The Outback

Visiting the Australian Outback

First of all, the Outback isn't so much a specific place (or, for that matter, an American steakhouse chain) as it is a concept. The Outback pretty much describes anywhere in Australia that isn't the city, farmland, or rainforest—though in practice, the more remote and arid an area, the more "Outback" it is.

(As such, the Outback could be considered a subset of "The Bush," another broad term which covers practically any place in Australia that is occupied by few, if any, people).

There's a bit of "Outback" in almost every Australian state—though if you want to see the heart of it, you need to head to the very center of the country, to the Red Centre of the Northern Territory/South Australia and the eastern reaches of West Australia.

If the Outback has a capital, it's Alice Springs. If it has an icon, it's Uluru/Ayers Rock. If it has a mascot, it's Crocodile Dundee (though sometimes it wishes he weren't).

You can drive through Outback, take a tour in the Outback, or take a train through the Outback, but the best way to see it is on a trek. My favorite Outback trek was five days I spent in Nitmiluk National Park (read the blog about it: A songline through the Outback: The Jatbula trail).

Tours of the Australian Outback

You can sign up for one of dozens of multi-day guided Outback tours with the excellent Australia-based tour company Intrepid Travel (, or for a tour or trek offered by our partners at

Outback day tours

Multi-day outback tours

Uluru/Ayers Rock tours

Tours Under $995 G Adventures

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This article was by Reid Bramblett and last updated in August 2011.
All information was accurate at the time.

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Copyright © 1998–2013 by Reid Bramblett. Author: Reid Bramblett.