A Famous Australian Landmark Is Being Closed off to Tourists

Nov 1, 2017

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One of Australia’s most iconic landmarks will soon be inaccessible after a government body voted to close the natural wonder this week. Uluru, previously known as Ayer’s Rock, is a massive sandstone monolith located in Australia’s Northern Territory. The Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Board voted to close the site to climbers on November 1. Now, tourists will only be able to visit the area around the rock, but not scale the monolith itself.

Aerial view of Uluru (Ayer's Rock) Northern Territory, Australia PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday April 23, 2014. Photo credit should read: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire (Photo by Anthony Devlin/PA Images via Getty Images)
Aerial view of Uluru in Australia’s Northern Territory. (Photo by Anthony Devlin/PA Images via Getty Images)

The unanimous decision to close the rock was made by eight Anangu tribal members and three National Parks officials due to religious and safety concerns. The UNESCO World Heritage Site site has been subject to national debate and is considered sacred to the Anangu tribe.

The park won’t be closed to climbers until October 26, 2019. Although, tourists will still be discouraged from climbing the rock until then.

The Australian Government returned Uluru to the Anangu in 1985 and in 1992 signs were placed asking people to reconsider ascending the mountain.

“It’s always been the wishes of the traditional owners that visitors to the park don’t climb to the top of Uluru, and I think that’s something both domestic and international tourists will understand and respect,” John O’Sullivan, managing director of Tourism Australia, told CNN.

The decision to close off Uluru to climbers was accompanied by the criteria that new visitor experiences are created, so people will still be able to experience the beauty of the monolith without climbing it.

Featured image by Anthony Devlin/Getty. 

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