The Australian outback is not all flat, endless plains. The countryside is constantly changing – rainforest, floodplains (and drought plains), ‘jump up’ country, rivers, deserts, sand dunes, and red dust are some of the things you’ll see. Sometimes all within the space of a day’s drive.
Even the name of the deserts conjures up amazing images The Stony Desert, The Painted Desert, and The Moon Desert are only a few of the deserts that you can travel through in outback Australia.
Some of my favourite outback vistas, in no particular order, are:
Sitting at the Parachilna Pub (aka Prairie Hotel), watching the sunset over the wide open plains in front, then turning around to see the purple light on the Flinders Ranges behind. Even on a bad day the sunsets at Parachilna are amazing
Jump up country, outback Queensland
Jump ups is outback Queensland speak for table-top hills, often jutting up in the middle of flat country.
Where else can you watch the sun rise over one sea (Coral Sea/Pacific Ocean), and then watch it set over another (Timor Sea) all while barely moving from your camping spot
East McDonnell Ranges, Northern Territory
I’m not really a mountain person, but the mountains and gorges of the East Macs are stunning. I prefer them to the more popular West Macs, which, while beautiful, are much more populated. You’re much more likely to find an isolated camping spot in the west Macs
Red dust, green vegetation, and big blue skies
This one is at Kata Tjuta, but the colours can be found almost anywhere in the outback
Sitting on the veranda of an outback pub, in the middle of nowhere, watching the sunset. Middleton (aka the pub with no town) is 200km from Boulia one way, and 200km from Winton the other.
Big, big skies
One thing I really love about the wide open spaces, is the big, big skies that go with them. The blue skies during the day are phenomenal, but it is at night that they really come into their own. Anywhere there is no light from towns the night skies are amazing
Sunset in Darwin
During the dry the sunsets in Darwin are amazing reds and golds. But even in the wet, when there is a lot more cloud cover they can be stunning, though completely different to the dry.
The Darling River
Camping anywhere by a river is fabulous – the Barcoo, the Murray, the Thompson, Cooper, and many more, but there’s just something about the Darling River that I love. I sat outside my tent one evening, watching kangaroos come down to drink at the river where I had been swimming earlier. There was not another soul around. It was magic
The floodplains of Kakadu as seen from Ubirr
Kakadu is one of my favourite places, and standing on top of Ubirr, looking out across the floodplains in the wet is an amazing site. And no matter how hot it is on the ground, there is always a cooling breeze on Ubirr.
And all of that is without even mentioning the desert in bloom. After even a little bit of rain, the desert comes to life. It is magnificent.