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Get An Authentic Experience And Culture Of The Australian Outback

Aug 7, 2008
No, silly, "the outback" is not a restaurant chain where you can get "shrimp on the barbie" and a "bloomin' onion," although their cuisine is to die for! The Australian outback is a complex landscape comprised of rich clay soils and greenery, contrasted with miles of arid desert with hardly a plant in sight.

Grazing camels, wild dingoes, snakes, spiders and emus can all be spotted in the outback realm of Western Australia. As travelers, all we really want is that "authentic" experience of a distant culture and place.

If you take the Stuart Highway running north from Adelaide to Darwin, then you're likely to run into most of the tourist attractions in Australia's outback. At the halfway point of this journey, you will find Alice Springs, which is a good starting point for the weary traveler with limited time. The Alice Springs Desert Park is a one-stop shop for all things outback, such as a botanical garden, a zoo and an Aboriginal culture center.

Nestled at the foot of the MacDonnell Mountain Range, this park will teach you all about the outback, while pleasing the senses with wildflowers and wildlife. The Nature Theater has an excellent "Birds of Prey" show, the Spectator Nocturnal House allows a glimpse of rare endangered animals and "The Changing Heart" documentary takes you through 4.5 billion years of desert evolution.

Kadaku National Park is another unforgettable experience in the Australian outback. Jabiru's Bowali Visitor Center is a good starting point for your Kadaku trip that'll provide you with videos, maps and information about the various trails, tours and experiences, since the park is so massive. In the South Alligator Area, you can watch birds in the Red Lily, Bucket and Alligator Billabongs.

See Australian aboriginal rock art in the South Alligator Area at Ubirr Rock. You can find more aboriginal art sites at Gunwarrddehwardde Lookout in the Nourlangie region. The 150-meter spectacular Jim Jim Falls is only accessible via four-wheel drive during the dry season, but it's an amazing sight nonetheless.

The Yellow Water Wetlands offers a bird watching boat cruise. Kadaku is an interesting area because it shows the diversity housed in the outback, which many perceive to be all brush or all desert. For the ultimate Kadaku experience, Maguk and Gunlom in the southernmost point, both feature waterfalls, clear plunge pools and exhilarating walks.

Kangaroo Island is not technically in the Australian outback region, but it's the experience most travelers are looking for when they say they want to go to the outback. On this South Australian island, you'll find national parks and five wilderness protection areas. Isolated from mainland Australia, wildlife abounds, including kangaroos, bandicoots, wallabies, possums, echidnas, fur seals, bats, frogs, dunnarts, koalas, platypuses and the endangered Glossy Black Cockatoo.

Murray Lagoon is a bird watcher's paradise, while Seal Bay houses a growing population of sea lions. The Little Sahara sand dunes are a point of interest, as is Flinders Chase National Park, with the Remarkable Rocks, Admiral's Arch, cape light houses and multiple walking trails.
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