Student Travel Must-Do: Camping in the Australian Outback

March 26, 2010

Uluru: The Monolith Formerly Known As Ayres Rock

Previously on my Student Travel Must-Do List:

1. La Tomatina in Buñol, Spain

2. Volunteer Abroad

And now: Camping in the Australian Outback

This is one that I’ve actually done already, so I’m confident in saying that it’s an experience you’ll love.

There’s really no bad part of Australia to see, just parts that are more difficult to get to. When I was in Sydney, almost all of the Aussies I met insisted that I couldn’t go home until I’d seen the red dirt. “It’s the real Australia,” they told me. “It’s like another planet,” other travellers said.

I joined a tour group and travelled from Adelaide to Alice Springs over a few days and found that they were both right. The landscape is beyond foreign, and the wildlife you encounter, often dead on the side of the road, is like nothing you’ll see in a zoo.

Because the middle of the country is so far, and so dry, the small towns that exist there are made up of the most rugged and hearty individuals. Our group spent one night in Parachilna, population: 8. There’s a hotel/pub and a hostel there for people passing through, but nothing else.

It might sound dull, but you get enough backpackers in the middle of nowhere – with no neighbors to bother, no lights to spoil your view of the stars and nowhere else to go – and you’ll be amazed at what a good time you can have.

The Red Center is also where you can find some of the most authentic Aboriginal cultural experiences and really get a feeling for what life was like before Western culture moved in.

Travel CUTS can hook you up with an Outback tour and help you figure out how to build it in to the rest of your trip. From Alice Springs you could go up to Darwin to check out the massive termite hills (they’re freaky big), or swing up to Cairns and do a little sailing.

All of Australia is open to you, so dive on in!


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