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Cultural hit in the land of the red dirt

Camping in the red dirt. Loved it. Felt more connected to and part of the landscape and spirit that is Uluru.

There was a great atmosphere in the over fill camping section. With no designated areas caravans, camper trailers, tents and vans all set up side by side. More opportunity for travellers to mingle with each other. Evening camp fires sprung up adding a glow to the red dirt under thousands of stars on a clear desert night.

I lost a couple of hours in the Cultural Centre located in the foreground of  Uluru. It’s not a museum but rather a place to learn about the Anangu tribe, traditional owners of the area. To quote Tony Tjamiwa (elder) ‘We tell the public stories straight and simple, so people can understand’. I loved the earthiness of the locally made mud brick buildings with thatched roofs and timber, lots of beautiful raw timber. The centre is low key and blends in with it’s surroundings. The place has soul.

The  award wining design represents two fighting serpent snakes, Liru and Kuniya. According to the dreamtime legend their great battle resulted in the cuts, scarring and depressions on  Uluru. Inside, a corridor follows an S shape,  as  a snake would move.  The earthy walls are decorated with striking and colourful murals, depicting dreamtime stories. These murals support interesting displays and information written up on beautiful glass interpretation panels.

The corridor leads to a large room’ filled with more stories of the Anangu tribe and their culture. Three things really stood out for me. 1. our  indigenous people really understood, respected and managed the land.   2. they embraced the concept of ‘food miles’ (buy local),  ‘seasonal cooking’  and slow cooking’ long before cooking TV programs aired and 3. they have understood and practiced for centuries  ‘living in the now’ –  the new self help concept western society is embracing in search of happiness.

I wrote down the following off a plague at Uluru which sums it up perfectly.

‘This is a good place to listen to country
Take a minute to sit down, close your eyes and breathe deep
Enjoy this moment
Listen to the bird
Can you hear water trickling
Concentrate on the wind Can you hear it? Feel it?’

I also enjoy a wander through the two galleries. Each displaying and selling stunning and vibrant desert paintings along with woven baskets and woodwork pieces of snakes, lizards, birds, hunting and gathering tools. All works are created by local artists across twenty two communities. Each piece tells stories of their countries.

NB: Because of the deep spiritual nature of the area and what is contained within the Cultural Centre, I was not able to take photos. I was happy to respect the wishes of the traditional owners, and protect Anangu’s cultural and intellectual property.

But. I did take 100’s of pics of Uluru. So easy to do. I have selected some of the better ones that show Uluru is not smooth. It is weather beaten, pitted and flaky. There are deep grooves and crevices on it’s surface. The different layers and textures add to the overall WOW factor that is Uluru.


About Heather

I’m free spirited by nature with a gypsy soul. I’ve never really been content to stay in the one place. There’s just too much to see and do in what really is a short life (when you think about it in the big picture). My mission is to experience as much as I can. To live not just exist. Growing up I always said I was going to be an old lady riding around on a Harley Davidson with purple rinse in my hair. So far one out of three isn’t bad. I’m taking a break, loading up the Fat Bob, hitching up ‘the trailer’ for some nomadic adventures around Australia. I’ve given away and sold off most of my possessions (a very liberating experience). The rest has gone into storage. Find Out More »

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