The Australian outback is possibly one of the most overlooked parts of the world. It is home to some of the rarest species of animals and is the setting for nature’s true untouched beauty. Anyone visiting down under should make it essential to explore these vast plains.
A certified world heritage site, Ayers rock or ‘Uluru’ is a natural wonder. Geologically called an inselberg, this mountain phenomenon rises from the floor of the outback much like an island way out at sea and is known to change colour depending on the time of day. Its wildlife consists of black rock wallabies, possums, pythons, and the only mammal on this earth listed as vulnerable, the mulgara.
Climbing Uluru isn’t prohibited; however, the local indigenous people believe it is sacred and prefer visitors not to scale up and down. Interestingly enough some parts of the rock are also requested not to be photographed as they are deemed privately magical.
Alice Springs or more commonly referred to as ‘Alice’ is a popular choice for those holidaying in Oz. Located in central Australia or ‘the red centre,’ this hidden paradise has become a thriving little town with all types of activities and services available for the tourist. Built with the help of a few imported camels around 1980, Alice Springs is now as equipped as any town could be.
Accessible by the Ghan railway, many use it as a comfortable ‘base’ to explore the surrounding areas; however, the town itself is quite intriguing. There is a reptile centre, which houses many of Australia’s wonderful creatures. If fauna is more your thing then take a trip to the Olive Pink botanical garden. Opened in 1985, the garden includes over 450 native plants of which 30 are rare species. Due to there not being much rainfall in this part of Australia, this botanical garden is extremely individual.
However, topping the list for most tourists is the Araluen cultural precinct. An artistic centre that reflects the local history and modern life of Alice Springs through beautiful sculptures and paintings, this tourist favourite is always reported as a favourite.
Coober Pedy is perhaps one of the most rural towns on the continent. Situated in Northern Australia about 900 miles from Adelaide, it is home to scorching hot temperatures. With a population of just under 2000 people, Coober is widely renowned for its vast amount of opals that are mined there. However, the reason many visit this ‘in the middle of nowhere’ destination is much more interesting.
Due to the daytime weather being unbearable, locals have developed homes and a small town built into the hills. These caves run underground and residencies are just as equipped as any home above ground. They include bedrooms, a living room, bathroom, and even kitchens. In addition, bills such as air conditioning and central heating are pleasantly avoided.
The golf course is also very innovative. It is completely free of grass but has everything a normal run would have, such as a 10 hole course, bunkers and even buggies. A small piece of turf is carried around by each player enabling them to ‘tee off’ wherever they need to. Due to the daily heat, golf is played at night with, yes, glow in the dark reflectors and golf balls.
Known for its adventure type qualities, the Katherine region is full of exciting things to do. Its beautiful scenery and running river make it the perfect spot for those who wish to explore and take in its natural wonder by canoe. As the river is quite calm this makes it easy to do even for the less experienced.
Fishing is also extremely popular and guided tours can be taken on the Daly River that homes some huge barramundi fish.
Cattle station stays are great fun for all the family. You get to see how the animals help residents in everyday life and many activities are incorporated for the children.
Hiking or bush walking is a must in Katherine. Day walks are available for those who do not have much time but they can stretch over 6 days. The most challenging of these is the Jatbua trail. It is a 60km trek and starts from Katherine Gauge all the way to Edith Falls. Many people choose Jatbua as tucked away on this walk is some ancient aboriginal hieroglyphics. To top it off there is nothing quite like sleeping among all this natural history and beauty only to be covered by a ceiling of twinkling stars.
This article was written by Misty Angel on behalf of Kimberley camping tours specialists, Kimberley Tours. Misty Angel is a keen traveller with a whole host of top tips for those interested in seeing the world.