In 2019, the climbing of Uluṟu was banned due to the wishes of First Nations people. But Uluṟu isn’t the only sacred Aboriginal site non-Aboriginal people have tramped. Jordan explains that there are plenty of other mountains you can climb without disrespecting Aboriginal cultures.


We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the Countries on which these adventures take place who have occupied and cared for these lands and waters for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.

The View From The Top

As an avid hiker, reaching the summit of a mountain is a feeling I hold dear. The sheer beauty of a view. The accomplishment. The journey to get there. A lot of my creativity comes from climbing mountains. My thoughts become clear out there on the trails. Though, one thing that’s now clear to me is that some of Australia’s mountains are not mine to climb. Sacred mountains hold history and significance for First Nations people whose cultures have been practised on these lands for tens of thousands of years.

And so, after educating myself about these sacred Aboriginal sites, I’ve chosen to respect the Traditional Custodian’s wishes to not climb these culturally significant mountains, with the realisation that there are plenty of others I can climb in this beautiful country without disrespecting anyone.


There Are More Sites Than Just Uluṟu

In 2019, tourists were officially banned from climbing Uluṟu due to wishes from the Traditional Custodians. It’s said that Uluṟu is like a church to the local Anangu people and scaling the rock is seen as disrespectful.

Uluṟu is the setting of multiple Dreamtime stories involving ancestral beings like Mala, Liru, Kuniya, and Lungkata. Anangu people believe that in the beginning, ancestral beings travelled across the land, creating natural features and formations and that Uluṟu is the physical evidence of these creations. 

However, Uluṟu isn’t the only culturally significant site in Australia that Aboriginal communities wish us not to ‘conquer’ – in fact, there are several others. I’ve compiled a list of these sacred mountains – paired with a nearby alternative adventure – so that we can all explore the land in a culturally sensitive way.

Read more: Here’s Where You Can Find Aboriginal Cultural Tours in Australia

Meewah (Tabletop Mountain) – Toowoomba, QLD

This flat-topped mountain near Toowoomba holds cultural significance as a ceremonial site for the Giabal people who are the Traditional Custodians of the area.

Meewah is also where ‘Battle of One Tree Hill’ took place in 1843. In this battle, local Aboriginal warrior Multuggerah and 100 fighters fought settlers attempting to cross the range. Although the battle was seen as a victory for Aboriginal people, it was still a place where many lost their lives, so it’s asked of us to reconsider our choice to summit Meewah.

Nearby alternative – Table Top Loop

Distance: 6.9km circuit
Skill Level: Intermediate

Instead of summiting this culturally significant site, take the scenic trail down and around the base of Meewah. Enjoy spectacular views of the mountain from afar at Picnic Point.


Wollumbin – Northern Rivers, NSW

Also known as Mount Warning, this gem is a postcard of the Tweed Valley and has been among the most popular walks in the area. However, the mountain is considered a traditional place of cultural law, initiation, and spiritual education to the local Bundjalung people, and therefore it’s out of respect that we do not climb. The Wollumbin summit track is currently closed.

Nearby alternative – Brummies Lookout

Distance: 11.9km out and back
Skill Level: Intermediate

Located on the other side of Wollumbin National Park, this stunning trail boasts picture-perfect views of Wollumbin but from a different perspective. From Tyalgum, park at the gate via Condowie Road. This trek is perfect in the latter half of the day when the afternoon sun hits Wollumbin. Consider downloading AllTrails for this one.


Mount Beerwah – Glass House Mountains, QLD

The highest peak in the Glass House Mountains, Mount Beerwah is considered the ‘mother’ of the surrounding summits and the local Jinibara and Kabi Kabi (Gubbi Gubbi) people ask us not to climb Mount Beerwah. Aboriginal Elders have been in a two-decade-long fight with the Queensland government to close the summit track off to hikers.

Both Beerwah and Tibrogargen are ‘not summits to be conquered, but representations of their great cultural heritage and their place in this land,’ states tourist information provided online by the Department of Environment.

Nearby alternative – Tibrogargan Circuit

Distance: 3.1km loop
Skill Level: Beginner

Walk to several viewpoints of the Glass House Mountains along this easy but spectacular trail around the base of Mount Tibrogargan. Sticking to the circuit trail will ensure that you don’t summit the mountain.


Ngarri Mudlanha (St Mary Peak) – Wilpena Pound, SA

The highest point in the Flinders Range, Ngarri Mudlanha is central to the Adnyamathanha creation story. For this reason, the local Adnyamathanha people prefer that visitors do not climb the summit of this peak.

Nearby alternative – Tanderra Saddle

Distance: 18km loop
Skill Level: Intermediate

Hikers can walk along the track from Wilpena Pound to Ngarri Mudlanha but are asked to stop their journey at Tanderra Saddle. Stopping here will still offer epic views across the range, just without summitting to Ngarri Mudlanha.

Kalkajaka (Black Mountain) – Tropical North Queensland

In local Kuku Nyungkal history, Kalkajaka was a sacred battlefield and now the mountain bears a dark force. Therefore, Kalkajaka is considered a no-go zone by the Traditional Owners.

Nearby alternative – Mount Cook

Distance: 6km return
Skill Level: Intermediate

Overlook the gorgeous Far North Queensland coastline from Mount Cook, basking in beautiful views of Cooktown and the Great Barrier Reef. Although a strenuous hike, it’s well worth the effort.

Mount Yengo – Hunter Valley, NSW

Mount Yengo in the Hunter Valley holds spiritual and ceremonial significance for a number of Aboriginal groups, including the Darkinjung, Awabakal, Worimi, and Wonnarua People. In fact it’s said to be the ‘Uluṟu of the East Coast‘ and holds as much cultural importance as Uluṟu does for the Anangu people.

Mount Yengo is also the location of local creation stories. It’s believed that this is the place where an ancestral hero named Baiame jumped back up to the spirit world after he’d created all of the region’s mountains, lakes, rivers, and caves. 

Nearby alternative – Pieries Peak, Mount Royal National Park

Distance: 3km return
Skill Level: Intermediate  

Offering scenic vistas over the Hunter Valley and Lake Saint Clair, this short climb starts at Youngville campground and follows a narrow and rocky ridge to a breathtaking lookout.