You have two years left if you want to scale the sacred site
Tourists have two years left if they want to climb one of Australia’s most famous landmarks. Climbers will be banned from scaling Uluru, a sacred site for Aboriginal Australians, from October 2019.
The board of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park have voted unanimously to put an end to such climbs because of indigenous sensitivities.
Signs at the foot of the outcrop already ask people to abstain from going up in respect to the traditional law of the Anangu Aboriginal people, who are the custodians of the land.
Locals have long asked visitors not to climb the hill, which was known for many years as Ayers Rock.
“It is an extremely important place, not a playground or theme park like Disneyland,” Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park board member Sammy Wilson tells the BBC.
“If I travel to another country and there is a sacred site, an area of restricted access, I don’t enter or climb it, I respect it.”
Sacred men’s area
The Anangu people have felt pressured over the years to keep the climb open because of its popularity as a tourist hotspot, he added. But they have consistently wanted to close the site, a sacred men’s area, because of its cultural significance. According to the national park board, just 16% of visitors make the climb per year on average.
“Closing the climb is not something to feel upset about but a cause for celebration. Let’s come together; let’s close it together,” he said.