Uluru just before sunrise as tour buses and camper vans drive past to reach their sunrise lookout spot.
Except for the two thousand flies that showed up for breakfast, our car park was empty.
As we progress throughout the morning, the sun skims across the grassy desert. This isn't a usual year for rain, so everything in was very green this year.
The original owners of this land are the Anangu people. The Aboriginal people in this area have been around for about 20-30 thousand years. That is how long they have had to learn every facet of life in this unforgiving desert. The elders have retained the stories of their ancestors by telling them to the next generation. Each feature on Uluru itself has its own story and its own meaning.
This is just one of the 170 different species of birds found around Uluru. In the area you can also find 73 different reptiles, 21 mammals, and 4 kinds of frogs. Pretty vibrant for a desert.
Cave paintings are still visible. While we don't really know what they meant when they were originally drawn, we can make a few guesses. We di learn a few interesting points about aboriginal paintings. They didn't make a lot of them, for one. Why is this? Probably because they were too busy trying to survive in a desert. When they did draw a story about an animal, they wouldn't draw the animal itself, rather they would draw the animals footprints. This is because when you see the animals foot prints, it means the animal is nearby, thus foot prints represent the animal.
As the owners of the land, the Anangu can close sections of Uluru anytime they like, and often close the climb due to high winds or dangerous conditions. Other reasons they might close section of Uluru are for traditional ceremonies, which they still hold at various locations around this spiritual site. Purchase Uluru panorama
Several areas around the Uluru base walk are off limits for photography and exploration past the guide trail. These areas are special importance to the Anangu people. They are locations of gender related rituals. Places where men take care of mens business and women take care of womens business. Neither one knows about the others business, and they don't share it. They also can't speak about these rituals to people who have not earned the right to know them.
On the upper right side of Uluru, you can almost see the chain handrail used by those who climb. The handrail was built in the 1950's when climbing The Rock was very popular. Today, the native owners of Uluru request that people don't climb it, as Uluru is a sacred place. In the visitor guide it actually says, "Please don't climb Uluru". One would think that is enough to keep people from climbing, but no, it is not.
Besides the spiritual significance, there are more important reasons you shouldn't climb Uluru. Namely that there are no toilet facilities on top of the Rock. Thus, when people climb up they have to go number one or number two and where else is there to go, but on the Rock itself. As if that wasn't bad enough, the waste then gets washed down the sides and into water holes, thus polluting the land around Uluru. Studies have shown increased levels of bacteria in nearby water holes.
If you are considering climbing Uluru, just don't. They ask you not to, so don't do it. Done and dusted. Let's move on.
Don't miss what could be the most interesting part of the Cultural Center, The Sorry Rocks. These are the Rocks that were taken from Uluru by tourists who, after taking them, fell upon a peculiar string of bad luck which has been attributed to the stolen rock. These are always returned via mail to the tourist office with an apology letter.
The letters, which you can read in the center, all tell a series of unfortunate events such as divorce, death, broken bones and other bad events. You've been warned.
Uluru, while it is a touristy destination, is an impressive natural phenomenon. Expensive to get out there, but worth it if you spend enough time making the walks around the base or going on a tour with an Anangu Guide.
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