Before I visited Uluru for BBC and Lonely Planet, I thought, What’s the big deal about a rock in the middle of the desert? Then I stood beneath it, saturated in color and surrounded by shimmering silence, and I felt awe. Now I get it. This is a mystical place.
How incredible to imagine that Anangu people, the traditional owners of the land, have been around for 30,000 years, passing down oral tradition from parent to child for millennia. Consider this: when you come across an ancient rock painting at Uluru, the story told in the artwork is as fresh and alive to contemporary Anangu people as it was to their ancient forebears. Locals speak of tjukurpa, the catch-all term for regional law, stories, customs, relationships, and knowledge, which together create the foundation of Anangu society. Herein lies the key to wrapping your head around Uluru, something I only began to do. I wished I’d scheduled an extra day.