6 Unmissable Red Centre Experiences
To discover the real Australia, you need to leave the coastline behind. Here are six experiences you can only have in the heart of Oz - the Red Centre.
Forget tents, campervans and caravans. The only way to experience camping in the outback is sleeping in a swag. Swags are similar to sleeping bags but extra thick and durable with a comfy foam mattress inside. Just slip a sleeping bag and pillow inside and you’ll stay nice and warm during the cool outback nights. Best of all without a tent canopy and light pollution ruining your view you’ll see the stars more clearly than ever before and it’s more than likely you’ll see a shooting star or two!
Kata-Tjuta is actually a site bigger than Uluru, and is found in the same national park - so is definitely worth the visit even though it's less famous! Hike around the base of Kata-Tjuta on the Valley of the Winds walk, and take in the awesome views of the 36 500 million year old domes.
Sunrise at Uluru
Uluru is an impressive sight at any time of day but watching the sun rise at Uluru - changing it into a rainbow of gorgeous colour - is a seriously special experience.
Hike through Kings Canyon
Kings Canyon attracts half as many visitors as Uluru, but many who take the time to visit the Canyon find it just as incredible. Take the 6km Kings Canyon Rim Walk in Watarrka National Park which will lead you 150m above the canyon’s depths. The red sandstone rocks of the Canyon were formed by millions of years erosion creating unusual and interesting rock formations known as the Lost City. Don’t forget to check out the Garden of Eden, a sacred and permanent waterhole in the canyon.
Spend the night in Coober Pedy
Coober Pedy, the world’s largest opal mining town, is a bizarre sight. The town is surrounded by mine shafts and mounds of red rubble which makes it look like something from outer space-it’s not surprising the town was used as the set for Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. 70% of the town has been built underground to escape the heat, you can visit an underground church, art gallery, library and pub and sleep in an underground hostel to get the full Coober Pedy experience. You can also search for opals yourself and play golf on the town’s course (which looks like it was built on Mars). Make sure you visit the kangaroo orphanage at Josephine’s Gallery at feeding time to hand feed the super cute kangaroos.
Build a bush camp fire
No outback road trip is complete without an evening spent building a fire and cooking a meal on it. With no phone signal, shops or pubs about the campfire is the perfect place to gather for beers, banter and to indulge in the Aussie version of smores (a toasted marshmallow between two Tim Tams).
Get a little closer to understanding Aboriginal culture
The Red Centre has many landmarks considered sacred by Aboriginal people. Although the Anangu, the traditional owners of Uluru, do not share all of their laws and principles with outsiders, visiting the Cultural Centre at Uluru or taking a guided tour of Uluru’s base is a great step towards understanding the significance of Uluru to the Anangu. Definitely take the opportunity to learn from elders from the world's longest continuing culture and traditional custodians of the land we live and work on. Australia always was, and always will be, Aboriginal land.
Check out our Ultimate Guide to Backpacking Australia for more info on awesome destinations in Oz, plus advice about when to go, how to get around and how to land yourself a job if you're on a Working Holiday Visa.
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