Some people have their knickers in a twist that the Uluru climb path —the icon of 1970s Australia along with smoking indoors and ham in aspic— will close in October.
That's right. Just when you thought you could arrive at a historic sacred site and think, 'that's a big rock; I'm going to climb that', before you know it, some Traditional Owners who have ongoing ties to the land have used their native title rights to put a ban on a highly dangerous, invasive activity that is barely used anymore. It's PC gone mad I tell you.
To some, it might seem like their entitled right to come into an Aboriginal community and ignore traditional lore has been taken from them, but there are actually plenty of rewarding things out there that surpass being "king of the castle" of Uluru.
1. Climb the corporate ladder, instead of an Aboriginal sacred site
The path of the 'Uluru climb' infiltrates a spiritual story walked by ancestral Mala men. It's a sacred place that has been used by the Traditional Owners long before a chain handhold was implemented into its interface.
A far more sustainable, less sacrilegious, trajectory might be paved in business?
Given Australia is looking very 'gung-low' than 'gung-ho' at the moment, and currently facing some of the bleakest statistics regarding work and unemployment, why not follow a career path instead?
2. Fall in love, instead of hundreds of metres down
Uluru is high. It's higher than the Eiffel Tower. It's also steep and can be very slippery. Consequently, 'the climb' has resulted in many injuries and in some tragic cases, death.
When people fall, it leaves a devastating effect on the community who live there. As the 62-year-old elder of the Mutitjulu community, Keith Aitken puts it, "with us mob, when people hurt themselves while climbing Uluru, it makes us feel no good. It's like if you woke up to find someone dead in your backyard— how would that make you feel?"
Falling in a less physical, more emotional sense, can be wonderful though. According to Celine Dion, it "feels so good".
The 2016 Census revealed that around 40 per cent of Australian adults are single. What is more, in 2015, data showed that 15 per cent of our population was on Tinder. So start swiping. As a nation, perhaps we should be on a different kind of lookout; the lookout for companionship and intimacy.
3. Get stuck in a good book, instead of a crevice
They say 'what goes up, must come down', but when backpackers trek up Uluru —particularly in tough conditions like extreme heat and strong winds— what goes up, often comes down with the NT Emergency Services.
Alternatively, why not take a leaf out of the books (pardon the pun) of many Australians and join a book club?
Recent research from the Australian Research Council and Macquarie University shows that on average, Australians spend at least five hours per week reading a good book.
So, how about embarking on a different kind of adventure? Fall down the rabbit hole into 'Wonderland', journey to a hidden beach in Thailand or get stuck Between a Rock and Hard Place with Aron Ralston.
4. Wear out your kids so they go to bed early, instead of precious sandstone
It doesn't take a genius to know that regularly prodding and poking paintings in an art gallery will lessen their life expectancy. This is why cultural institutions have an idiot-proof 'do not touch' policy. It doesn't take Einstein to understand that hundreds of footsteps upon pristine sandstone erodes it, either.
Uluru is made from arkose, a unique coarse sandstone rich in mineral feldspar. For thousands of years, the only changes on the monolith were made by natural erosion (heat and moisture). Today, however, the constant tread of climbers over time has stripped the rich iron rust colour off Uluru's face and left a tarnished pale streak up the side of the natural wonder.
The majesticity of Australia's landscape has existed pristine over literally thousands of years, by-and-large due to Traditional Owners who have managed the land and taken care of Country. Since the influx of visitors, however, preserving such sites is becoming more and more of a challenge —especially when people want to use them like an amusement park.
Actual amusement parks, however, are designed to faciliate human activity.
Mechanicised thrill machines, play equipment and legit toilet facilities are great for family entertaining. In turn, this excitement is good for getting to kids to bed at night.
Research shows that there is a direct correlation between earlier bedtimes and emotional stability in children. For parents, having the evening to yourself is perfect for "relaxation and connection", according to the Huffington Post.
Escape the trials of your everyday — put the kids to bed, take a bath, listen to Smooth FM etc.
5. Chuck a sickie, instead of rubbish
Climbers on Uluru rarely leave just their footprints behind.
Aside from dropping the odd muesli bar wrapper or cigarette bud, plastic water bottles are regularly falling out of climber's hands, backpacks and pockets and landing into crevises where they are unable to be retrieved.
Something many Australians are also not retrieving —but should— is their annual sick leave.
Figures from Roy Morgan data showed that 11 per cent of Australians did not take any allocated leave in 2014, with many saying they felt unable to because of work commitments. If worker's want to perform at their very best, medical experts say they need to ditch the 'workaholic' mentality and relax and recharge the mind every once in a while.
Power up your battery. Take a personal day and hit the beach. Be sure to upload your selfies a week later as a #tbt so your boss will be none the wiser.
6. Disrespect 'The Man', instead of First Nations' culture
Tired of 'the system'? Stick it to The Man. Loosen that tie bro... In fact, take the whole thing off. Don't give your business to places that have the great Australian EFTPOS minimum scam. Play Scrabble without a dictionary at hand. And who says you can't have more than one sauce on your Subway footlong?
Fight for your right to party, just don't abuse your privilege and oppress marginalised groups while doing so.
Don't be the prick who visits someone else's Country and disregards the customs or cultures that are important to the local people.
Aboriginal history, people, culture and knowledge contributes to, and is largely responsible for, Australia's unique identity. Thinking that climbing Uluru is an authentic Australiana experience, is as in touch with reality as thinking that you'll lose weight from eating the McDonalds 'healthy options' menu.
7. Admire the natural wonders of the world, instead of your physical ability
We get it, you're a goal-setter, an adventurer, someone who's always up for the challenge. But not everything is a Ninja Warrior course. Furthermore, not all natural wonders are Everest or Kilimanjaro (or actual Mountains for that matter).
Uluru is listed as a World Heritage site for it's natural, cultural and other outstanding universal values. It recognises Tjukurpa and the Anangu culture in all aspects of its existence. With great importance comes great responsibility and Uluru-Kata Tjuta National park maintains Uluru's unique ecosystem, conserves archeological resources, records Anangu history and ensures Tjukurpa remains a vital component of the site.
Aside from admiring the sheer brilliance of Uluru and its surrounds (seeing it's vibrant colour, feeling the energy of the middle of Australia), there are many activities on offer that enhance the experience of being in its presence.
Unfortunately, all of which don't include the 'satisfaction' of climbing the equivalent of a 95-story in 35-degree heat, though. Soz.
... And if you're still left eager to climb on something that's needlessly offensive, why not contact your local parish and ask whether you can abseil down the side of it this Sunday?
This article is satire and while it pays respect to the Anangu Traditional Owners, it does not speak for them.
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