When at Kata Tjuta..make sure that you stay to marked tracks when walking..This area is a sacred sight to local Anangu mens law..many areas are restricted..please respect marked areas..also they request that you use toilets located in the parking area before and after walks..
Sarah and I enjoyed the cultural walk around the base of Uluru, and one of the most interesting views was in the cave structures where there were paintings that could be as old as 20,000 years (this is based on the fact that some of the drawings have been tested to have no carbon life of their own as it had been absorbed by the rock itself).
One of the sad things however is that some of the early tour guides used to carry buckets of water to "remove the dust" from the paintings, which of course did nothing but remove some of the art with each bucket sprayed.
The paintings shown here are part of the Mutitjulu walk, very close to the watering hole.
One of the local customs in Uluru is obviously to live off the land. Although European settlers have moved right in, there is still an Aboriginal community here, and their customs are being passed on to the tourists of the area here, mostly by the tour guides like ours from AAT Kings, Luke. Luke was nice enough to share with me the original lolly store, which comes right off the vine.
It was a small berry that looked very similar to a blueberry, but was nice enough to taste like bark. I still bit right into to it to enjoy the flavor of the outback.... but let me be your guinea pig... unless you are starving, pass on this one!
There are many Aboriginal sacred sites in and around Uluru. The authorities have placed signs all around these sites, advising tourists and hikers to respect Aboriginal culture and sensitivities by not taking photos at these locations. Please do your part as a responsible traveler - respect the wishes of the local people.
Uluru is very sacred to the Anangu people. Although it is open for everyone to climb, they ask that out of understanding and education you do not climb the rock and respect their culture and religion.
The Aboriginal people themselves do not climb the rock, and feel terrible when people get injured as visitors to their land.
This time the "no picture available" on the left side is right.
The Aboriginal people do not want to be photographed.
No, that is actually not quite right.
In the visitor Centre you can find a lot of pictures showing Aboriginal people. But on some of them have been stuck papers.
The explanation for this you can also find there. On the paper is written: this Aboriginal is recently deceased. The picture has been stuck over with paper, in honor to the aboriginal culture, not to exhibit pictures (and names) of the death, so they can find their peace.
So you could make a picture, but if the person dies, you must erase the picture. (and how could you know of that, so better leave it).
It is also forbidden to take pictures or make videos in the surrounding of he visitor centre.
Nothing should be left of the person, nothing reminding of him or her, no pictures and no names, because if you always remember the person, you kind of keep the ghost here on earth and it can not move on.
If you`re lucky, you might get into a situation where you can try `maku`. This is the Pitjantjatjara word for witchetty grub.
The standard line for unusual culinary fare is "Well, it tastes like chicken"... not in this case! It`s like a mix between egg and peanut butter.
NB: If you're given a choice, try it cooked. The texture is better :-)
As in other national parks all over the world you are also advised here not to take any stones with you.
Not only because they fear the tourists would transport half of the Uluru away, no.
It is also bad luck to do so.
In the visitor centre they have a corner where they show you the stones people have taken with them home and later sent back ... because they suddenly felt uneasy about it. In the letters they sent with the stones they write of the bad luck they had since having the stone...
So to get rid of the bad luck they returned the stones.
Australia seems to have an abundant arsenal of threatening signs. Along the roads, in the parks, and of course, in the cities, Big Brother is constantly telling yeah what is going to happen next if you do not follow the rules. To some degree the stern tone of the warnings surpasses the voice of similar means of communication in the countries of South America, where they had whole bunch of dictators and military juntas to polish up the grammar. So be aware and behave!
I found it saddening at Uluru to see plenty of information urging tourists to respect the local aborigines beliefs, requesting visitors not to climb the rock (even a big sign at the base that everyone walks past). Yet you'll see plenty of conquistadors ignoring the request and scampering up the side. Such a beautiful place, so significant to many, and so many ways to enjoy it (like the beautiful, peaceful 4 hr base walk). It just doesn't need to be climbed. And don't forget Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) is equally magnificent in its own right and is only 50km away.