Have you ever experienced complete and total freedom?
If you’re ready to jump into your car and explore the Australian Outback, you’ll feel it. Hot sun, roaming animals, and raw nature — this is pretty much what you can expect. Miles and miles of nearly empty roads that stretch across almost the whole country and untamed nature left unspoiled by the human touch.
As road trips go, the Outback takes the cake because it offers something unique: time and peace to reflect in solitude, or to bond with someone close to you. Driving through this part of Australia is a great way to experience non-urban areas where the population isn’t as dense and to see some pretty spectacular sights.
Are you ready for it? Here’s what you need to know before you head out.
What is the Outback?
The Outback is generally centered in the middle of the Australian continent, and it encompasses rural, desert areas with little population. It’s a very vast area, and a large chunk of it is fairly unexplored. The climate is mostly arid, so get ready for hot, unforgiving weather, especially if you decide to visit it during summer.
The Outback is deeply important to Australian cultural heritage, and it’s considered to be one of the largest intact natural regions on earth. Bear in mind that if you want to explore the Outback, you’ll be facing raw nature with a very long history.
This is not a typical trip, so you need to think long and hard about preparing for it. The first thing you need to know is, you cannot really count on running into stores or any kind of service you need. This means you should primarily load up on basic necessities like food and water.
If you’d like to drive on unsealed roads, which is expected, you will need a four-wheel-drive vehicle. If you are renting, make sure to specify where you’re going and that your car will handle it. However reliable the car may be, stock up on some car parts which tend to fail in rough conditions. You don’t want to get stuck in the middle of nowhere with a broken vehicle!
If you’re going to travel through a vast, sparsely populated area, and you’ll be relying a lot on your ride. Unless you have car insurance, now’s definitely the time to start thinking about buying it. Don’t worry too much about insurance premiums — saving is easy if you pick the right company because good insurance agents can recommend a policy that will suit your needs. You just need to make sure your car is safe and that everything is covered just in case. After all, better safe than sorry.
How can you see the whole Outback when it’s this huge? Well, you can’t. You need to decide which places you’d like to see. Of course, you should plan your route, but you should leave some room to improvise; just for the excitement of the unknown.
There are some popular Outback locations and, luckily, most of them can be reached from the Stuart Highway. You can start from Alice Springs Desert Park, a place where you can appreciate Australia’s flora and fauna, as well as the Aboriginal culture. After this, you can continue on to Uluru, which is one of the most popular tourist attractions. The nature is stunning, and watching the sacred rock change its colors as the sun sets over it is an experience that cannot be put in words. Then you can move on to Kata Tjuta National Park, Kings Canyon and East and West MacDonnell Ranges.
After visiting Alice Springs and all its attractions, you could drive on to see the Devils Marbles and Katherine Gorge National Park. If you need some budget tips for Australia that will help you save a bit of cash on the road, then here’s one: travel during off-season months. If you take your road trip in the middle of summer, the price of every single attraction is likely going to be higher.
Most stories you heard about dangerous Australian animals will give you chills. However, you’ll see that you don’t have to worry so much about them. Yes, there are many dangerous animals in Australia, but most of them live in the ocean.
The only animals you should be scared of are saltwater crocodiles. But, if you are cautious, there’s nothing to worry about. Stay away from river edges and read warning signs carefully. There are also some types of snakes and spiders. The spider bites are not deadly and snakes won’t attack you if you don’t provoke them.
This is just food for thought before you start your trip. We gave you the most important pointers and reminders we could think of. The rest is up to you: make a list, do the shopping, as well as additional research and you will be fully ready for the unforgettable Outback adventure.