Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory © Tourism NT/Hello Emily
Australia’s best outback experiences
Wild nature, ancient culture and a vastness you can’t capture in photos – Australia’s outback offers a whole different kind of adventure.
Rustic charm, cheery locals and refreshing ales are just a few of the reasons that Australia’s outback pubs are an unmissable experience. Pay a visit to one of the quaint, family-owned venues across the country and quench your thirst with a classic lager, or treat yourself to a hearty meat pie. Plus, the staff behind the bar are sure to share their insider tips for the local area.
A visit to Uluru takes the crown as the most famous experience in the Australian outback. Witnessing the majesty of this culturally significant site alone is a bucket-list tick, but there are also meaningful ways to delve deeper into the beauty and history of the red rock. Listen to the rich history of the local Anangu people on a guided cave art tour, immerse yourself in an award-winning outdoor exhibition or take in the view from above on a spectacular scenic flight.
Australia’s outback stations are vast and beautiful, offering authentic adventure by day and cosy accommodation by night. Dive into Aussie farming culture by helping with daily tasks like mustering or cattle feeding. When you’ve finished getting your hands dirty with the farmers, you can embark on station tours, unwind in swimming holes or spot native wildlife.
Australia’s boasts beautiful beaches, but the country’s interior has equally tempting swimming spots. From gently tumbling waterfalls to blue-green swimming holes outlined by sandy banks, these patches of paradise are especially common in places like Kakadu National Park and the Daintree Rainforest. Be sure to research the safest spots and seasonal changes before you jump in.
There’s nothing quite as Aussie as a kangaroo hopping through the red sand desert with the warm sun glowing in the background. While a sighting can’t be guaranteed, rest assured that these cute and bouncy creatures are found almost everywhere outside of Australia’s cities, so you have a good change of ticking off this iconic experience. If you’d rather be sure, you can meet kangaroos at places like the Kangaroo Sanctuary in Alice Springs.
The outback is home to a rich tapestry of ancient Aboriginal rock paintings, which beautifully depict the stories of First Nations communities. The best way to see these rock paintings is accompanied by an Aboriginal guide, who can share the stories and meanings behind some of the creations. Embark on a rock art safari through remote Arnhem Land, wander the Bungle Bungles with Traditional Custodians or explore Mutawintji Historic Site in outback New South Wales.
When the sun sinks beneath the outback horizon, it gives way to an uninterrupted sea of stars that is sure to take your breath away. Make the most of this sparkling scene while minimising your environmental footprint with nights spent sleeping under the open sky. Choose from campsites, outback stations and guided walks with purpose-built huts.
With towering rocky escarpments, green and gold flora and pristine waters, some of Australia’s most beautiful locations for a paddle are in the outback – making the perfect active adventure. Choose between self-guided and guided tours where you’ll be dwarfed between sheer cliffs. In places like Monkey Mia, the outback meets the coastline, giving you the chance to spot dolphins, turtles and even dugongs.
The outback gives you a real feeling of freedom. Embrace this feeling when you take off your kit and hop into an outdoor shower or bath. You’ll find al fresco bathing at outback stations and even at campsites. The outback’s wide open spaces give you ample privacy as you settle in under the shade of a eucalypt forest or wash away your worries gazing out at a sweeping vista.
Australia’s outback is home to diverse landscapes, from red sandy desert to lush national parks, which is why a road trip is one of the best ways to see it all. You could find yourself stopping on a whim to search for waterfalls, meeting the locals in cute outback towns or visiting surprising natural formations. Choose your destination and hit the road with your swag and a sense of adventure!
With magnificent stretches of uninterrupted nature, the outback takes al fresco dining to a whole new level – especially in the Red Centre. Befriend fellow travellers with an exceptional shared buffet beneath the stars with Sounds of Silence, or indulge in an intimate and luxurious four-course meal with Tali Wiru. Whichever you choose, you’ll dine on rich native ingredients as you hear the music and stories of the local Aboriginal peoples – all with Uluru and the night sky as your venue.
With epic views, access to must-see locations and luxurious dining and accommodation, climbing aboard an outback railway is one of the most incredible ways to experience Australia’s interior. From Darwin, hop on The Ghan for an unforgettable four-day journey to Adelaide, with incredible off-train experiences along the way. The Indian Pacific offers the best of the outback and the coast between Perth and Sydney, with a captivating array of changing landscapes.
Some of the best things in life are free – and that’s definitely true in the outback. The vision of the bright orange sun casting morning rays across the red sand desert draws visitors from across the globe. Wake up early to witness the break of day from any outback locale. Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is a particularly special place at sunrise when you’ll see shadows dance and disappear along the glowing red monolith.