Aside from perhaps Sydney, there is no image more synonymous with Australia than the outback. Miles and miles of nothingness, total vast wilderness, before happening upon one of the most jaw-dropping sights you’ll ever see in your life – this is a common occurrence when you explore the Australian outback.
Of course, there is a little bit of outback in every state, and some are more remote than others, such as the famous Red Centre, home of Uluru and the aboriginal culture you simply have to learn about. You can choose to take a guided tour, perhaps a hop on and off bus, or you can venture out into the outback yourself. This is totally safe provided you heed advice and prepare yourself accordingly; travelling in the outback is not something you should do without learning about it first.
The Western Australian outback is the largest expanse of outback territory in the country, and you’ll see some awesome rock formations in this particular area, such as the Pinnacles, before exploring The Kimberley, or perhaps Kalgoorlie and its former gold rush history. The Gibb River Road will take you through some of the most iconic and remote areas in the whole of the country too.
You could cross the Nullarbor, explore the Red Centre, camp under the stars near Uluru, visit Kings Canyon, or the Flinders Ranges. If you want to have real bragging rights, how about riding the longest stretch of straight railway, on the Indian Pacific Railway? Or perhaps the Ghan Railway. Exploring by rail is a great way to appreciate the passing landscapes, and the odd kangaroo or two as well.
There are several road trip routes you could follow if you prefer to do it all yourself, such as Explorers Highway, Red Centre way, and you could do it all via Alice Springs and enjoy the laid-back outback city life before you venture off into the vast wilderness.
Basically, exploring the outback is an adventure like no other, but it is one you need to prepare for. If you are heading off in a 4×4 vehicle then make sure you get it serviced well beforehand, check your insurance details, and load it up with plenty of stock, such as blankets, sun-screen, water, snacks etc. Don’t leave anything to chance. Make sure you have a phone charger which works in your car, be aware of lack of phone service, and don’t travel with too many valuables.
Be sensible, this is not an adventure to take lightly. Having said that however, if you give the outback the respect it deserves, it will reward you with some of the most awe-inspiring scenery and experiences you will ever have anywhere else in your life.
If you’re heading off on a guided tour, you don’t have to worry about any of this, simply make sure you pack everything you need for yourself. If you’re off on a rail adventure, check fares ahead of time, as the most popular routes sell out fast, and check your permitted ‘hopping’ allowances to avoid problems along the way.
The outback is stunning, explore it and see for yourself.
Photo Credit: Nicolò Bonazzi