Going Walkabout: Australia's Best Outback Landscapes
Australia's Best Outback Landscapes -
For thousands of years Australians have been going walkabout in the Bush: venturing into the great unknown, hoping to master the land and discover themselves. Whether it's back-packers supplementing their income by fruit-picking, Aborigines on a spiritual journey, or tourists hoping to see dingoes, emus and koala bears, the Outback draws in all sorts.
Here are some of the very best outback adventures available to you in this sunburnt country of sweeping plains and sapphire misted mountains.
You may know this immense sandstone rock formation in Australia's vast Northern Territory by the name Ayer's Rock, but for generations before Europeans arrived here the monolith was known as Uluru. This is one of Australia's most iconic natural wonders, and has proven a favourite for rock-climbers and hikers over the years, though nowadays you are best advised to appreciate it from a slight distance. This is because the 1,142 foot high rock is said to harbour the spirits of the Anangu, the traditional landowners of this region.
One of Australia's hidden gems, the Gawler Range is a group of mountains over 1.5 billion years in the making. Formed from raw granite and shaped in a stepped, flute formation, the hills here are not dissimilar from Northern Ireland's Giant's Causeway, only on a far larger scale. The deserts and charred landscapes in this part of South Australia are perfect for safari holidays
, with much of Australia's famed wildlife, from emus and cockatoos to koala bears and kangaroos, visible here.
Great Ocean Road
Not all epic adventures into the Australian Outback need to venture into the depths of the interior, for Australia also boasts a pristine 15,534 miles of coastline, with every type of shore, from golden beach to rocky cliffs and tropical rainforest. Perhaps the most spectacular stretch of coast exists in the state of Victoria, known nationally as the Great Ocean Road. This dramatic 151 mile drive skirts the top of sheer cliffs, bends around windswept beaches and careers through dry brush. When looking out to sea you can cast your eyes upon migrating whales, native penguins and the remarkable limestone rock formations known as the Twelve Apostles. The smooth roads here are ideal for a car or motorcycle journey, but it is possible to enjoy cycling holidays
along this cinematic thoroughfare.
Bungle Bungle Ranges
The unique name perhaps suggests the odd and distinctive shape of the Bungle Bungle range, but nothing can really prepare you for seeing these geological protrusions close up. Rising some 300 metres from the dry scrub and sands of the Purnululu National Park, the ranges are beehive shaped, and come striped in varying colours of red and brown, giving a distinctive, painted, look to the sandstone towers. Though the immediate area surrounding the Bungle Bungle Ranges is quite arid and desolate, the ranges themselves have created a micro-climate, and hidden within the midst of the mounds are thriving forests of palm tree and eucalyptus.
Appearing like a cross between Cape Town's Table Mountain and Australia's very own Uluru, Mount Trafalgar is a stunning mountain attraction in its own right. The large sandstone mesa plateau towers over the surrounding landscape and is even visible from the Kimberley Coast. However, this region is so remote that no roads pass through the leafy hills, making Mount Trafalgar accessible only via a boat trip and a lengthy walk or, for those with a bit more cash to spend, a helicopter ride from Broome.
Biog: John is a travel writer with a passion for the great Australian outdoors, and has enjoyed cycling holidays and city breaks on the world's largest island.Photo by jwbenwell on Flickr
Photo by nosha on Flickr
Photo by dfinnecy on Flickr
Photo by a.miens on Flickr