Outback South Australia
The further north you travel, the more you’ll understand that the South Australian Outback is a region of exceptional beauty, charisma, and unforgettable experiences that can't be found anywhere else in the world.
The local communities are thriving with a quirkiness that is unique to Australia. The iconic remote towns are steeped in history and culture, and the outback hospitality is unbeatable.
Breathe a little deeper, settle into outback time and feel the daily grind disappear behind you. Let the expansive scenery unfold in front of you and prepare to be delighted by the Outback's mystery, contrasts and character.
Once you hit these wide open roads, you will understand why people who love the Outback, are really in love with the Outback.
Spectacular outback scenery
The South Australian Outback is home to awe-inspiring beauty, from mountain ranges, vast open plains and stony deserts to lazy creeks and rivers, billabongs, and wetlands.
Take a scenic flight with Wrightsair to see the Anna Creek Painted Hills, the stunning rock formations in colours you would never have expected to find in Australia.
Discover an oasis in the desert in the Witjira National Park. Dalhousie Springs is the largest complex of artesian springs in Australia, where you can enjoy swimming in one-million-year-old waters at a constant 37°C.
The Innamincka Regional Reserve includes the majestic Cooper Creek. Take a sunset cruise in the pristine beauty of Channel Country, or set up camp and fish for yellowbelly. Paddle a canoe all the way along Cullyamurra Waterhole, Australia’s largest billabong and a significant and special place for the Traditional Owners, the Yandruwandha Yawarrawarrka People.
The beauty is also hidden far underground with an abundance of opal, Australia’s National Gemstone. Go noodling for your own opal at Coober Pedy or Andamooka, where you may even find rare opalised dinosaur fossils like Karkaroo, the Andamooka Plesiosaur.
Famous outback pubs
Outback towns are few and far between, but each is as welcoming as the next. The pub is usually 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. Experience the welcoming yet outlandish Pink Roadhouse in Oodnadatta and stop by William Creek Hotel, one of the most remote pubs in the world.
Marree has a great pub, where you can also book a scenic flight to view the famous Marree Man.
Stop by the Innamincka Hotel for a beautiful pub meal and a drink in the Outamincka Bar. Catch an outdoor movie, a round of mini golf, or spend a few nights in a comfy motel room while you explore Channel Country and learn about the ill-fated expedition of Burke and Wills.
Camping in the outback
There are some great camping spots and visitor facilities at 3 O’Clock Creek, Dalhousie Springs, Purni Bore, and Mount Dare. The Mount Dare Hotel offers fuel, accommodation, some supplies and an airstrip.
If visiting the Witjira National Park and Simpson Desert Reserves for the first time, it’s recommended you travel west to east to take advantage of the gentler upslope to most dunes. You will also need to purchase a Desert Parks Pass.
There are a long list of magical places to camp in the Outback, but visitors need to be prepared. See the Aussie Travel Code for information on safe, respectful travel.
Events in outback South Australia
Check out the vibrant events calendar that attracts thousands of revellers to unforgettable outback events.
The Outback races season kicks off with the Oodnadatta Races and Gymkhana, followed by the Marree Camel Cup and the iconic Birdsville Races.
The Big Red Bash is the world's most remote music festival, attracting 10,000 people to Birdsville and the Simpson Desert. For more fantastic performances, 500 Miles of Music visits Wombat Flat, Wilmington, Leigh Creek and William Creek.
Rallies, rodeos and marathons also run throughout the year. The usual schedule may have been impacted by COVID-19, but it takes more than a pandemic to keep the Outback down.
Events continue to run when it is safe to do so.
Need more help?
Get in touch with the Visitor Information Centres located across the Outback. The friendly staff can help you with local recommendations, advise on permits and passes, and provide any other assistance you need to have a great trip.