Uluru (E. Pivard / Unesco)

A new viewing platform has been opened at Uluru (Ayers Rock). The platform - named Talinguru Nyakunytjaku, or ‘place to look from the sand dune' in the Aboriginal Pitjantjatjara language - is around 3km (1.8 miles) away from one of Australia's most iconic sights.

Aboriginal elders hope it will deter more of the 300,000 people who visit the site each year from climbing on the rock.

The platform is part of a larger area, which also includes 11km (7 miles) of new roads and 1.6km (1 mile) of new walking tracks with shade shelters, and cost AUS$21 million (£12 million).

The project was devised in close consultation with Uluru's traditional owners. The platform was strategically placed to offer a good vantage point without breaching traditional law, which forbids photographs of the north-east face as it reveals sensitive sites.

On a clear day visitors will be able to see beyond Uluru to Kata Tjuta (the Olgas).

The viewing area was opened at a dawn ceremony.

It's estimated that around 38% of visitors to Uluru currently climb the rock. However, a ban on climbing is currently being discussed.

As well as being contrary to traditional owners' wishes, other incidents have led to renewed calls for a climbing ban in recent months.

These calls follow claims from a tour guide that climbers are defecating at the top, and a study showing that a rare species of inland shrimp, which lived in pools on top of the rock, appears to have been wiped out.