Changing Colours of Uluru

As today is Australia Day I thought I would post a group of photographs from my time in the country. I wanted to find something that summarised Australia and would be reconginsed as Australian when people saw it and thought that Uluru was a great option.

One of the many things recommended to do while you visit Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is to watch Uluru change colour as the sunsets. Below is a series of similar photographs taken as the sun sets and cast its last remaining light over one of Australia’s biggest landmarks.

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See another of my transitions over a longer period of time in the post Changing of the Season

This post is in response to the theme Optimistic.

Uluru: To Climb or Not

It is an ethical question when considering to climb Uluru and is one of the most controversial activities that take place within the park. Of course once you have travelled so far you will feel the need to climb Uluru but the local Aboriginals would prefer you didn’t.

Others have referred to the climb as the ultimate test of faith and along with tour operators and guidebooks encouraging people to climb they always will. The Anangu (The Local Aboriginals) prefer that tourists would not climb Uluru. The route is considered as sacred and the Anangu feel responsible for the welfare of visitors. Since 1962 more than 30 deaths have been associated with the climb and each year another 30 or more people need to be rescued from the site.

The new message of the Anangu and park management is ‘we never climb’. This new message is one that is communicated with every visitor through a message on their entrance ticket. Some Tour operators have agreed to convey this message as well as Qantas who have prepared a in-flight program that presents the ‘don’t climb’ message.

It has become a  political subject in Australia and many high-profile people including the former Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party has apologised for climbing in the past. This may be influencing many visitors as statistics have shown in the last five years that the number of tourists who climb has dropped by a large amount. The climb still remains one of the  most common activities and is promoted in almost every tour package.

What do you think? Have you or would you climb Uluru if given the chance?

To Climb or Not

Uluru

Uluru is also known as Ayers Rock and even ‘The Rock’. Mass tourism to central Australia and Uluru dates back to the 1960s with the number of visitors continues to grow each year. Uluru is managed by the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park which also encompasses Kata Tjuta or the Olgas. This national park is the most visited place in Australia.

Since 1985 Uluru has been handed back to the Anangu (local Aboriginals) in a joint management project with Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. This has allowed the traditional Aboriginal owners to play a central role in the management decisions. This has resulted in some sacred sites that were once open to the public to be closed in respect to Aboriginal law.

Uluru, Australia

Uluru, Australia

Little has changed since Uluru-Kata Tjuta first attracting visitors despite the variety of products offered. Change will need to be accelerated in order to ensure the spiritual values are protected. New products will need to meet the diverse interests of visitors and over time a different group of tourists may be attracted to the area by a spiritual meaning and importance. Despite being on the World Heritage List it is difficult to change visitor’s perspectives and expectations.

Sacred places are not safe from tourists, the tourist track is everywhere. Those tourists that try to tread lightly may be doing harm in other areas such as culture, traditions and spirituality. Sacred sites need to be robust and need to cope with extra stresses, especially if the area attracts a large amount of visitors. It is easy to measure and in some cases prevent the impact that tourists have on an area but how can you do this when it concerns cultural or spiritual values.

For more about nature tourism and the protection of sacred places read another post I wrote on the subject HERE.