The further north you travel, the more you’ll
understand that this is a region of
uncommon beauty full of mystery and contrasts.
Whoever said anything north of the Flinders Ranges is nothing but desert and desolation, clearly hasn’t experienced the rugged, breathtaking beauty of this ever-changing region steeped in history and culture, yet alive with a quirkiness that Australians are famous for.
Welcome to a wondrous land that epitomises the Outback. Think stockmen driving cattle, road trains, desert tracks, gibber plains, salt lakes, painted deserts, scorching heat, vast distances, and outback characters who personify that most Australian of compliments, ‘the salt of the earth.’
Yet this is just a minor part of what the Outback is all about.
This extraordinary region is a timeless land of contrasts. Here you can experience rugged beauty in all its forms including mountain ranges, vast open plains, stony deserts, lazy creeks and rivers, billabongs, and wetlands. You’ll also encounter wildlife of all descriptions from sought-after beef cattle, and saltbushfed sheep, to wild brumbies and camels, and native favourites like kangaroos and emus.
There’s also an abundance of birdlife with many species migrating here from thousands of kilometres away.
Outback towns are few and far between, but each is as welcoming as the next with townsfolk going out of their way to help visitors and locals alike. In most, the pub is the meeting place of choice, and the Outback plays host to some of the quirkiest in Australia. The Mungerannie Hotel halfway along the Birdsville Track is acclaimed for its collection of outback memorabilia including hats from locals and locks of hair from its many visitors. The William Creek Hotel is one of the most remote pubs in the world and enjoys legendary status as the only watering hole on the Oodnadatta Track between the Marree Hotel and the Oodnadatta Hotel. Meanwhile, the iconic Innamincka Hotel is unique in that it offers sunset cruises along the Copper Creek when full.
The list of things to do in the region is only limited by your imagination and timetable. Try fossicking for opal and experiencing life underground in Coober Pedy. Have coffee at the Yacht Club Café and check out the ‘moonscape’ surrounds of Andamooka. The Ghan stops twice a week in Marla which also the gateway to the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Lands to the West. Or, experience the welcoming yet outlandish Pink Roadhouse in Oodnadatta.
Marree has a great pub, but you can also book a scenic flight to view the famous Marree Man.
Innamincka is right alongside the majestic Cooper Creek where you can camp on the banks, catch a fat Yellowbelly, paddle a canoe all the way to Cullyamurra Billabong — Australia’s largest billabong, play mini golf, and watch Aussie movies in the hotel’s sunset theatre.
Fancy a feed? The menus in the Outback has something for everyone. What about a ‘Coat of Arms’ pizza featuring smoked kangaroo and emu metwurst from John’s Pizza in Coober Pedy? If that’s not to your palette, pub fare is generous and delicious in every town.
Accommodation options are as vast as the region itself with unique offerings that include underground hotels and apartments, motels, backpackers, bed and breakfasts, caravan parks, farm stays, homesteads, cottages, and cabins. For the more adventurous, camping under the stars in one of the many National Parks will require a desert pass from the local ranger.
There’s so much to see, do, explore, discover and experience in the Outback. Whether you come by land or air, you’ll be tempted to keep coming back. And every time you do, the ever-changing Outback will offer something different.