Ayers Rock in Australia

Friday, 4 June 2021 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, UNESCO World Heritage
Reading Time:  7 minutes

© flickr.com - rumpleteaser/cc-by-2.0

© flickr.com – rumpleteaser/cc-by-2.0

Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock and officially gazetted as Uluru /Ayers Rock, is a large sandstone rock formation in the southern part of the Northern Territory in Australia. It lies 335 km (208 mi) south west of the nearest large town, Alice Springs. Uluru is sacred to the Pitjantjatjara, the Aboriginal people of the area, known as the Aṉangu. The area around the formation is home to an abundance of springs, waterholes, rock caves and ancient paintings. Uluru is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Uluru and Kata Tjuta, also known as the Olgas, are the two major features of the Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park (Australian Aboriginal religion and mythology and The Dreaming). Uluru is one of Australia’s most recognisable natural landmarks and has been a popular destination for tourists since the late 1930s. It is also one of the most important indigenous sites in Australia.

The sandstone formation stands 348 m (1,142 ft) high, rising 863 m (2,831 ft) above sea level with most of its bulk lying underground, and has a total perimeter of 9.4 km (5.8 mi). Both Uluru and the nearby Kata Tjuta formation have great cultural significance for the local Aṉangu people, the traditional inhabitants of the area, who lead walking tours to inform visitors about the bush, food, local flora and fauna, and the Aboriginal dreamtime stories of the area. Uluru is also very notable for appearing to change colour at different times of the day and year, most notably, when it glows red at dawn and sunset. Kata Tjuta, also called Mount Olga or the Olgas, lies 25 km (16 mi) west of Uluru. Special viewing areas with road access and parking have been constructed to give tourists the best views of both sites at dawn and dusk.

Climbing of Uluru has been banned as of 26 October 2019 © Summerdrought/cc-by-sa-4.0 © flickr.com - rumpleteaser/cc-by-2.0 © flickr.com - Murray Foubister/cc-by-sa-2.0 © Huntster © Ikiwaner/cc-by-sa-3.0 Plaque on the summit © THA-Zp/cc-by-sa-3.0
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Climbing of Uluru has been banned as of 26 October 2019 © Summerdrought/cc-by-sa-4.0
The development of tourism infrastructure adjacent to the base of Uluru that began in the 1950s soon produced adverse environmental impacts. It was decided in the early 1970s to remove all accommodation-related tourist facilities and re-establish them outside the park. In 1975, a reservation of 104 square kilometres (40 sq mi) of land beyond the park’s northern boundary, 15 kilometres (9 mi) from Uluru, was approved for the development of a tourist facility and an associated airport, to be known as Yulara. The camp ground within the park was closed in 1983 and the motels closed in late 1984, coinciding with the opening of the Yulara resort. In 1992, the majority interest in the Yulara resort held by the Northern Territory Government was sold and the resort was renamed Ayers Rock Resort. Since the park was listed as a World Heritage Site, annual visitor numbers rose to over 400,000 visitors by the year 2000. Increased tourism provides regional and national economic benefits. It also presents an ongoing challenge to balance conservation of cultural values and visitor needs.

The local Aṉangu do not climb Uluru because of its great spiritual significance. They request that visitors do not climb the rock, partly due to the path crossing a sacred traditional Dreamtime track, and also due to a sense of responsibility for the safety of visitors. Until October 2019, the visitors guide said “the climb is not prohibited, but we prefer that, as a guest on Aṉangu land, you will choose to respect our law and culture by not climbing.” According to a 2010 publication, just over one-third of all visitors to the park climbed Uluru; a high percentage of these were children. A chain handhold added in 1964 and extended in 1976 made the hour-long climb easier, but it remained a steep, 800 m (0.5 mi) hike to the top, where it can be quite windy. It was recommended that individuals drink plenty of water while climbing, and that those who were unfit, or who suffered from vertigo or medical conditions restricting exercise, did not attempt it. Climbing Uluru was generally closed to the public when high winds were present at the top. There were at least 37 deaths relating to recreational climbing since such incidents began being recorded. About one-sixth of visitors made the climb between 2011 and 2015. The traditional owners of Uluṟu–Kata Tjuṯa National Park (Nguraritja) and the Federal Government’s Director of National Parks share decision-making on the management of Uluṟu–Kata Tjuṯa National Park. Under their joint Uluṟu–Kata Tjuṯa National Park Management Plan 2010–20, issued by the Director of National Parks under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, clause 6.3.3 provides that the Director and the Uluṟu–Kata Tjuṯa Board of Management should work towards closure of the climb and, additionally, that it was to be closed upon any of three conditions being met: there were “adequate new visitor experiences”, less than 20 per cent of visitors made the climb, or the “critical factors” in decisions to visit were “cultural and natural experiences”. Despite cogent evidence that the second condition was met by July 2013, the climb remained open. Several controversial incidents on top of Uluru in 2010, including a striptease, golfing, and nudity, led to renewed calls for banning the climb. On 1 November 2017, the Uluṟu–Kata Tjuṯa National Park board voted unanimously to prohibit climbing Uluru. As a result, there was a surge in climbers and visitors after the ban was announced. The ban took effect on the 26 October 2019, and the chain was then removed.

Read more on ParksAustralia.gov.au – Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, NorthernTerritory.com – Uluru & Surrounds, Ayers Rock Resort and Wikipedia Uluru/Ayers Rock (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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