Outback is the colloquial name for the vast, unpopulated and mainly arid areas that comprise Australia’s interior and remote coasts. It is used to describe the emptiness, remoteness, and the huge distances of inland Australia, and also the fact that most people still don’t know much about it. Trip to Australia may be incomplete without coming to terms with the hub of natural wonders on earth – The Australian Outback!
Outback Australia’s most popular attraction, The Red Centre, aka the “Capital of the Outback”, perfectly exemplifies the Australian best kept secret and is home to the “Big Three” outback attractions: Australia’s iconic red-rock monolith: Uluru; Isolated town of Alice Springs; and Soaring sandstone walls of Kings Canyon.
Here are the major outback attractions you would never want to miss on your ultimate Outback vacation in the hinterland of Australia:
Uluru is one of the most iconic and sacred sites in Australian outback. This geological marvel is located inside the Uluru Kata-Tjuta National Park in Yulara. It bears multiple inscriptions made by ancestral indigenous people. This region also has some of the clearest skies on the planet for an unforgettable star-gazing experience.
Watching Uluru change its colour as the sun sets is one of the most magical moments.
Ensure to go either at sunrise or sunset (if not both) to catch the changing colours in all their glory as the light hits the 600 million-year-old monolith.
2. Alice Springs
Alice Springs sits right in the middle of the Australian continent, as far away as possible from every major city, and every coast. It has an airport and therefore serves as the main base for starting outback tours. The town of Alice Springs is remarkably known for being mostly built underground. It is also one of the best places to learn more about the plants and animals, geology and landscapes of the Outback through its Alice Springs Desert Park.
3. Kings Canyon
Kings Canyon in Watarrka National Park is midway between Alice Springs and Uluru Kata-Tjuta National Park. The stunning scenery of Kings Canyon is the biggest attraction inside Watarrka National Park, so much so that few tourists know the real name of the park. The walls of Kings Canyon are over 100 metres high, with Kings Creek at the bottom. The immense sandstone gorge, lush palm forests and 20,000 years of Luritja Aboriginal history make this a unique and captivating region.
4. Staircase to the Moon
Staircase to the Moon is an extraordinary spectacular of the Outback Australia. It is unique to the town of Broome in Western Australia’s remotely located Kimberley. This unbelievable sight occurs three nights a month, between March and October. It’s a natural phenomenon caused by a rising full moon reflecting off the tidal flats of Roebuck Bay, which really does look like a stairway to heaven. Markets are held on the first two nights, with lots of entertainment and food stalls – it’s the ultimate full moon party!
5. Lake Eyre
Lake Eyre is the largest salt lake in Australia and also its lowest point below sea level. Usually it’s dry, mile after mile of white salt, but several times during any given century, it floods after heavy rainfall and becomes the largest lake in Australia. If you’re lucky enough to be here when it happens, you don’t want to miss it, though it’s worth a visit to see when it’s dry as well.
6. Kakadu National Park
Kakadu National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a biodiverse wonderland, home to about a fifth of all the nation’s animals. It also has Aboriginal rock paintings and billabong oxbow lakes, which are isolated ponds left behind after a river changes course. The landscape also hosts impressive thundering waterfalls. Arguably the best way to see this vast land is by air, with a helicopter tour allowing one to truly appreciate its immense size while enjoying a bird’s eye view over it all.
7. Australian Desert
Australian Deserts make up a big part of Outback Australia and are popularly referred to as “the Outback Desert of Australia“. However, that name can be misleading at times in a couple of ways. Firstly, it sounds as if there was one big desert in Australia, the Outback Desert, which is not true, and secondly, it sounds as if the entire Outback in Australia is desert, which isn’t true either. People come to Australian deserts for its stunning scenery, magnificent rocks, coloured sands, gorgeous gorges and its unique plants and animals. There are essentially 5 major Australian deserts – Great Victoria Desert (largest), Great Sandy Desert, Tanami Desert, Simpson Desert and Gibson Desert.
Now that you are all set to hit the Australian Outback region, here is an important announcement
Australia is beneath a hole in the earth’s protective ozone layer, therefore, it is vital to be well prepared and appropriately equipped for the scorching heat. Carry at least 2 bottles of fresh drinking water and a high SPF sunscreen. A wide-brimmed hat may also come in handy.