Have an Aussie Outback Adventure

by on August 2, 2010
in Destinations

How much of Australia is actually Aussie outback? Is it 50%? Or 60%? I’ll give you a sec to mull it over *cue muzak*.

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.

Cultural experience

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.

Getting there

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.

Happy travels,

Images  robertpaulyoung and livunni via Flickr

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