Nothing says Australia quite like our Outback. The open spaces that seem to stretch on forever tell the story of the exploration and development of our wide brown land, and reflect Australia’s pioneering spirit and unique identity. You can find a little bit of the outback in every state of Australia, and while the regions are remote, they can be easily accessed from most major cities and towns.
From challenging four wheel drive adventures to sprawling cattle stations of more than a million hectares and from rugged mountain ranges and spectacular gorges to the longest stretch of straight railway track in the world, the Australian Outback symbolises the essence of Australia.
World Heritage-listed Uluru is one of Australia’s most iconic symbols. Located in the heart of Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park in Australia’s Red Centre, Uluru is an ancient landscape, rich in Australian indigenous culture and spirituality. There are many ways to experience the majesty of Uluru and the beauty of this unique desert landscape. Take a walk with an Aboriginal guide and learn about ancient traditions and stories from the Dreamtime. See it from the skies by helicopter or hot air balloon. Ride across the ochre coloured desert on a Harley Davidson motorcycle or on the back of a camel.
Crossing the Nullarbor
Widen your horizons driving the Eyre Highway across the vast, treeless and mesmerising Nullarbor Plain. You can connect to this journey from Melbourne, Adelaide or Perth and drive west to east or east to west along the highway. Whatever your direction, the scale of the scenery has a powerful impact. Watch wooded hills flatten into bluebush-studded plateaus and see mobs of kangaroos lining the road. Visit vast cattle stations, historic homesteads and remote railway outposts. Get up close to rare birds in Eyre, spot southern right whales from the rugged Bunda Cliffs and fish in Fowlers Bay. Sleep overnight in the roadhouses and campsites dotted across the highway. While this is a sealed road, it travels through remote areas and requires thorough preparation. You’ll need a 4WD vehicle to venture off the highway.
More About Australia's Outback
Find out more about the Australian outback - a place where plains stretch to eternity and people can yarn forever. It's called a sunburnt country, but even in the scorched desert you'll find purple vegetation and lush green waterholes. You'll also find red hills and fiery sunsets, dinosaur footprints and Aboriginal carvings, colourful characters and rustic pubs. Here in the wide, open spaces, a new adventure awaits you at every turn.
It's a true desert landscape in Nambung National Park, where the weathered rock spires of the Pinnacles rise out of yellow sand dunes. Yet the park sits on the deep blue Indian Ocean, along an idyllic stretch of coast three hour's drive north of Perth. After experiencing the eerie Pinnacles, stay in the fishing village of Cervantes, with its white beaches, coral reefs and Lake Thetis, a salt lake teeming with living fossils. Get up close to a rich array of wildlife in Badgingarra National Parks and discover Jurien Bay's national parks and idyllic sandy beaches.
Discover Australia's Red Centre, where Alice Springs offers access to the awe-inspiring landscapes of Uluru and Kata Tjuta, the MacDonnell Ranges and Kings Canyon. Soak up Aboriginal culture and rugged natural beauty on classic outback journeys; drive the Red Centre Way, hike the Larapinta Trail, ride a camel in the Simpson Desert or take the Ghan train journey from Darwin or Adelaide.
Be enthralled by the rugged gorges, epic waterways and incandescent ocean of the Kimberley, in Australia's north-west corner. Enjoy a sunset camel ride in Broome, then 4WD the Gibb River Road to Kununurra, home to the Ord Valley Muster and near the beehive-striped Bungle Bungles of Purnululu National Park. Broome is also gateway to the remote, beautiful Dampier Peninsula.
Travel from Australia's south to north on one of the world's greatest train journeys. Board in Adelaide and watch South Australia's rolling green hills make way for desert, the rusty Red Centre and finally the tropical splendour of the Top End. Or get on in Darwin and see the landscapes dance in the opposite direction. Explore the famous outback towns of Alice Springs and Katherine on a whistle stop tour. Visit sacred Aboriginal sites around Alice Springs or take a scenic helicopter flight over Simpsons Gap. Cruise down the Katherine Gorge, canoe down Katherine River or choose from other tailored Ghan adventures.
Sit back and watch Australia’s timeless landscapes fly by your window on this epic train trip. Board at Sydney and hop off for whistlestop tours of Broken Hill, Adelaide and gold-rich Kalgoorlie. Or join in Perth and cut the continent the other way, from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific. Pass through the spectacular Blue Mountains, stop in the remote outpost of Cook and travel almost 500 kilometres through the stark Nullarbor Plain. Whatever your direction, you’ll wake to the smell of freshly brewed coffee, watch fiery sunsets and fall asleep to the train’s rhythmic sway.
Lift your soul in South Australia's timeless Flinders Ranges and outback, home to Wilpena Pound and the underground opal town of Coober Pedy. Star gaze, see rare native wildlife, and uncover Aboriginal and pastoral history. For an adventure, drive the South Australian Loop from Adelaide, hike the Heysen trail or 4WD to the Simpson Desert and mostly arid Lake Eyre. - See more at: http://tour-aus-author.haylix.net/content/australia/en/places/flinders-ranges.html#sthash.Djdb0CeF.dpuf
Gibb River Road
Tackle one of Australia's greatest four-wheel-drive adventures on this 660-kilometre journey through the vast Kimberley. See freshwater crocodiles in the Windjana Gorge National Park and swim, bushwalk and camp at Lennard and Bell Gorges. Take a scenic flight over Mitchell Falls and the vast Mitchell Plateau. Stay on the one million acre El Questro Wilderness Park. From here you can go horse trekking, get up close to Kimberley wildlife and boat down Chamberlain Gorge past towering escarpments and Wandjina rock art. You could even take in the sights on a mountain bike for the Brisbane to Broome Charity Bike Ride. However you take on this outback challenge, remember it's one that needs planning.
Trace the trail of pioneer John McDouall Stuart as you travel from Adelaide to Darwin on the Explorers Highway. Explore the cellar doors and vine-lined chateaus of the Barossa Valley and rugged Flinders Ranges and Wilpena Pound. Stay underground in the opal capital of Cooper Pedy and the outback town of Alice Springs. Walk around Uluṟu with an Aboriginal guide and to the rim of Kings Canyon. See ancient Aboriginal rock art in World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park and swim in the crystal-clear pools of Litchfield National Park. Your adventure continues in the parklands, outdoor markets and festivals and historical attractions of tropical Darwin.
Red Centre Way
Swim in Glen Helen Gorge and spot rock wallabies at Simpsons Gap, both in the West MacDonnell Ranges. Listen to the Dreamtime legend surrounding the comet crater of Gosse Bluff. Climb to the rim of Kings Canyon and swim in the tropical pools of the Garden of Eden. Do a dawn camel trek around Uluṟu and wander between the steep russet domes of nearby Kata Tjuṯa. Journey through red desert sands, spinifex and mulga forest. Learn about the area's Aboriginal history from the Arrernte people who have lived here for 20,000 years. Immerse yourself in Aboriginal art and pioneer history in Alice Springs. Don't miss this unforgettable adventure through Australia's ancient centre.
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Glamping in Australia
Camping is probably the best way to immerse yourself in Australia's natural splendour. But while we all love the romantic notion of sleeping beneath the stars, not all of us enjoy ‘roughing it'. If you're used to travelling in style, the idea of lugging heavy supplies, pitching a tent or cooking tinned food over a campfire can be less than appealing. Enter glamping, or glamour camping, which lets you commune with nature in the comfort of a luxury tent. We're talking fresh linen, private bathrooms, spa treatments and gourmet meals prepared for you. You can glamp in some of Australia's wildest and most remote places - from the Red Centre to the Kimberley and Kakadu.
Trek along the backbone of the West MacDonnell Ranges to attractions such as Simpsons Gap, Ellery Creek Big Hole, Ormiston Gorge and Glen Helen Gorge. This epic chain of day walks stretches more than 223km from the old Alice Springs Telegraph Station to Mount Sonder and Mount Razorback. Stand on ancient escarpments and look out over vast ochre-colored landscapes. Visit sites sacred to the Arrernte Aboriginal people. Scramble down sheltered gorges, swim in cool waterholes and sleep under a sea of stars. Outback camping is one of the trail's highlights, along with the diversity of desert habitats, native birds, animals and nearly 600 species of rare flora. Tailor your walk along 12 sections, which range from effortless to arduous and have four wheel drive access. Or give yourself three weeks and a challenge yourself on the end-to-end trek.
South Australia's Desert Adventure
Want a challenge this winter? Four wheel driving the South Australian section of the vast, timeless Simpson Desert could be the adventure you're seeking. Drive from Adelaide along the Stuart Highway, then take the Oodnadatta Track to tiny Oodnadatta. From the Northern Territory, you can four wheel drive to Mt Dare or Poeppel Corner, also an entry point from Queensland.
Find out why everything happens underground in the world's opal capital. There's a relaxed and friendly vibe in Coober Pedy, where 3,500 residents from over 45 different countries have literally gone underground to avoid the searing outback heat. Most people work in the opal fields but their quirky underground community - complete with a church, hotels and a grassless golf course - has made tourism the second biggest industry.
Lake Eyre, in the Lake Eyre National Park around 700 kilometres north of Adelaide, is an extraordinary oasis in the harsh South Australian outback. The Lake Eyre Basin covers an astonishing 1 million square kilometres and crosses the borders of South Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland.
Three Great Days in Alice Springs
Connect to rich Aboriginal traditions, awe-inspiring landscapes and pioneer history in Alice Springs, which sits just south of Australia's geographic centre. Learn about the area's first inhabitants - the Western Arrernte Aboriginal people - in the Araluen Cultural Precinct and in the vibrant art lining Todd Mall. Find out how plucky pioneers shaped the modern town in the Telegraph Station Historical Reserve, Royal Flying Doctor Service and School of the Air. Experience an outback adventure on a camel trek or hot air balloon ride. On your final day, 4WD through the prehistoric terrain of Finke Gorge National Park, visit a huge comet crater and see where acclaimed Aboriginal painter Albert Namatjira grew up.
Houseboating along the Murray River
From slow food to high-speed adventure, a houseboat holiday down Australia's mighty Murray River has something for everyone. Kids and captains alike will love discovering the Murray, which winds between New South Wales and Victoria, then through South Australia to the ocean. Moor at secluded beaches or at historic riverside towns such as Echuca-Moama, Mildura, Swan Hill, Renmark and Loxton. Enjoy leisurely indulgence at the restaurants, wineries and golf courses. Or embrace one of the Murray's many natural adventures. Learn to water ski, canoe the lagoons, bird-watch in the wetlands and bushwalk through the red gum forests.
The Northern Territory's Katherine region stretches from Dunmarra in the south to the Daly River region in the north. In total it covers an incredible 480,000 sq kilometres. From east to west it touches both the Queensland and West Australian borders. Katherine and its surrounds are the place to go for true outback adventure and indigenous experiences.
Mungo National Park
Discover lunar landscapes and more than 40,000 years of Aboriginal culture in World-Heritage listed Mungo National Park. You won't see many landscapes as starkly prehistoric as Mungo National Park. This crinkled landscape of outcrops and shifting sand is part of the Willandra Lakes World Heritage Area, a series of desiccated lakes that once stretched between Willandra Creek and the Lachlan River.
Australian Adventures - From the Red Centre to Tasmania
‘There's nothing like going on the back of a camel at dawn to see the sunrise in the heart of my beloved Australia - Uluṟu'
Purnululu National Park, Western Australia
It's been around for 350 million years and revered by its Aboriginal custodians for 40,000 years. But the striking Bungle Bungle Range in World Heritage-listed Purnululu National Park was a secret from the outside world until 1983. Today this maze of orange-and-black striped sandstone domes, often likened to giant beehives, is one of the Kimberley's best-loved attractions. Take in the awesome Bungle Bungle Range on a scenic flight. Or hike, camp and 4WD amidst Purnululu's geological wonders, discovering ancient rock art, rare wildlife, tropical pools and craggy gorges.