Guest blogger Maree Clout spent some time exploring Anangu life and history at Uluru’s Cultural Centre
The excitement of reaching your final destination of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park starts in your belly the moment you take the turn-off from the Stuart Highway onto the Lasseter Highway at Erldunda. This is the moment you realise that your first glimpse of the magnificent Uluru and Kata Tjuta will magically appear at any time. And you will be right.
If this is your first time visiting this area, believe me, that’s how you’ll feel.
About 50 kilometres closer to these colossi, there they are. From that point on you’ll no doubt want to get settled into your accommodation, or set up camp so you can get back in the car and get closer to Uluru.
But, if you have the time – and your arrival time fits, please do visit the Cultural Centre.
It’s full of information about what to do in the park, with dedicated staff to help.
You can either explore all there is to explore or just quickly grab some brochures and head off outside again.
The Cultural Centre introduces you to the foundation of Anangu culture – Tjukurpa, the traditional law that guides Anangu daily life.
Cultural demonstrations take place at 10.00 am every day when you can hear about bush foods, tools and medicines, see artists paint, and join in with hands-on activities.
There is an information counter, shops selling Aboriginal arts and souvenirs, a cafe where you can re-energise for whatever activities you have planned, a picnic area or two and rest rooms.
There is a documentary lasting about 40 minutes that loops around all day, which is a good starting point to understanding all there is about life at the park before and after white settlement.
The building itself also tells the story of this special place. It was opened in 1995to celebrate ten years of joint management between Anangu and Parks Australia.
It was built using natural materials, including bricks built on-site by local Anangu. The Cultural Centre logo represents four major Tjukurpa stories associated with Uluru. Kuniya, Liru, Kurpany and Mala are all ancestral beings who help form the basis of traditional law and custom for Anangu today. They connect Anangu with country in all directions around Uluru.
All images courtesy of Maree Clout