Anglo Scottish Travel Brampton's Blog

If You Haven't Visited Uluru Yet...

This UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the most recognizable natural landmark symbol of Australia, has banned visitors from climbing.

Uluru/Ayers Rock rises nearly 350 meters (1142 feet) high above the hot, dry, desert in the center of Australia. This monolith is almost 10 km (6 miles) around.  And it isn't just a miracle of survival of the erosion of the rest of the landscape around it. At different times of the year and in the light of dawn and sunset, its sandstone also appears to magically glow red. (Top photo credit)

Cultural and Spiritual Significance

Photo Credit

No wonder it is a place of cultural and spiritual significance for the local AŠĻČangu people, the traditional local inhabitants. The area also has springs, waterholes, and rock caves with ancestral petroglyphs and paintings.  Members of the aboriginal community lead walking tours to introduce visitors to the local plants and wildlife unique to the area, aboriginal cultural traditions, and their Dreamtime spiritual stories.

But they don't lead treks up the steep slopes to the top.

10,000 Years of Human History

Archaeologists have determined humans inhabited the area more than 10,000 years ago. Europeans arrived in the late 19th century, and tourism to the site began in the first half of the 20th century.  Since the site was given UNESCO World Heritage designation, even more people  - half a million visitors a year - have made the journey to this spectacular site at the heart of Australia.

As interest and visits rose, the challenge to balance conservation, respect for Uluru's spiritual significance, and visitor experience grew.

To Climb or Not to Climb?

The local aboriginal people do not climb the sacred Uluru rock themselves to avoid violating sacred Dreamtime ground.  And they have long requested visitors follow their lead.

Photo Credit

Nonetheless, about a third of visitors to Uluru/ Ayers Rock make the hour-long, steep, 800 m (half-mile) climb to the sometimes dangerously windy summit.  In recent years, unfortunate videos have even popped up of truly disrespectful behavior by tourists at the top.

Those incidents have added to pressure to ban climbing Uluru.  First, Ayers Rock was re-named using its aboriginal designation.  Then, in 1985, ownership of Uluru was returned to the local aboriginal people, who now share decision-making on the management of the National Park where Uluru resides.

New Rules at Uluru

In November 2017, the park board voted unanimously to prohibit climbing Uluru. The new rules take effect in October 2019, coinciding with the 34th anniversary of the return of the site to its aboriginal owners.

If you visit Australia, there are still many ways to experience the awe-inspiring site of Uluru other than climbing.  Since 2009, there have been special viewing areas whose design and construction were supervised by the aboriginal community.  They provide visitors road access, walking trails and views from angles at both sunrise and sunset.

Start your Trip!

 

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10 cool facts about Ayers Rock When researching about this rock, I found out that Australia is one of the most special places on earth. It has all the aspects of the world within its borders. It has the amazing wildlife found in Africa, It has the good weather found in the Caribbean, it has the great views of the American Prairies, It has the whales of the Arctic Circle and of course, the snow of Europe. read more

The Fremantle Prison is Western Australia's first and only World Heritage listed building - one of the area's most fascinating and significant cultural attractions. Check out any one of four fun and educational tours through the prison.

The history of the museum dates back to the beginnings of Western Australia; its role in the development of the State is unparalleled, and the facility only stopped being a maximum security prison in 1991.

Today he prison is an art gallery, museum and conference center. It is the largest convict built structure in Western Australia and the most intact convict establishment in the nation.

Without doubt, the highlight of a visit to the Prison is the entertaining tours conducted by experienced tour guides who bring the rich folklore and stories of the Prison to life. Tour guides are friendly and upbeat - helpful for mitigating the otherwise heavy material. Don’t miss the intriguing murals created by prisoners in their cells. Choose between a choice of intriguing day tours, spine-chilling torchlight tours and ‘extreme heritage’ tunnels tour adventures.

Museum Website

Prison Day Tours: 

Doing Time Tour - Departs every 30 min between 10am and 5pm

Great Escapes Tour - Departs every hour between 11:45am and 4:45pm

Tunnels Tour (bookings required)

A rugged adventure into sections of the labyrinth of tunnels beneath the Prison. Take a tour both on foot, and in replica convict punts to explore the submerged passageways accessible only by boat.

Torchlight Tour (bookings required)

Wednesday and Friday evenings. An eerie night tour guided by torchlight and full of spooky stories, dark histories, and a number of surprises. Not recommended for children under the age of 10.

Admission:

Complete list of pricing for the tours

Entry to the Gatehouse is free of charge and includes: the Convict Café, Gift Shop, Prison Gallery and an interactive Visitor Centre.

Address: 1 The Terrace, Fremantle WA 6160, Australia

Telephone: +61 8 9336 9200