Australia’s Sacred Uluru Monolith Is Closing to Tourists for Good This Weekend—So Tourists Are Rushing to Climb It

Thomas Schoch, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0
Thomas Schoch, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

Tourists are rushing to the Australian outback this weekend to climb the continent's most iconic landmark one last time. As SBS News reports, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park will permanently close Uluru, formerly known as Ayers Rock, to climbers on Saturday, October 26, acknowledging the wishes of the Anangu people.

Centuries before Europeans colonized Australia, the massive rock formation known as Uluru was regarded as a sacred place. It plays a central role in some Aboriginal creation stories and tribes have used the surrounding area as a site for ceremonies for millennia.

In the most recent chapter of Australia's history, Uluru has transformed into something else: a tourist attraction. People come from around the world to climb to the pinnacle of the rock. But members of the indigenous Anangu group say that visitors don't treat the site with the reverence it deserves, and have long called for climbing to be banned.

In 2017, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, which is jointly owned by the Anangu people and the Australian government, announced plans to ban climbers from Uluru. Since then, adventurers have been flocking to the site to cross it off their bucket list or scale it one last time. With the rock scheduled to close for good this Saturday, the site is busier than ever.

The controversy surrounding Uluru has been strong enough to inspire legends of a "curse" that befalls disrespectful tourists. Some hikers claim they've experiences streaks of bad luck after taking a rock from the landmark home with them. Mailing these cursed keepsakes back to the park has become so common that rangers have dubbed them "sorry rocks."

[h/t SBS]

The 10 Best Memorial Day 2020 Sales

iRobot,GoWise,Funko via Wayfair, Entertainment Earth
iRobot,GoWise,Funko via Wayfair, Entertainment Earth

The Memorial Day sales have started early this year, and it's easy to find yourself drowning in offers for cheap mattresses, appliances, shoes, and grills. To help you cut through the noise and focus on the best deals around, we threw together some of our favorite Memorial Day sales going on right now. Take a look below.

1. Leesa

A Leesa Hybrid mattress.
A Leesa Hybrid mattress.
Leesa

Through May 31, you can save up to $400 on every mattress model Leesa has to offer, from the value-minded Studio by Leesa design to the premium Leesa Legend, which touts a combination of memory foam and micro-coil springs to keep you comfortable in any position you sleep in.

Find it: Leesa

2. Sur La Table

This one is labeled as simply a “summer sale,” but the deals are good only through Memorial Day, so you should get to it quickly. This sale takes up to 20 percent off outdoor grilling and dining essentials, like cast-iron shrimp pans ($32), a stainless steel burger-grilling basket ($16), and, of course, your choice of barbeque sauce to go along with it.

Find it: Sur la Table

3. Wayfair

KitchenAid Stand Mixer on Sale on Wayfair.
Wayfair/KitchenAid

Wayfair is cutting prices on all manner of appliances until May 28. Though you can pretty much find any home appliance imaginable at a low price, the sale is highlighted by $130 off a KitchenAid stand mixer and 62 percent off this eight-in-one GoWise air fryer.

And that’s only part of the brand’s multiple Memorial Day sales, which you can browse here. They’re also taking up to 40 percent off Samsung refrigerators and washing machines, up to 65 percent off living room furniture, and up to 60 percent off mattresses.

Find it: Wayfair

4. Blue Apron

If you sign up for a Blue Apron subscription before May 26, you’ll save $20 on each of your first three box deliveries, totaling $60 in savings. 

Find it: Blue Apron

5. The PBS Store

Score 20 percent off sitewide at Shop.PBS.org when you use the promo code TAKE20. This slashes prices on everything from documentaries like Ken Burns’s The Roosevelt: An Intimate History ($48) and The Civil War ($64) to a Pride & Prejudice tote bag ($27) and this precious heat-changing King Henry VIII mug ($11) that reveals the fates of his many wives when you pour your morning coffee.

Find it: The PBS Store

6. Amazon

eufy robot vacuum.
Amazon/eufy

While Amazon doesn’t have an official Memorial Day sale, the ecommerce giant still has plenty of ever-changing deals to pick from. Right now, you can take $100 off this outdoor grill from Weber, $70 off a eufy robot vacuum, and 22 percent off the ASUS gaming laptop. For more deals, just go to Amazon and have a look around.

7. Backcountry

You can save up to 50 percent on tents, hiking packs, outdoor wear, and more from brands like Patagonia, Marmot, and others during Backcountry's Memorial Day sale.

Find it: Backcountry

8. Entertainment Earth

Funko Pops on Sale on Entertainment Earth.
Entertainment Earth/Funko

From now until June 2, Entertainment Earth is having a buy one, get one half off sale on select Funko Pops. This includes stalwarts like the Star Wars and Batman lines, and more recent additions like the Schitt's Creek Funkos and the pre-orders for the upcoming X-Men movie line.

Find it: Entertainment Earth

9. Moosejaw

With the promo code SUNSCREEN, you can take 20 percent off one full-price item at Moosejaw, along with finding up to 30 percent off select items during the outdoor brand's summer sale. These deals include casual clothing, outdoor wear, trail sneakers, and more. 

Find it: Moosejaw

10. Osprey

Through May 25, you can save 25 percent on select summer items, and 40 percent off products from last season. This can include anything from hiking packs and luggage to outdoorsy socks and hats. So if you're planning on getting acquainted with the great outdoors this summer, now you can do it on the cheap.

Find it: Osprey

At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.

For the First Time Ever, You Can Watch the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge via Livestream

Sunrise at Stonehenge.
Sunrise at Stonehenge.
AndyRoland/iStock via Getty Images

Tourists can't experience next month's summer solstice at Stonehenge in person, but in 2020, more people will be able to view the event than ever before. As Matador Network reports, the English Heritage organization will livestream the spectacle for the first time in the ancient landmark's history.

The first day of summer is a very important occasion at Stonehenge. When the Sun appears over the horizon on the solstice, it appears to line up perfectly with the massive stone structure. This has led some to believe that Stonehenge played an important role in druid solstice celebrations when it was erected between 3500 and 5000 years ago.

Under normal circumstances, thousands of people make a pilgrimage to the site at the end of June to witness the event. This year, English Heritage, which manages the landmark, is asking people to stay home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization hopes to make up for this by streaming the solstice at Stonehenge live on social media.

To watch the special sunrise live from home, head to English Heritage's Facebook page the morning of June 21 (or, if you're tuning in from the U.S., the evening of June 20). The sun rises at Stonehenge at approximately 4:52 a.m. local time, so check to see when that is in your area to watch the event live. The page will also stream sunset on Saturday, June 20, at 9:26 p.m. local time.

[h/t Matador Network]