By my very non-scientific calculations around 75% of Australia is outback. That’s a lot of country to explore. This month I’m focussing on just a little of what the Aussie outback has to offer.
Where is the Aussie Outback?
There is no line in the sand with outback on the other side. It’s more of a gradual transition, which means that some places are more outback than others. In the good old days, the outback was anywhere west of the Blue Mountains. That’s probably taking it a bit far these days, but still the definition is more one of personal perspective up to a point.
The cities give way to towns that give way to smaller towns until all there is for hundreds of kilometres is remote Australia. The Aussie outback is the desert, it’s the channel country, it’s the scrub. It’s communities that survive in seemingly impossible environments. It’s the places we’ve all heard about; Uluru and the Bungle Bungles. It’s the places people have never been.
Why go to the outback?
The reasons to visit the outback are just as diverse as the environment itself.
The outback is home to innumerable aboriginal cultural sites. It’s a learning pot for our indigenous heritage. Significant, and to the untrained eye seemingly insignificant, landmarks all have a story behind them. Even the flora and fauna have tales around their creation. There is artwork thousands of years old. So old that some of the creatures depicted in it no longer exist.
Younger cultures have developed over the last 200 years or so. The quirky characters that can only be found in the outback. Gem miners, jackeroos and gypsies. The stoic and determined folk that stick it out in the little towns and the immense stations. They all combine to make a unique experience that is the Aussie Outback.
A change of pace
I love a beach holiday as much as the next person. But I also love to get away from the hustle to more remote parts of the country for an outback holiday. It’s not as easy as a trip to the coast. It takes more planning and more time to get there. But the change of pace and the completely different experiences make the effort so worthwhile.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking the outback is all desert. There are deserts like the Simpson and Gibson Deserts. But the outback in Australia is much more diverse. This year, especially, after record rains much of the eastern part of outback Australia has been transformed into thriving wetlands. Birds and greenery have returned to what has been scrub for too many years.
The Macdonnell and Flinders Ranges are different again. The northern part of the outback has it’s more tropical climate and is different again from the south. And the towns each have their own characters from the large mining communities to the little “pub is all there is” towns.
Fortunately, a lot of outback travel can be done in the family car. The blacktop will deliver you to all the major destinations without the need for a degree in 4×4 driving. It’s not just a 2 hour drive down the road though, so as I mentioned before, there is some extra planning and care involved. If you’d rather not drive or do it on your own, there are flights into the major towns and tours operate for just about every experience there is.
But on the whole, there is no reason not to pile the family into the car and head off for your own outback adventure.
At the end of each month I’d like to share the interesting bits I found on the web. These are some of the things that caught my eye over the last few weeks.
Flying with kids can be tricky at the best of times. Add budget airlines to that, with their stripped down service, stringent travel requirements and (at times) crazy delays, and there’s a whole new set of challenges to deal with. The always organised Planning Queen shared her experiences of taking her young kids to Sydney, by herself, on a budget airline. As usual her advice is golden.
I’ve been mulling over a post on this very topic for a few weeks now. It’s something close to my heart and one of the reasons I love to travel with our kids so much.
This image from Science at Home caught my eye, as we’ve not long returned from the Buchan Caves in Victoria. Deb has managed to capture a great range of formations in this image and gives a good explanation of what they all are.
This post from Simple Mom certainly isn’t what I expected when I read the headline. Nonetheless, it is great advice and something that I should try to practice more often.
The New7Wonders of Nature campaign is in its final stages. After an initial pool of 440 possibles, 28 candidates are vying for a spot in the New 7 Wonders of Nature. Uluru and The Great Barrier Reef are in the final group. So forget about Julia and Tony for a while and give these two natural wonders of Australia your vote.
Over the weekend the whole family headed down to the Geelong Waterfront. Not exactly a great family holiday for us, as we live 15km away. But, I have this thing about appreciating what’s in our own backyard so I like to get the kiddos down there whenever we can. Added to that, it’s fabulous! Why not go? You should, if you’re in town. Even if you’re not, you should make the effort. You won’t be disappointed, I promise.
Geelong is beautifully Keep reading …
Continuing the tropical theme, because it’s still very cold where I am, today it’s the turn of that other great tropical Australian city, Darwin. They’re in the middle of the of the dry season now and with an average year round temperature of 32°C, it’s another place that attracts those of us in search of warmer days.
As I’m typing the skies here are weighed down with heavy, dark clouds. The wind is chilling the already cool air so that the apparent temperature is a grand 1.0°C. The kids have the TV turned up loud so the rain on the roof doesn’t drown out the sound. Who can blame me for daydreaming about tropical holidays?
When I think tropical I automatically think Queensland. Being so large, the choices up there are pretty huge.
For a southerner like me, at the moment a pool in my cousins’ backyard in Brisbane could pass as tropical. But the real tropicalness is found in Tropical North Queensland (not all that surprising). The good folk up there call it paradise and it’s not hard to see why. Take a look: Keep reading …