of Uluru’s most defining features is that at appears to change colour depending on the time of year or even day, famously glowing red at sunrise and sunset. The whole area of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, and even without the climb to lure you, it’s a must-see destination.

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