The Best Outback Experiences in Australia
If you think of the outback as just wide, flat lands and red earth, you're missing out on the best of this unique destination. The Outback is a region as diverse as it is vast, offering awe-inspiring natural wonders while immersing yourself in the world's oldest living culture. You can of course come to relax and unwind, but you can also fill your itinerary with exciting and unforgettable experiences that will stay with you forever. Here are some of Australia's best outback experiences.
Photo: Twelve Apostles - Great Ocean Road
Explore the Ancient Flinders Ranges
About five hours from Adelaide, in the Flinders Ranges, you'll find incredible rock formations dating back millions of years, charming pubs and a rich Aboriginal history. Enjoy the views from the best spot ever on a scenic flight over Wilpena Pound, where you can also fly over vast Lake Eyre, a sparkling salt pan that turns pink when it rains.
Photo: Wilpena Pound Resort, Flinders Ranges, Australia
Experience the Martian Landscape of Mungo National Park
Located in southwest New South Wales, Mungo National Park feels more like Mars than Earth. The ancient landscape not only offers insight into the geology of Australia, but also tells the story of the First Nations people. This is an important archaeological site where the remains of Mungo Lady and Mungo Man (said to be around 40,000 years old) were discovered. Marvel at fragile, fascinating sand and clay formations that have been eroded over thousands of years.
Photo: Mungo National Park NSW, Australia
Experience the Magic of Ulu R U
There are countless ways to take in the beauty of the mighty red monolith Ulu r u. Whether you're taking a guided tour to learn about the rich history of the oldest living culture, tucking into a five-star dinner at Sounds of Silence (pictured), or immersing yourself in the award-winning Field of Light exhibit. There is simply nothing quite as incredible as Ulu r u and Kata Tju t a.
A Connection to Living History
One of the best ways to experience the unique culture of Australia's First Nations peoples is at one of the many festivals celebrated across the country each year. Here one often hears the old stories and traditions passed down from one generation to the next. At the Barunga Festival you can dance for three days, listen to live music, visit art exhibitions, cultural workshops and much more.
Living Underground in Coober Pedy
The South Australian outback is full of surprises. The opal mining town of Coober Pedy is just under nine hours from Adelaide. Most people live underground here to escape the summer heat. Here you can visit houses, cafes and churches, all carved into the earth. But if you really want to know how the residents of Coober Pedy live, you should stay in one of the underground cave dwellings. The Desert Cave Hotel is carved into the sandstone hillside on the town's main street. The rooms are quiet and pitch dark when you turn off the lights, so a good night's sleep is almost guaranteed.
Photo: Coober Pedy
Experience Staircase to the Moon in Broome
One of Western Australia's most fascinating outback adventures can only be experienced after the sun has set. Three evenings a month, between March and October, the seaside town of Broome in the remote Kimberley can witness the incredible Staircase to the Moon, a natural phenomenon caused by the waxing full moon reflected in the mudflats of Roebuck Bay.
Photo: Broome, Australia
Swim in the Natural Pools of Kakadu National Park
Less than three hours from Darwin is Australia's largest national park, Kakadu National Park. With so many things to do, this dreamy outback destination caters for everyone. Fly over waterfalls, hike along rugged cliffs, discover ancient Aboriginal rock art or cruise along the tranquil Billabong at sunset.
Enter Another World in the Pinnacles Desert
The impressive limestone formations known as the Pinnacles stand near Cervantes, 250 kilometers north of Perth. The Pinnacles Loop is located in Nambung National Park and can be driven or hiked in about an hour. The park can be visited year-round, but spring is the best time to visit when wildflowers and acacia trees are in bloom.
Photo: Pinnacles Desert in Western Australia