IN line with the wishes of traditional owners, the climb to the top of Uluru will close on October 26.
The Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park’s board of management, made up of a majority of Aboriginal traditional owners, made the decision unanimously last year.
October 26 was chosen because it’s a date of great significance to Anangu. It was on this day in 1985 that Uluru and Kata Tjuta were handed back to the Anangu people.
Traditional owner Sammy Wilson said simply “it was time”.
“We’ve talked about it for so long and now we’re able to close the climb,” he said.
“This decision is (something) for both Anangu and non-Anangu together to feel proud about; to realise, of course, it’s the right thing to close it.
“The land has law and culture. We welcome tourists here. Closing the climb is not something to feel upset about but a cause for celebration.
“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.
“It is the same here for Anangu. We welcome tourists here. We are not stopping tourism, just this activity.”
The closure of the climb is expected to open up more opportunities for partnerships with traditional owners, based on true cultural experiences for visitors.
In another significant event, Australia’s first under-the-stars dining experience, the Sounds of Silence, at Ayers Rock Resort, is celebrating 25 years.
Guests from all over the world have embraced the concept of dining in the middle of the Australian desert in a restaurant without windows and doors and with magnificent views of Uluru and the night sky.
The experience has been so popular that it has remained largely unchanged all this time. Guests still arrive to the lyrical sound of the didgeridoo and enjoy sparkling wine and canapes while viewing sunset over Uluru and Kata Tjuta.
Then there is a star talk during dinner, which brings the night sky to life, and the opportunity to look through telescopes strategically placed in the sand.
Other attractions visitors to Uluru can look forward to this year include artist Bruce Munro’s immersive installation Field of Light, which has been extended to the end of 2020 due to popular demand.
The exhibition is Munro’s largest work to date, with more than 50,000 slender stems crowned with radiant frosted-glass spheres spread over an area the size of nine football fields.
The solar-powered spheres, connected via illuminated optical fibre, bloom as darkness falls.
Details - 1300-134-044, ayersrockresort.com.au