Authorities at Uluru National Park have announced that tourists will no longer be allowed to climb up to the top of Australia’s most famous landmark. The ban will take effect at the beginning of 2019. Officials say that Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, is not an entertainment park, like Disneyland.
About 250 000 people visit the large red monolith in central Australia every year. However, only about 16% want to climb the rock.
Although Australia’s government wants to keep the site open for hikers to climb, the decision was made out of respect to the native Australians who consider Uluru as a sacred place. In 1985 the government returned it back to the aboriginal people of the region. For a long time , local residents have asked visitors not to climb the rock out of respect.
National park authorities are worried that hiking to the top of 1,100 ft high rock will damage the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tour operators are now in search of other ways to show the monolith to its visitors, including camel rides around it.
Uluru National Park is open all year round, but climbing is only allowed on certain days because of strong winds and other weather conditions. Climbing the rock is not always safe. In the last 70 years , 35 people have died in climbing accidents.
Not all locals, however, are in favour of the ban. Some say that hiking should only be allowed with a guide and on special pathways.
- Aboriginal people = people who have lived in Australia from the earliest times on
- although = while
- announce = to say officially
- authorities = an official organisation that controls or is in charge of something
- ban = order that stops something from being done
- consider = think that…; look at something as …
- damage = cause harm to something
- entertainment park = area where you can go to in order to have fun, ride on roller coasters etc..
- government = the people who rule a country
- guide = person who shows you around a place
- hiker = someone who walks long distances in the mountains
- in favour of = to be for something
- including = also
- landmark = something that is easy to see , even from far away
- local = a person who lives in the area
- monolith = a large tall block of stone
- native Australians = the people who have been in Australia before Europeans came
- official = a person in an organisation who is in charge of something
- pathway = track that is made for walking
- resident = a person who lives in a place
- sacred = holy , religious
- take effect = put into effect, become a law
- UNESCO World Heritage Site = place that has been selected by the United Nations because it is very valuable ; it should be protected by all countries