Welcome to Destination Inspiration, our newest blog series that delves into the best places to see and things to do across our beautiful country.
In this post, Destination Inspiration takes us to the Red Centre and beyond, as we take a look at the best outback destinations in Australia.
Uluru Kata-Tjuta National Park, Northern Territory
You can’t talk about the best places to visit in outback Australia without mentioning Uluru, one of the most sacred sites in all of Australia. Located within the vast Uluru Kata-Tjuta National Park in Yulara, taking in the beauty of this geographical wonder is a must-do, particularly at dawn or sunset, when the rock takes on a vivid red hue.
Being within a national park, there’s also plenty to do around Uluru. Climbing Uluru has been banned since late 2019, but you can still trek the 10-kilometer loop around the rock, hop on a camel for a tour or join a guided walk alongside an Aboriginal bushranger. At night, you can gaze up at the stars thanks to the crystal-clear skies, and you can do it while partaking in an unforgettable outback dining experience.
If you plan to visit Uluru Kata-Tjuta National Park, it’s best to plan your trip in the cooler months between May and October.
Coober Pedy, South Australia
Coober Pedy is a historic mining town and is perhaps best known for being built mostly underground in order to escape the harsh desert heat. This unique setup makes Coober Pedy one of the best outback destinations in Australia, offering attractions such as the Umoona Mine and Museum, an underground museum that tells the history of the town while also boasting the world’s largest opal and opal fossils displays (Coober Pedy is known as the opal capital of the world, after all).
Outside of town, you should take the opportunity to visit Breakaway Conservation Park with its magnificent geological formations that have been featured in Mad Max films. And, if you choose to stay in Coober Pedy, you can do so in one of the many styling subterranean hotels, many of which have earned themselves a four-star rating or higher. Be sure to visit between May and October, to avoid the hottest parts of the year.
Flinders Ranges, South Australia
The perfect getaway for the 4x4 enthusiast, the Flinders Ranges are located around 500 kilometres north of Adelaide and feature 600-million year old landscapes that can be explored on foot or off-road vehicle. Arguably one of the best places to camp in Australia, the Flinders Ranges are also one of the best places to visit in outback Australia, offering local attractions such as a scenic aircraft flight round the incredible Wilpena Pound amphitheatre of mountains, traditional outback pubs where you can sample kangaroo and emu, and self-driving tours such as the Aboriginal Dreaming Trail.
Planning to visit the Flinders Ranges? Go between June and August – it’ll be busy, but the temperatures will be at their best and you won’t get caught out in the rain.
The Simpson Desert, South Australia
Australia has many deserts, but the Simpson Desert is one of the most remote – it has no towns, just a few Aboriginal outstations, and is home to a wide array of birds and other animals amongst the soaring red dunes. Far from desolate, the desert is spotted with oasis such as Purnie Bore, and can boast the best views of the Milky Way in the world.
The Simpson Desert isn’t just one of the best outback destinations in Australia – it’s also one of the most challenging. If you’re planning a crossing, you’ll need a well-prepared 4WD and previous driving experience, since there are hundreds of kilometres between fuel, food and water, and practically nobody around if you experience a breakdown.
Plan your visit between May and July, and don’t forget that the national parks are all closed between December and March (summer).
Lake Eyre, South Australia
This 144 kilometre-long lake is our country’s largest, making it one of the best places to visit in outback Australia. Similar to Death Valley in the US, Lake Eyre is Australia’s lowest point, and has only reached capacity three times in the last 150 years. However, it still fills with water every 10 years or so, thanks to rainfall far away in Queensland and the Northern Territory.
When filled with water, the lake bursts with birdlife; birds from all over Australia will travel to Eyre to breed, making for a spectacular experience. But, when dry, the lake takes on a completely different appearance: a white flat that stretches as far as the eye can see. You can take in more of Lake Eyre from the sky in a scenic flight, or challenge yourself on one of the 4x4 tracks. Accommodation comes in the form of camping.
You’re more likely to catch the lake filled with water in the cooler months. Avoid heading out to Eyre in the summer: temperatures have been known to reach 50°C.
We could go on and on about the best outback destinations in Australia, but we’d be here all day! Be sure to keep an eye out for our next instalment of Destination Inspiration, and get keen for your next Australian adventure.