Uluru- Kata Tjuta National Park: Uluru, a place of sacred importance to the Anangu (the traditional land owners of this area).
Kata-Tjuta (translates to “many heads”), also known as the Olgas.
The beauty, awe, and spirituality of this place 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?”. Yes, if conditions are good (ie low temperatures, no wind, rain), the challenging climb up and over Uluru is open to the public. The 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. 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 will 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 place that gives life, not takes it.
Luckily, most everyone I talked to was very appreciative of this, and most were happy to walk around the base, join guided tours, and just appreciate the views. It is the hopes, from what I could gather, of the NPS that eventually, as more people come to appreciate this, the climb can be closed for good.
Next stop, a town called Alice. Time to return this dreadful gas-guzzling, heat-trapping campervan, and have a meal other than peanut butter or canned tuna fish. Sorry this blog wasn’t as offbeat or lighthearted as some of my others, but, after visiting this special place, it seems important to pass on the message to others as to why Uluru is best appreciated for what it is, and not for its climb.