The Aboriginal culture and heritage surrounding Ayers Rock (Uluru), a World Heritage site, is both what helps to create a sense of purpose and importance with the landmark, as well as what adds a bit of sensitivity and controversy with the tourism aspect in general.
The local Pitjantjatjara Aboriginal tribe considers Ayers Rock a sacred monolith, and the fact remains that Ayers Rock was settled thousands of years prior to the arrival of the foreign explorers. Legends say Ayers Rock was created in Dreamtime, and traditional rituals take place to this day in some of the caves, some of which also house ancient rock paintings.
Since the Aboriginals consider the monolith a sacred place, be aware that some areas do not allow photography. While not illegal, the Aboriginals prefer that hiking and climbing on top of Uluru be withheld since the structure, some caves and other sites on it are of significance to the culture.
This sensitivity should not be taken lightly as past examples prove. In 2010, a French tourist climbed to the top and proceeded to strip down to her bikini and put on high heels. Images shocked the Aboriginal community so much that they went as far as requesting her deportation from the country.
An additional incentive towards respecting the site revolves around desecrating or taking home souvenir rocks. Those who do are said to become cursed or have bad luck, so much so that past rock-takers have sent them back to travel agents and tour guides for replacement.
Individuals wishing to learn more about the Aboriginal culture at Ayers Rock are urged to visit the Uluru-Kata Tjuta Aboriginal Cultural Centre just south of Uluru. Other options include signing up for a day tour of Ayers Rock with Aboriginal guides.