Nothing says Australia quite like our Outback. The open spaces that seem to stretch on forever tell the story of the exploration and development of our wide brown land, and reflect Australia’s pioneering spirit and unique identity. You can find a little bit of the outback in every state of Australia, and while the regions are remote, they can be easily accessed from most major cities and towns.
From challenging four wheel drive adventures to sprawling cattle stations of more than a million hectares and from rugged mountain ranges and spectacular gorges to the longest stretch of straight railway track in the world, the Australian Outback symbolises the essence of Australia.
The story of the Flinders Ranges began 800 million years ago when an ancient seabed rose to create a furrowed landscape where deep valleys drop away into sheltered creeks lined with river red gums. The Flinders Ranges is big – and big on adventure. Cycle the historic 900 kilometre Mawson Trail, or hike the Heysen Trail, one of South Australia’s longest walking trails. Alternatively follow the Explorer’s Way, one of the world's greatest drives.
At its centre is the natural amphitheatre of Wilpena Pound, best experienced on a trek to its rim or hot air balloon flight. At Brachina Gorge, you can see the place that led scientists to redefine the history of life on earth. It is also home to one of the world’s oldest cultures. A rich Aboriginal heritage gives a spiritual meaning to the surrounding physical features, told through stories which have been passed down through generations for tens of thousands of years.
Queensland’s Gulf Savannah region extends from the Great Dividing Range in the east to the Northern Territoryborder in the west. It is a country of golden grasslands abounding with wildlife, mining heritage, great rivers and stunning landscapes. You can dig for gems, fish for barramundi, view an incredible array of wildlife and experience the heritage of frontier towns.
The Savannah Way, one of Australia’s greatest adventure drives, provides an opportunity to really get off the beaten track. The 3700 kilometre route links Cairns in Tropical North Queensland with the historic pearling town of Broome in Western Australia’s Kimberley, via the natural wonders of Australia’s tropical savannahs and the Northern Territory’s Top End.
Often referred to as the ‘accessible outback', Outback New South Wales is not just a destination but a journey through time, history, cultures, and spirituality. The town of Broken Hill, also known as 'The Silver City', in the far-western corner of the state, is around 1200 kilometres from Sydney. It is the largest centre in Outback New South Wales and the gateway to the New South Wales Outback. Not only home to dingoes, dust and desert peas, here you will find the home of Australia’s famous Royal Flying Doctor Service along with a rich slice of Australia’s mining history.
Travel south and see the remains of Mungo Man and Mungo Woman that date back 40000 years atMungo National Park in the Willandra Lakes World Heritage Area. A few hundred kilometres north of Broken Hill, tiny Tibooburra is the essence of an outback town, and the most isolated town in the state. East of Broken Hill, visit the corrugated iron and timber Royal Hotel in Tilpa, a real bush pub where you will meet some colourful characters. To the south is the Lower Darling and Murrumbidgee region. Venture north into Corner Country, where the borders of New South Wales, South Australiaand Queensland join and you’ll discover what Outback Australia is all about.
Parched Mallee soils, fertile wetlands and ancient lunar landscapes are the hallmarks of the accessible wilderness of the Mildura and Murray Outback region. Divided into five distinct areas, the Mallee outback terrain is stark and subtle. It is a stark contrast to Mildura’s verdant farmlands, where the majestic Murray River forms the border betweenVictoria and New South Wales.
Spend relaxing days on the river in an historic paddle steamer; or explore the reserves and wetlands in a canoe. Beyond the lush riverbanks you can explore the stunning pink lakes, sand dunes, billabongs and wetlands on foot or four wheel drive. Discover the wildlife and Aboriginal heritage of the world's largest river red gum forest and see the deserts of Wyperfield National Park erupt in bloom in spring.
The Northern Territory’s outback contains an assortment of quirky pubs, fascinating characters, enduring landscapes and endless stories. Journey through the Simpson and Tanami Deserts, West MacDonnell Ranges or along the Savannah Way for a taste of the true outback experience. Visit Australia’s physical and spiritual heart at Alice Springs, one of Australia’s most famous outback towns and the gateway to Uluru and Kata Tjuta National Park.
Follow the Explorer’s Way to Tennant Creek, 500 kilometres to the north or join a muster cattle station at one of the Northern Territory’s historic homesteads. Experience one of the world’s great train journeys, from one edge of the continent to the other on The Ghan between Adelaide, Alice Springs and Darwin. Watch as the surrounding landscape changes from red to gold as it passes through steep escarpments, savannah woodlands and the lush tropical monsoon rainforests of the far north.
There are some places that are larger than life, and The Kimberley is one of them. Less than 25000 people live in this remote north-western corner of Australia. It is a rough and rugged, but breathtakingly beautiful place, with jagged mountain ranges, spectacular gorges, beautiful waterfalls, serene billabongs, ancient rock art galleries and wild uninhabited wilderness.
Go four wheel driving on the 660 kilometre Gibb River Road; or the Savannah Way, from Broome toKununurra. Take a scenic flight over the extraordinary ancient rock formations of the Bungle Bungles and spectacular Mitchell and Horizontal Falls. Swim in the coral gardens and abundant marine life of the Rowley Shoals. Paddle a canoe and fish for barramundi the Ord River, keeping an eye out for the crocodiles. For a true taste of the distinctive outback lifestyle of the Kimberley, visit during the Ord Valley Muster, a two week cattle rounding festival held each year in May.
Lake Eyre, in the Lake Eyre National Park around 700 kilometres north of Adelaide, is an extraordinary oasis in the harsh South Australian outback. The Lake Eyre Basin covers an astonishing 1 million square kilometres and crosses the borders of South Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland.
Lake Eyre itself, which is actually two lakes connected by a channel, is 144 km long and 77 km wide. It’s the largest salt lake in Australia, but one that is rarely filled with water. The Lake Eyre region is also the driest and lowest geographical point in Australia.
The traditional owners of the Lake Eyre region, the Arabana people, have lived in the Lake Eyre Basin for thousands of years. The lake continues to be an important cultural site for Aboriginal people. Lake Eyre was named after explorer Edward John Eyre, the first European to see it in 1840. In the mid-1880s, many new settlers began farming in the area. One of these farms, Anna Creek, is now the largest cattle property in Australia.