Tourists Eager to Scale “Just a Rock”

As the closure date for climbing Uluru looms, right-wing Australians, and a handful of curious international adventurers, have made the great pilgrimage to the heart of the outback. Their sacred mission? To ascend what many of them have termed, “just a rock”.

Now, for those unfamiliar with Australia’s vast catalogue of, well, rocks – Uluru (or Ayers Rock) isn’t your average boulder. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site, a spiritual place for the Anangu people, and a true natural wonder. But let’s not get lost in the facts; there’s a narrative to uphold!

As we approached the increasingly lengthy line – which, rumour has it, could soon rival the queue at Sydney’s favourite brunch spots – the demographic trend became apparent. Pale, sunburned, sporting various degrees of adventure hats, and fervently discussing the merits of coal, the majority seemed to fit a specific mould. For fun, we tried to gauge political inclinations. Spoiler alert: There wasn’t a left-winger in sight.

“It’s just a rock,” one climber commented as they passed our makeshift interview booth, water bottle in one hand and a pamphlet titled “The Real History of Australia” in the other. Given the kilometres they’ve travelled and the hours spent under the blistering sun, one would think they were scaling Everest or at least something more than “just a rock”.

And in a delightful twist of irony, or perhaps Mother Nature’s way of having the last laugh, strong gusts of wind shut down the climb on the final day. The very winds that have shaped this magnificent formation over millennia decided that perhaps today was not the day for a climb. Some called it weather; others whispered of ancient spirits guarding the sacred site.

In any case, the many who had journeyed from near and far, touting their belief that it’s “just a rock”, had to content themselves with gazing at its magnificence from the ground. Which, ironically, is probably the best vantage point to appreciate the majesty and significance of this iconic Australian landmark.

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