Travelling through the Outback allows you to catch another side of Australia beyond kangaroos and surfing. Vast, remote, and diverse, this rural area is home to unique wildlife and jaw-dropping views. From learning more about Australia's mining history to its aboriginal culture, there is much to see and do in this region. Yet there are a few sights which shouldn't be left off of any Outback itinerary. The following are five of the top destinations to add to your to-do list.
One of Australia's most iconic sights, you can't tour around the Outback without seeing Uluru or Ayers Rock. More than just a massive piece of rock, this natural monument stands an impressive 348m in height and turns a bright shade of crimson at sunset. You'll find Uluru tucked away in Kata Tjuta National Park, in the ancestral home of the Anangu Aboriginal people. Although it may seem remote, you can access this site using even a tiny Skoda at carsales.com.au as the main roads are well-marked and maintained.
2. Coober Pedy
Also known as the "opal capital of the world," Coober Pedy is an interesting stop for anyone who wishes to learn more about Australia's mining history. This town is located in South Australia, just off of the Stuart Highway in the Outback. Due to the blazing daytime sun, Coober Pedy has a number of unique dugout-style homes built below the ground. Visitors can learn more about the opal mining trade and try their hand at locating these precious stones.
3. The Pinnacles
A range of limestone rock formations in Nambung National Park, the Pinnacles are located only a 3 hour's drive to the northwest of Perth. Although they remained obscure to most Australians until the 1960's,they have now become one of the most popular attractions in the Outback.
4. Walls of China
Measuring 30m in height and 26km in length, the ancient Walls of China is a natural formation standing over the ancient Lake Mungo. Although Lake Mungo has been dry for centuries, it's still an impressive sight to stand on these shores for the panoramic view of an ancient lakebed. To protect the somewhat fragile "walls," visitors can tread on manmade boardwalks.
5. Kakadu National Park
Many visitors to Australia arrive to see some of the world's most unique and diverse wildlife. Although you may think of the Outback as being primarily arid and barren, a wide range of species make this their home. The Kakadu National Park is home to over 60 mammal species and 117 different types of reptiles, including the famous frilled lizard. Bird watchers also flock to the park to catch a glimpse of the nearly 300 species of birds, many of which are quite rare. If you're driving into Kakadu, you'll want to be sure to choose a car with all-wheel drive or one capable of off-roading like a Land Rover or Suzuki SX4, as some spots can be rugged.
Because travel in the Outback can be remote and prone to extreme weather conditions, it's important to research your route thoroughly and ensure that you are driving a reliable vehicle. Get your car serviced before leaving and make sure that you have adequate emergency stores of food, water, and first aid supplies in case of a breakdown. With a bit of preparation and care, you can enjoy all of the unique experiences the Outback has to offer.