Traveling to Australia’s Outback
The Northern Territory is the third largest state in Australia, the least populated and occupies the northern central part of the country. It is also what many consider to be the “Real Outback”, with dramatic landscapes, abundant wartime heritage, rich aboriginal culture, World Heritage listed Kakadu National park, and Uluru (Ayers Rock).
When traveling to the Outback, it is most common to fly into the city of Alice Springs. Flights from Los Angeles or San Francisco fly non-stop to either Sydney or Brisbane, and then connect on to Alice Springs. The entire travel time takes about 20 hours.
The best times of year to travel to this area are April or September – October, when the weather is typically warm and dry. The climate in the Outback is semi-arid with little rain usually falling during the hottest months, which are from October to March. Central Australia receives less than 250 mm of rain per year.
The city of Alice Springs is surrounded by dramatic red desert, and is referred to by locals as the Capitol of the Outback. Some of the most popular activities include mountain-bike riding, four-wheel driving, trekking along the Larapinta Trail, bush camping and swimming in lush waterholes. Some of the top attractions in Alice Springs are:
Alice Springs Desert Park offers the opportunity to discover many of the secrets of the Central Australian deserts, you even have the option to experience desert habitats as they are at night, including animals, in their nocturnal tour. Open year round, except for Christmas day
Alice Springs Reptile Centre is not very big, but it features over 30 species of reptiles, including snakes, lizards and crocodiles. You can even get up close and have a chance to feed some of them. Live shows run a few times daily. Open year round, except for major holidays.
Larapinta Trail is a 155 mile trail that begins just outside of Alice Springs, and runs through red desert, high mountains, and a national park. It can also be hiked in shorter, more manageable sections.
Approximately 270 miles southwest of Alice Springs is where the most famous attraction in the Northern Territory can be found. Uluru / Ayers Rock is located in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. This famous sandstone monolith stands over 1100 feet high, and is over 500 million years old. The best ways to see this park are via Aboriginal lead walking tours, helicopter tours or on the back of a camel. Make sure not to miss the spectacular Sounds of Silence gourmet dinner under a clear night sky.
For the ultimate journey right through the heart of Australia, take The Ghan train from Alice Springs to Darwin or Adelaide to experience another Australian city.
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