5 Must Visit Places in Outback Australia
Author Inspiring Journeys
Date 11 Mar 2020
Australia is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, with Outback Australia the real beating heart of the Great Southern Land. Ideal for solo adventures, romantic getaways, or group trips, the Outback is steeped in cultural significance and full of amazing natural delights. If you're keen to get off the beaten track, Outback Australia offers lots of unique and inspiring journeys to enjoy.
Why you should visit the Australian Outback
Outback Australia is an extremely large and largely undefined area that includes the entire vast interior of the Australian continent. While most Australians live in cities that hug the coastline, and the suburbs surrounding these areas, the Outback extends well beyond these regions into the mostly unpopulated and largely arid interior.
The Outback offers a diverse array of beautiful and unspoilt adventure destinations. Stretching from the Northern Territory to South Australia, and from the majestic West to the heartland of NSW and Queensland, this huge area offers the most unique and iconic part of the Australian experience. Older than time itself and incomparable with the rest of the world, the Australian Outback offers travellers a truly authentic and life-changing experience.
Best Places to Visit in Outback Australia
Due to the sheer size of the Outback, there are countless vistas to experience and places to enjoy. Larger than most entire nations and impossible to cross in one go, the unfathomable size of the Outback demands a little foresight and planning. Wandering the Australian interior and making it up as you go is simply not an option, with a considered approach needed if you want to see the most important sites.
We have done some of the hard work for you, with the following five spots absolutely essential for anyone who wants to discover the real heart of Australia.
Kakadu National Park
Kakadu National Park is an awe-inspiring destination located in the heart of the Northern Territory. Despite being one of the largest and most pristine natural places on this list, this protected area is also one of the most accessible. Kakadu is located 171km south of Darwin, the capital of the Northern Territory. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is roughly the size of some sovereign nations, such as Slovenia, extending 200km from north to south and over 100km from east to west.
Kakadu National Park is an ecologically and biologically diverse location full of multiple river systems, floodplains, escarpments, and an amazing range of wildlife. The diversity and purity of the natural environment is a major drawcard for visitors, with places like Gunlom Falls putting smiles on faces both young and old. Inspiring Journeys helps visitors to discover untamed waterfalls, extensive wetlands, ancient Aboriginal culture, and amazing Dreamtime artwork.
Roughly half the land in Kakadu is Aboriginal land, some of which is leased by the traditional owners to Australian National Parks. Along with its breathtaking beauty, Kakadu is the perfect place to learn about Aboriginal Dreaming and culture. The Burrungkuy rock art site has been used by local people for thousands of years to record their stories and history. If you want to learn more about Aboriginal culture and their strong spiritual connection to the land, Kakadu National Park is the perfect destination. Kakadu's Ancient Secrets by Inspiring Journeys is the perfect five-day tour for anyone who wants to explore and discover the secrets of this ancient land.
Uluru (Ayers Rock)
Uluru, sometimes known by its European name Ayers Rock, holds a special geographical and spiritual place in the centre of Australia. Uluru is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the world's largest monolith. Located 450km southwest of Alice Springs by road, Uluru is a remote destination in the southern part of the Northern Territory.
The landmark is roughly oval in shape and has a circumference of almost 10km. While this 348-metre high rock was once climbed by tourists, this practice was outlawed in 2019 out of respect for the local Aboriginal people. You can still hike around the rock to enjoy its majesty in full, with the land around the formation also home to a number of waterholes, rock caves, and ancient paintings.
The site is sacred to the traditional owners, and the cultural centre near the base of the monolith introduces visitors to Aboriginal Dreaming and society. Uluru is an iconic and highly popular Outback tourist destination and the perfect place to learn about the unique geography and culture that define this amazing land.
Kings Canyon is a great Outback destination for people who want to go beyond the wonders of Kakadu and Uluru. Located in the Northern Territory within the Watarrka National Park, Kings Canyon lies about 323km southwest of Alice Springs along Larapinta Drive. 440 million years in the making, Kings Canyon offers an experience like no other.
The area's topography has been forged through layers of sandstone and hard shale, with weather and time itself slowly creating domes and plateaus along with natural rock pools. Above all else, the Canyon is a place to appreciate the wonders of nature and contemplate the endless expanse of time and space that define so much of the Australian Outback.
The walls of Kings Canyon are over 100 metres high, with three different walks available for those who want to explore and go deeper. Along with the majesty of the land itself, this area features an abundance of birdlife and some of the best photo opportunities in the country. While you can enjoy the Canyon with the blessing of the traditional owners, part of the gorge is a sacred Aboriginal site that visitors are discouraged from visiting. Inspiring Journeys offers Outback Contrasts - a journey to the centre, a unique five-day tour for anyone who wants to discover the wonders of this ancient land.
Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge
The Nitmiluk Gorge, also known as ‘Katherine Gorge’ is a deep gorge by the Katherine River. It is located 30km from Katherine and can be explored via foot, canoe, boat and even helicopter. Throughout the gorge, there is rock art displaying dreamtime stories, which provide rich cultural value on Aboriginal heritage. The Nitmiluk Gorge is made up from 13 different gorges, with rapids following the Katherine River and constantly changes throughout the year. Throughout the year, you may spot freshwater crocodiles, however as the gorge transitions into the wet season, you may also be able to spot saltwater crocodiles as they enter the gorge.
To inform tourists, there is a visitor centre that is located at the Katherine Gorge, that can help you point out the points of interest that are a must visit during your trip. For those that want to explore Nitmiluk Gorge a bit closer, a helicopter ride, canoeing or a cruise is the perfect way to explore the vast magnificence of this area.
West MacDonnell Ranges Park
The Tjoritja West MacDonnell Ranges is a spectacular national park that covers over 161km and is located in the west of Alice Spring. The park’s scenic, waterholes and beautiful gorges like Standley Chasm or Simpsons Gap were sculpted by the climate and weather overtime. It is home to numerous endangered and rare plants and animals, including the Orchre Pits. This national park contains numerous permanent water holes and marked walking trails, making it the perfect spot for a short daytrip or a week of outback exploration.
In fact, there is more to the Tjoritja West MacDonnell National Park than its natural scenery. Throughout, the 161km area, there are many significant locations that contain important Aboriginal art. Tourists can take a guided and self-guided tour throughout this vast area and witness the outback sunrise, sunset and starry night sky.
About Inspiring Journeys
Inspiring Journeys helps people discover the infinite wonders of the Australian Outback. If you're looking for an authentic way to explore the rugged nature and connect with the ancient culture of this breathtaking land, we offer the friendly guiding hand of an expert. From Kakadu through the red centre to Uluru and beyond, our bespoke group journeys will inspire your imagination and uplift your wandering soul.