The Outback of Australia has no real bounds. There is no border line of when it starts and ends; the general rule is that the Outback lies outside in the rural zones. In Australia, you could say that the Outback is the majority of the country.
The draw of the Outback would be the wide open spaces, contrasting landscapes, the red dirt, clear blue skies, the wildlife and so on. You can drive across the Nullarbor or take the Indian Pacific and the Ghan. You can sleep out under the stars, or you can revel in the surroundings with the massive Ayers Rock in the distance.
Driving in the Outback
Driving in the outback is an experience that puts a traveler in touch with the true size of the country. You can drive for hours on end and still be in the same state, and you can drive for hundreds of miles without the passing of another soul. This is a task that should never be taken lightly given the harsh conditions of the inner land of Australia.
Some tips for driving in the outback include:
- Avoid driving at dusk or dawn as that’s when kangaroos and other wildlife become active.
- Stop and take breaks to avoid driver fatigue. Take turns when possible.
- Watch the tank and plan your petrol stops in advance.
- Keep a spare tire and other spare parts on-hand.
- Stock up on water. It gets hot in the Outback, so if you break down, you will need to stay hydrated.
Read more in the driving in Australia page.
As barren as the Outback may seem, life still thrives in its hot, dry climate. Camels, for one, roam freely in the Outback, in large numbers. In fact, recent years have seen bit issues with these camel groups invading small towns and tearing up buildings in search of water. This incident led to a large culling of some camels (you can also find camel meat on menus in the Outback).
Kangaroos have made the entire country of Australia home. The big reds can be found in the red dirt sections for better camouflage. Dingoes roam freely, and there is even a wild horse, the brumby, that can be spotted from time to time.
Some of the world’s deadliest snakes make the Outback their home, such as the Taipan. Add to that list, scorpions, spiders and crocodiles.
Famous Outback Towns
Coober Pedy would be considered the most famous Outback town, known especially for the fact that people live there underground. This opal mining town is in the northern part of South Australia, usually made a stop when traveling towards Alice Springs.
Kalgoorlie made a name for itself in Western Australia as a gold mine. It today holds the Super Pit, a gold mining venture on a massive scale. You can pay Kalgoorlie a quick visit as part of a whistle stop tour on the Indian Pacific.
Alice Springs, located in the Northern Territory, is one of the larger Outback towns that people will often visit en route to Ayers Rock.
Broken Hill is known as the accessible Outback of New South Wales. It may be in the same state as Sydney, but you will either drive for 15+ hours to the west, or ride for a night on the Indian Pacific train to get there. Read more in the Broken Hill Travel Guide.