Bursting with colour, contrasts and rich Aboriginal culture, the Outback is truly like nowhere else on earth.
From seemingly endless red desert to hidden waterholes, and otherworldly rock domes to night skies bursting with stars, there’s a whole new world waiting for you to discover in the Outback. Follow your local leader on a journey through the Outback’s almighty landscapes while connecting with Country and learning from First Nations guides. Whether you want to experience the soul-stirring feeling of standing at the base of Uluru, bathe in Kakadu's gorge-ous watering holes, feast on seasonal bush tucker under the glittering night skies, or learn about the unique way of life for the Yolgnu people of East Arnhem Land, our Outback tours & holidays are packed with experiences you'll never forget.
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Highlights of the Outback
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Everyone travelling on an Intrepid trip must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of carriage.
All travellers are required to produce:
- Proof of COVID-19 vaccination
- All children aged 5 to 17 years old must provide proof of vaccination (if eligible), proof of recovery or a negative COVID-19 test.
- If you are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons, you may apply for an exemption. Exemptions will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. To apply, you must provide a medical certificate from a medical professional.
In all cases, you must be fully inoculated. This means you must receive the full dosage of the COVID-19 vaccine and allow enough time for immunity to take effect. Each COVID-19 vaccine has different dosages and timeframes for inoculation, so please check the relevant medical advice associated with your vaccine.
The Outback occupies a whopping 70% of mainland Australia. It spans 5.6 million km2 including all of the Northern Territory and a large part of South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia.
When you think about the weather in the Outback, you might assume it’s hot and dry all year round. While it gets very hot in the summer, people are surprised to learn how cold it gets in winter – often with sub-zero temperatures on winter nights. The climate varies throughout the Outback ranging from semi-dry tropic, arid and desert. Generally speaking, this means there are two seasons: summer which is hot and humid and winter which sees mild days and cold nights.
The Outback is vast and remote, and to get there you'll either need to drive or fly into one of the Outback’s main airports in Alice Springs or Darwin where you can then join a tour or hire a car. If you’re travelling from Darwin or Adelaide, you can drive to the Outback via the Stuart Highway which passes through the Red Centre. Or, if you're coming from Queensland or Western Australia you can drive on the Outback Highway which connects Winton in QLD and Laverton in WA.
The short answer is you’ll either need to self-drive or travel as part of a tour. The Outback is (very) big and public transport is scarce. Even with a car, you’ll often be driving for hours without seeing another soul on the road. To give you an idea, Adelaide to Darwin is 3000 km and takes 31 hours to drive. Although you need to be prepared, driving is definitely the best option as you can travel at your own pace and stop at sites and attractions as you please.
If self-driving isn’t an option for you, Greyhound operates a bus between Adelaide, Alice Springs and Darwin and you can stop at destinations along the way with a hop-on-hop-off ticket. It’s much slower than driving, but doable if you’re not on a tight schedule. You can also fly to a small handful of destinations in the Outback such as Alice Springs, but flight tickets to the Outback's regional airports tend to be some of the most expensive in Australia.
The Outback's landscapes are rich and diverse – ranging from arid desert to lush gorges filled with trees and natural watering holes – and so is the range of native flora and fauna that lives there. Some of the animals you can expect to see on your Outback adventure include:
- Saltwater crocodiles
- Frilled-necked lizards
- Sand goannas
- Thorny devils
- Australian feral camels
Long, lightweight layers are essential in the Outback. It’s warm or hot during the day all year round, so you won’t want to wear thick, heavy layers. Breathable, long-sleeved pants and shirts are comfortable for walking, and they also double up as sun protection. You should avoid wearing light colours (unless you want red dirt-stained clothes to take home with you as a souvenir!) as the red dirt stains clothes easily. Other essentials include a good pair of hiking boots and/or runners, waterproof sandals, a wide-brimmed sun hat, bathers, sunglasses, sunscreen and a small daypack.
If you’re visiting in the winter (May-September), you’ll definitely need a warm fleece, long pants, a woolly hat and maybe some thermals as the temperature often dips below 0°C and it’s not uncommon to see frost on the ground in the morning.
Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. However, we’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.