Because did you even go to Australia if you didn’t get out in the red dust?
A road trip to the centre is undeniably unforgettable, but not just for the iconic landmarks like Uluru and sought after outback sunsets.
As you travel thousands of miles across the country, seeing little more than straight tarmac and termite mounds, you’ll start to question if your mind is playing tricks on you…
…but it turns out some of your best memories from the outback were the weird and wonderful, least expected moments:
King’s Canyon Rim Walk
The 6km King’s Canyon rim walk is said to be at its best at sunrise, not to mention it’s cooler and the flies aren’t awake yet!
We set off just after 5am and no photo will ever do justice to the sunrise we witnessed…
Watch the sun rise and set at Uluru
“Nothing can really prepare you for the immensity, grandeur, changing colour and stillness of ‘the Rock’. It really is a sight that will sear itself on to your mind.”
“Uluru, the equally impressive Kata Tjuta, formerly known as the Olgas, and the surrounding area are of deep cultural significance to the traditional owners, the Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara Aboriginal peoples (who refer to themselves as Anangu)”Lonely Planet
The phenomenal presence of this erupting mass among barren, open bushland is undeniable as is understanding why the rock has been seen as sacred, to the indigenous community who once roamed and lived beneath it.
Veg out on the Stuart Highway
An icon in its own right.
You can’t quite appreciate this never-ending stretch of tarmac until you drive it… and drive it… and drive it, for days.
John McDouall Stuart led the first successful expedition across the Australian mainland from south to north and returned in 1861–1862.
His route became “the track”, then eventually, an entire team and their families spent years living and moving along the route, until the tarmac road we see today was completed.
The Royal Flying Doctor Service uses the highway as an emergency landing strip and sections of it literally turn into a run way!
One of the first thing you’ll notice in the bush, is the insane night sky. From the comfort of our rooftop bed we drifted off to the sight of the Milky Way above us…
Because did you even go on an outback road trip if you didn’t have to squat somewhere on the journey?
And let’s be honest… the only one watching is likely to be a camel, emu or a dozen flies.
Visit an alien road house
Somewhere between Alice and Darwin you’ll pass a lone roadhouse with a supernatural theme.
It’s said Wycliffe Well is the UFO centre of Australia…
Apparently there have been UFO sightings there – and then some guy saw a money-making opportunity and went to town on the place… today it’s pretty tattered and run down. If you ask me, it adds to eerie effect.
Check out the eerie missiles at Woolmera
Worth a pit stop on your journey along the Stuart Highway is Woomera.
The artificial town was created in 1947, for a ‘cold-war’ project between the British and Australian governments. Here they developed and tested long-range weapons systems – basically firing them into the middle of the outback.
Many Aboriginal people were moved from their traditional lands for the prohibited area.
Eat a fly (unintentionally)
The flies in the outback are unlike anything I have ever experienced.
The closer to the Red Centre you get, the more dense the flies become.
Be sure to purchase a head net… (forget fashion)… or prepare to eat a fly or ten…
Burnt out shells of cars stand eerily on the rubble as the sky glowed fiery colours on the horizon of this ghostly mining town, Coober Pedy.
The opal rush brought westerners in search of fortune to the outback in the the early 1900s.
Battling intense desert heat many took to living underground and 80 percent of the town still call these cave-like bunkers home today.
After an epic outback sunset we spent the night in an underground motel for the real Coober experience.
Drive on unsealed roads
If you’ve got a 4WD and feeling the urge to enjoy some of that red dust, there’s a great unsealed road from the Canyon to Alice.
To take the Mereenie Loop Road you need to buy a permit from the fuel station at King’s Canyon first, and check the conditions of the road before you set off.
We took this route after our morning hike and made it to Alice by early evening – and safe to say we took our time for our 20-year-old suspension’s sake.