The Australian Outback
One of the most beautiful and adventurous travel destinations is The Great Australian Outback! Many of us have visited the eatery Outback Steakhouse and have seen the lingo used on their menu, Shrimp on the barbie, aussie chips a.ka. french fries and gotten a pretty basic idea of Australian verbiage. However the entirety of this amazing country is only to be found if you experience the customs, local fare, gorgeous landscape, and the unique wildlife that resides on this massive expanse of land!
Travel with me to The Australian Outback, where it’s large dry regions cover most of the center of this country’s landscape. To be exact there are 6 million acres that make up this dry region of land, which means it covers 70% of the entire Australian continent. An interesting fact is that only 3% of this land mass is populated! Known for its diverse landscapes, exquisite scenery, red dust, gorges, waterfalls, fresh water creeks, watering holes, and floodplains, Australia is also home to some of the most unique wildlife in the world.
Because of this wildlife some being a bit dangerous to human interaction, the outback boasts one of the largest fences in the world, stretching a whopping 5531 kilometers! It also bears the largest working cattle station in the world, known as Anne Creek Cattle Station.
As far as wildlife goes, Australia is known for Koala Bears and Kangaroo. But what are the other rare creatures that inhabit this desert like terrain? First we have the Marsupials consisting of a wide mix of Wallaby, Wombat, Bandicoot, Kultar, Marsupial Mole, Dunnart, Cuscus, Tasmanian Wolf, Possum, and Tasmanian devils. Next we have platypus and echidna which make up the egg laying Marsupials. There are also a variety of lizards, crocodiles and snakes. In way of sea life Australia gets visited by migrating whales and bottlenose dolphins!
Next up…Food! When you decide to go down under you must eat up the delicious local fare! Known for their amazing and incredible BBQing skills, these Aussie locals know how to BBQ the right way. They have great seafood and can make some mean shrimp on the barbie. Another great meat to try is that of the Emu bird. Not only is it virtually fat free, it has an iron content higher than beef and is very low in cholesterol. Damper, which is a soda bread with minimal ingredients is cooked over an open fire and is a local fare favorite. Fish & Chips, again an example of their incredibly fresh and tasty seafood is a must try. Iced VoVo, is a wheat flour biscuit that has a stripe of pink fondant on the top nestled in between stripes of fresh raspberry jam and dipped in coconut for a sweet treat. Back to the BBQ we have barbecued snags, Australia’s version of the hot dog but ten times better. These snags are made up of either beef or pork and flavored with spices from around the world as well as herbs. Needing something sweet again we have Tim Tam, another type of biscuit, but this time comprised of two chocolate malted biscuits with a light chocolate filling through the middle. To finish it off it’s dipped in a chocolate coating. Perfect for the chocolate lover. Looking for something savory? Try one of the country’s incredible meat pies or some crocodile meat!! And last but probably the most popular is Vegemite! Still debatable about what is actually in it, we do know it’s a dark brown spread mostly made out of yeast extract. Locals love to spread it on toast for breakfast, a snack or at tea time. Something you definitely must try just because of its Australian fame! Stop in at one of the local pubs and enjoy great food and beer!
Along with amazing food comes even more activities you may want to do on this beautiful outdoorsy adventure. Other fun to be had comes in the form of windsurfing, parasailing, 4X4 driving through the Outback, Bushwalking, visiting the surrounding islands, mountain climbing and in the winter snow skiing at one of the famous ski runs!
Incase you are wondering what towns are a must see, there are five that must not go unexplored…..
- Broken Hill, New South Wales: This amazing town boasts Silverton, an actual ghost town! Named after the town’s mining roots and known as the Silver City, it isn’t short of old fashioned pubs, an incredible Sculpture Symposium that houses 12 sculpture pieces of artwork with magnificent backdrops, and there is still mining being done of lead, silver and zinc.
- Heysen Trail, South Australia: This is the land of walking for those exercise enthusiasts. Home to a 1200 kilometer trail and famous trail head Cape Jarvis, this walker’s paradise winds through some of the best terrain that can be found in this country! Although only open May thru November it begins on Mt. Lofty takes you down to Wilpena Pond and finishes in the Parachilna Gorge.
- Coober pedy, South Australia: Opal mining drew people to this hot land and there are many there still seeking to strike it rich upon finding an opal. The last opal being found in 1915 the intrigue is still as hot and heavy as the sun that beats down at a high of 50 degrees celsius! Because of the extreme heat and to create livable conditions most of this towns private homes and extensively carved churches have been built underground!
- The Kimberley, Western Australia: This town has roots of Chinese and Malay history. It is also home to Purnululu National Park, which is known for its Bungle Bungle Range. Found in this Range is a series of stripped, distinctively round rock towers. Wanna do a little walking? Take an hour walk to either echidna Chasm or Cathedral Gorge. Wanna get a good workout in? Sign up for the 10 hour overnight hike in Piccaninny Gorge!
- Kakadu national Park, Northern Territory: This is a massive national park with 19,000 sq. miles to explore. To be found and seen are over 5000 aboriginal rocks displayed on the walls of the World Heritage Site. There are billabongs and creeks crawling with crocodile as well as an incredible waterfall to be seen known as Jim Jim Falls. In 1998 there was a proposal to integrate a Jabiluka Uranium mine, however there was a protest with thousands of nature enthusiasts preventing the mine to be established!
Now that you have explored what the Australian Outback has to offer, a great vacation is awaiting to be planned. Explore the beautiful land and seascape of this impeccable country, enjoy the delicious food and create one of the best adventures of your lifetime! It’s about time to go down under!