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Australia and New Zealand

Australian Outback Adventure

May 8, 2019
Uluru rock formations

Visiting the Outback is an extremely special and rare experience – so much of Australia is truly another world it is so remote. You can rent a car and explore on your own, but I don’t really recommend it. Traveling with a tour or group is a lot safer as you can break down in extreme temperatures and not see another vehicle for hours. Outback Australia also uses the Royal Flying Doctors Service and there aren’t regular hospitals, urgent cares or even doctors offices. Things are so different in the Australian Outback: after a few weeks I was so sick of flies I could hardly bear to be outside. People are constantly waving in front of their face because large black flies persistently swarm around you unlike anywhere else I’ve ever been (including Alabama and Louisiana in August). However, the chance to interact with Aboriginal people and see amazing canyons and wilderness is definitely worth it. Since my trip I have met Australians who have never been to the Outback and tell me that I’ve seen more of Australia than they have.

Aboriginal artists

Aboriginal artists (photo credit to my friend Rita)

Alice Springs
I flew here from Cairns after exploring Australia’s east coast. This is sort of the gateway to the Northern Territory Australian Outback and a larger town – great place to stock up on supplies. There’s a lot of Aboriginal art galleries here. We visited the nearby Walpiri Aboriginal community where they taught us to throw a boomerang and we got to try bush tucker (native flora and fauna) and purchase art. Be sure to ask before taking any photos of Aboriginal people as they are very shy and some follow cultural beliefs about not being permanently recorded in an image.

tents in campground

Swag night turned into camping in tents

Kings Creek Station
Originally we were supposed to sleep under the stars in a swag but after setting up camp and turning in there was a major thunderstorm. We ended up staying in small tent-cabins, but it was still a really great experience to stay in the great outdoors. Camping is also a great way to reduce costs when traveling in Australia. If you’re interested in long-term road trips, this family recorded how much they spent traveling for 12 months.

King's Canyon view

King’s Canyon

Girl hiking in Kings Canyon Australia

King’s Canyon
This is Australia’s version of the Grand Canyon and it is breathtaking. The hikes are strenuous and I drank a ton of water but got gorgeous photos. Be careful of getting too close to the edge though, when we visited we heard that a tourist had fallen to her death just a few weeks prior. It takes a few hours for the medics from Royal Flying Doctors to reach you so it is better safe than sorry. Besides with a little caution you can still reach remarkable vantage points as hardly anything is fenced off.

Uluru rock sunset toast

Sunset bubbly toast to Uluru

girl riding camel

Did you know there are 70k wild camels in Australia? You can ride domestic ones in Yulara near Uluru

Uluru
We spent a few days here as there’s a lot to do at this super sacred site. First we hiked through Kata Tjuta (Uluru’s sister site). The next day we wanted enough time for a long walk through Uluru listening to all the dreamtime stories associated with the huge rock formation. We woke up early for a sunrise photo op at Ayers Rock, but I recommend going for sunset instead. My photos were the best at this time and there were a lot of people toasting the sunset with a glass of sparkling wine.

waterfall

We stopped at a lot of smaller places along the way to Katherine Gorge and Kakadu National Park: Tennant Creek’s rock formation the Devil’s Marbles, Wycliffe Well for UFOs, the historic Daly Waters pub and the Mataranka thermal pools and Edith Falls.

croc boat ride

Looking for crocs

hot springs

Devil's Marbles rock formation

Devil’s Marbles rock formation

Kakadu National Park and Darwin
This park is huge and they go to a lot of steps to keep visitors safe among the wildlife (unfortunately this includes tracking and killing aggressive Crocodiles). We did take a boat ride where we got to see a lot of Crocs in the wild. This area is also home to Nourlangie Rock which features Aboriginal rock art.

craft beer bar

Awesome craft beer joint in Darwin

Darwin is a super tropical humid city, just walking around I often felt faint (it was about 41C). There’s a lot of military history chronicled in the local museums. You can also swim with 15-foot saltwater crocs in the Cage of Death at Crocosaurus Cove. Normally I wouldn’t recommend anything zoo-like but it was a cool experience to see these creatures up close and they get to live out their life unlike a lot of crocs in the wild. After finishing my tour of the Australian Outback I hopped on a plane from down under to New Zealand.


  • Reply
    Eunice Tan
    July 15, 2019 at 3:49 pm

    This is such a fabulous experience! The landscapes are so varied from place to place and I’m pretty sure the locals are right – you’ve definitely seen more of the country than most of them did! The cage of death is way too scary; I’ll probably never try it.

    • Reply
      Erin Parker
      May 4, 2020 at 2:58 am

      Your Outback experience sounds amazing! We are so lucky to have such variety in our country.

  • Reply
    Jane Dempster-Smith
    July 16, 2019 at 7:01 am

    I would not dare to get that close to a crocodile – what an amazing photo. You really got to see a lot of the outback – a lot more than us Australians have seen. Uluru and the surrounds have been on my travel list for ages and I would love to hear the traditional stories of the Aborigines. Their colourful paintings are so beautiful.

  • Reply
    Mijia Eggers
    July 16, 2019 at 8:58 am

    I have hear that the Alice Spring jiant rock is no longer open to the public because of the protection. Is it true? If so it is pity that I haven’t seen it but I can also understand that it should be protected in this way. By all means, the outback in Australia is something I would definitely do in the near future.

  • Reply
    Lisa
    July 16, 2019 at 4:56 pm

    I love that you visited the Outback! I’ve yet to visit Australia, and honestly, I’m not sure if I’ll ever get to go. The history of the aborigines is interesting as it is tragic too. So sad about the lady who fell from the canyon too, it’s good you mentioned about keeping safe!

  • Reply
    Shaily
    July 17, 2019 at 6:59 pm

    Australian Outback looks amazing with all those landscapes and rock formations.  Interacting with Aboriginal people and seeing all those beautiful sights including the Grand Canyon is definitely worth all the trouble you took to reach there. I like the idea of sleeping under the stars, but camping in tents also has a swag of its own. Swimming in the Cage of Death with the crocodiles is quite a daring adventure. I would love to try that someday. Love your beautiful pictures!

  • Reply
    Sandy N Vyjay
    July 18, 2019 at 1:18 pm

    The great Australian Outback is indeed so beautiful. Its raw, earthy and wild beauty seems really irresistible. Enjoyed reading about your experiences there. Indeed the beauty of the region is definitely worth the hardships one has to endure. Uluru and Kakadu National Park had my attention riveted. Hope to get there someday to experience this beautiful region

  • Reply
    Martha
    July 18, 2019 at 7:49 pm

    I love the diversity that Australia has to offer. One second you’re deep in the desert, the next, you’re in a swamp area infested with crocs! I definitely appreciate that you didn’t climb Uluru. It’s such a sacred place and it’s so important to respect the locals’ wishes. I’m like you and don’t promote zoo-like experience, but I do find that wishing with saltwater crocs fairly interesting. As long as the practice is ethical and tourists simply observe, I think that it’s a worthwhile activity. Great suggestions!

  • Reply
    umiko
    July 19, 2019 at 4:36 am

    What a great experience! When I saw your picture at King’s Canyon, it is actually reminded me more of Arches with its red giant rocks. I will skip the Cage of Death though. I don’t want to take a risk of it being break under water.

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