Outback

Overview

Introduction

The vast and mostly desolate interior of Australia (roughly three-quarters of the country) is often referred to as the Outback. The most visited sites are Uluru, Alice Springs, Broken Hill, Coober Pedy, Kalgoorlie and the Kimberley, as well as the scenic mountains and salt flats of the Flinders Ranges in South Australia (great for trekking).

There are a number of ways to tour the Outback. The easiest is to fly to Alice Springs and use it as a base for exploring the area as part of a tour. You can also take a train. Sleeper cars offer stunning views and casual comfort on the Indian-Pacific line, which runs between Perth and Sydney, or the Ghan line, which stretches between Adelaide and Darwin through its former endpoint of Alice Springs.

Experienced travelers can also rent cars or camper vans and drive the country's sealed roads and dirt tracks—be aware that filling stations and repair shops are few and far between. Favorite routes include the Birdsville and Oodnadatta Tracks (both begin near Uluru).

For a unique view of the Outback, try an Aborigine-led tour or one of the mail runs to remote cattle stations and communities (most depart from Coober Pedy, Alice Springs, Cairns and Port Augusta). If you want to get your hands dirty and see the Outback from a local's point of view, you can arrange to spend a few nights at a working sheep or cattle station.

Remember that during summer (November-March), temperatures can be extremely high in the Outback and increase the farther north you go.

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