Australia's sacred Aboriginal sites: To climb or not to climb?

Tourists face dilemma in Australia over some sites viewed as sacred by local Aborigines

Tourists climbing Uluru. Since 1992, a sign at the base of the sandstone rock has asked people not to climb out of respect for the traditional Aboriginal owners. Data commissioned by the parks authority found that 16 per cent of visitors now climb Ul
From October next year, climbing on Uluru will be banned. Experts said the ban suggests a growing sensitivity towards Aboriginal history and may lead to changes at other tourist sites. PHOTOS: REUTERS

Tourists visiting Australia's Uluru, or Ayers Rock, have long faced an ethical dilemma: to climb or not to climb?

But soon, this will no longer be a question for the 300,000 visitors who travel each year to the 348m high rock in the remote centre of the country. From October next year, climbing will be banned after the local administrative authority finally agreed late last year to the requests of local Aborigines, who regard it as a sacred site.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 18, 2018, with the headline 'To climb or not to climb?'. Subscribe