9 things to do in Outback Australia

Discover memorable things to do in Australia’s “Outback”

The idea of Australia’s “Outback” might conjure up pictures of remote desert. But it is a vast area of about 5.6 million km2 covering more than 70% of the Australian continent including coastline and forests. And the Outback and things to do and see in it are much more diverse than you might expect

The Outback is also rich in culture and history despite its remoteness and sparse population. Aboriginal people make up approximately 25% of the Outback’s population. In total, only around 800,000 – which is 5% of the Australian population – are residents of this special area.

The iconic destination is equivalent to more than half of the United States or Europe in size. It is a huge area, so it can be hard to pinpoint what the must-sees and do’s are. Never fear. We offer many tours that take in parts of the Outback and we’ve identified some key things to do in the Outback for you…

Razorback Lookout at Flinders Ranges National Park

Flinders ranges

The Flinders Ranges are about a 5-hour drive (430 km) north of Adelaide. This national park is home to Wilpena Pound, the extremely diverse Mount Remarkable National Park and the oasis of contrasts that is Innamincka Regional Reserve, among others.

Travelling through here is hard to compare to driving anywhere else in the world. Along the way, you will encounter dramatic and beautiful landscapes formed over 600 million plus years. You’ll also learn from Aboriginal history.

The highest points of the ranges exceed 900 meters (3,000 feet) in altitude. The highest point is found at 1,166 meters (3,825 feet) and is named St. Mary Peak. A challenging circuit hike of 19 km can be completed in 9 hours, if you are feeling adventurous and fit. So, it is a tough journey, but once at the summit, there is a rewarding panoramic view of the Flinders Ranges, Aroona Valley and the salt plains to the west.

Another activity suitable for young and old is a visit to the Blinman Mine. This mine operated from 1862 to 1907 and is now used as a cultural heritage centre. Learn more about minors and their families in the 19th century. You can discover this place on one of their tours.

Scenic flight above Wilpena Pound

Wilpena Pound

Flinders Ranges’ Wilpena Pound is a hidden gem of a destination. Wilpena Pound is 17 km long and 8 km wide making it more lake than pond. With an elevation of 1,171 meters, it sits 300 meters higher than Uluru/Ayers Rock. And its undiscovered nature mean you can enjoy this beautiful place in relative peace.

There is an abundance of walking trails. And native flora and fauna can also be spotted. Wildlife you might see includes 60 different species of lizard (including 18 species of snakes), kangaroos (including the red kangaroo), emus, eagles, and the rare yellow-footed rock wallaby. The wallaby population has recovered after only 40 were found in Flinders Ranges National Park in 1992.

So, there is plenty to see and do here. Take a scenic flight over Wilpena Pound to see how it looks from above and your visit is complete!

Ayers Rock (Uluru)

Ayers Rock was formed around 550 million years ago. It lies within Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park – a remote place in the Red Centre of Australia. Alice Springs, which is the nearest significant town, is 450 km away.

The rock formation is around 863 meters high, and you can do multiple tours or hikes here to explore this magical place. Nearby town Yulara — which is 25 minutes away by car — belongs to one of the most popular places to stay while visiting Ayers Rock. After you explored Ayers Rock, you can come back here and think back on your special day.

Field of Light Uluru

Designed by British artist Bruce Munro, the Field of Light Uluru is a well-known exhibition to visit in Australia. It consists of 50,000 solar-powered lights in the desert. You do need a tour if you want to visit this massive art installation, but it’s totally worth it to experience at sunset or sunrise.

(Want to know more? We delved deeper into the art installation’s history and ways to experience it in describing what need to know about this special art installation and experience.)

Crocodile in Yellow Water

Kakadu National Park

Kakadu National Park is an enormous, biodiverse nature reserve in Australia’s Northern Territory. At 20,000 km2, it is also the largest national park in this country.

From Darwin, it is only 3 hours (304 km) to get to Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre. The centre offers useful information on how to explore the park. Next to that, there is an interesting exhibit that will teach you about the past and the present of the Kakadu area.

In the park, you can be part of a once-in-a-lifetime experience when visiting the lush rainforests, gorges, swimming pools in breath-taking locations and see the oldest indigenous rock art in the world. In for a thrilling activity? Try to spot some of the 20,000 crocodiles living in Yellow Water Billabong from either one of the two platforms or through a tour.

Kata Tjuta (the Olgas)

Kata Tjuta means ‘many heads’ in the language of the local Aboriginal Anangu people. As the name already reveals, there are multiple domes here. The highest of those domes is Mount Olga, which has a height of 1,066 meters. It is a spiritual place where you can learn, through joining a tour, about the region’s sacred history. It doesn’t matter how your level of fitness is, there are more than enough trails for you to discover.

Ghan train

Ghan train

The Ghan is a train that runs between Adelaide and Darwin. Most of the year, the train takes 3 days and 2 nights to travel from the bottom and top of Australia. But the train from Darwin to Adelaide between April and October takes an extra day.

Heading south the train travels from the tropical greens of “The Top End”, through the magical Red Centre, to the South Australian hills and plains. Along the route you can stop in Katherine, Alice Springs and Coober Pedy — the world’s opal mining capital where many residents live underground. There are several types of tickets available. With all tickets, this is truly an unforgettable experience!

City Beach Perth

Indian Pacific train

Another impressive rail journey is the train between Sydney and Perth, the Indian Pacific train. The Train — which is named after the two oceans it journeys between — has been rated as one of the greatest rail journeys in the world. Along the way, you will stop in Blue Mountains, Broken Hill, Adelaide, Cook, Rawlinna and Kalgoorlie

In 4 days and 3 nights this train travels 4352 km to get from the South Pacific Ocean to the Indian Ocean. It all started in 1970 with the first-ever Indian Pacific train ride. In 2022, it is still running and offers a special way of seeing a lot of Australia.

Coober Pedy

Opal capital of the world – Coober Pedy – takes its name from the number of precious opals there are mined here. A small town in northern South Australia, Coober Pedy has become a popular stopover point on the Stuart Highway. This highway runs from Darwin in the Northern Territory to Port Augusta in South Australia. The town is known for its subterranean living and its opal-rich surrounds. Visit the mines, the graveyard and the underground churches. Coober Pedy is a truly unique destination.

Come and see it yourself!

With an area of this size, our Outback things to do are only the beginning of everything that can be experienced in . For more information, the Tourism Australia websitethe Tourism Queensland website and the website of Australia’s Golden Outback can provide you with additional information you might need.

And do you want advice from us? Contact us to get answers to all your questions!