The Australian Outback is one of Australia’s most talked about regions. A large region of arid wilderness a world away from the day-to-day concerns of modern civilization, it is home to austere natural scenery, rugged individualists, and some of this nation’s most unique wildlife.
Planning on a trip to Australia’s Great Red Centre? Below, we’ll fill you in on everything you need to know in order to have a pleasant trip to one of the world’s most unique places.
Where is the Outback in Australia?
There is no political demarcation on a map of Australia indicating where the Outback begins or ends. However, it is generally understood to be the portion of the country away from cities and big towns where little rain falls, creating stunning grasslands, scrublands, and red desert landscapes.
While far northern Australia is almost remote, many don’t consider it to be part of the Outback, as it is covered in jungle and experiences prodigious amounts of rain in the wet season (Aussies will often refer to this part of the country as the Top End).
One last thing: wherever you go in the Outback, you will be far away from many of the things we take for granted on a daily basis. Stock up on supplies before leaving populated areas, keep a fully charged mobile (or satellite phone) on you at all times, and buy some iSelect – Travel insurance before setting off on your trip.
The last one is essential, as medical rescues can cost a small fortune when you are stuck in the middle of nowhere – you’ll definitely want an insurer to foot the bill, not you.
Which places should I visit?
As a vast region, transport can be difficult or expensive (as is the case with air travel) throughout the Outback, so it is important to select and prioritize what you want to see before you head off on your adventure.
Uluru is the big one for many visitors: the world’s largest rock with a prominence of over 1,140 feet, it sticks out like a sore thumb amidst the geologically featureless desert which surrounds it.
A deeply scared site to the Aborigine people who have called the area home for generations, it is a must-see for anyone passing through the Alice Springs area.
Continuing south towards Adelaide, you’ll come to the mining town of Coober Pedy. Home to a hardy collection of self-made people, the biggest quirk of life here isn’t the boom-bust existence they endure at the hands of opal prices, but the fact that most homes here are underground.
Punishing heat, which regularly soars above 40 degrees Celsius in summer, has forced residents to seek the protection that only numerous feet of earth and rock can provide. This has created homes which wouldn’t be out of place in a Star Wars movie, so be sure to check out the ones open to the public.
Finally, don’t forget to spend some time on the desert beaches of Western Australia while travelling throughout the Outback in this part of the country.
From Lucky Bay in Esperance, where the name will seem apt if you end up encountering wild kangaroos on what is already a tremendously beautiful beach, to Turquoise Bay in Exmouth, where the desert meets some of the most stunning coral reefs on earth.