The Outback. Australia’s vast, sparsely populated interior where the way of life is dictated by the often harsh and unforgiving environment. A place of incredible natural beauty, rich in wildlife, and the traditional lands of our Aboriginal People.
For many Australians, the idea of the Outback inspires a certain yearning – it is a piece of the puzzle that makes up our shared identity, and we sense that spending time in the remotes, would deepen our understanding of our country and ourselves. For international travellers, the draw of the endless ‘nothingness’ is often as compelling as the dramatic terrain, a place where you can drive for days without seeing a traffic light, and lose yourself in the glorious remoteness of being far from anywhere and everywhere.
From the breathtaking landscapes, to the incredible wildlife and remarkable people who call it home, the Outback is a destination that will quieten your mind, while stirring your soul. Here are five essential experiences to have in the Australian Outback.
Spend Time with a Stockman
Some of the most enduring imagery in Australia’s history revolves around that of the Stockman. Tough as nails and with a level of horsemanship that is nothing short of awe-inspiring, this hardy character has inspired everything from Banjo Paterson’s famous poem “The Man from Snowy River” to Hugh Jackman’s character of a drover in the movie “Australia”. Our itinerary, Indigenous & Wild QLD, gives you the opportunity to spend several days with a stockman as you explore wild areas of bushland including the exclusive “Pinnacle Trail”. There will be plenty of time to compare lives, and learn about this fascinating lifestyle. You will also visit a working cattle station where if you are lucky, you will get to experience a cattle muster first hand. Feel the ground shake with the thunder of thousands of hooves of running cattle, as they are mustered both with helicopters and on horseback.
Sleep Under a Canopy of Stars
Picture this. After an exciting day of exploring, you arrive at your camp, overlooking a stunning gorge. While your hosts prepare dinner, you wash off the days red dirt with a hot bush shower, then drink some billy tea and share a few yarns by the fire while the sounds of the Yigi Yigi (didjeridoo) echo through the valley. The sunset dazzles then fades and you are left with a canopy of a millions of stars, and your choice of the bed in your luxurious tent, or your swag. Sleeping under the stars is a true highlight of any trip to the Outback and at Crooked Compass, we ensure that you have so many creature comforts you will almost forget you are camping. Five star? How about five billion stars?
Learn about the Land
The Outback is the perfect place to learn about Australia’s Indigenous people, the first inhabitants of the land that can be traced back over 40,000 years. All our journeys to the Outback include spending exclusive time with a certified Indigenous guide, who will be excited to show you the world through their eyes. You will be awed by caves of Aboriginal art that can be traced back to ancient times or be guided through bushland learning as you understand how the food and medicine can all be obtained from the land around you.
Unplug and Unwind
Being far from civilisation gives you the best possible excuse to unplug, and give the beauty of your natural surroundings a chance to wash over you. Whether it be lazing by a waterhole after a gourmet picnic lunch, or enjoying wine and cheese before your carefully prepared outdoor dinner is served, we want your trip to be a chance for your to relax and unwind. Listen to the sounds of nature, keep your eyes peeled for the native wildlife, and lose yourself in your stunning surrounds. We will take care of all the details and free you up to focus on enjoying yourself.
Share a Yarn with the Locals at an Outback Pub
All this exploring can make a person thirsty, and there is no better place to have a refreshing beverage and a good old chin-wag with some locals then at an Outback pub. These watering holes are almost guaranteed to have some characters willing to share a yarn or two with you, generally with some slight embellishments for maximum entertainment and great countertop meals. The pub has been a part of the Australian culture since the First Fleet arrived in 1788, with illegal pubs known as “sly-grogs” established immediately, and the first legal pubs opening approximately eight years later. In the Outback, the pub often serves as the hub and meeting place of the community, and an escape from the dust, heat and flies. A perfect place to reminisce about your Outback adventure!
Dreaming of exploring the Outback? Explore our range of small group tours to make this experience yours!
This category of tours involves light trekking, walking, cycling, rafting or kayaking for a few hours each day with a small amount of inclines and declines. You will require a reasonable level of fitness and good health to participate. It is important to note that due to the nature of some of our trips, they may take place in remote areas (with basic facilities) and can involve long travelling days on various modes of transport.
Suggested preparation : At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake aerobic exercise (this may include jogging, cycling or fast walking) for 30 minutes, three times a week. It is also advised to walk on variable terrain and in variable weather conditions. For a cycling adventure, road cycling twice a week is recommended and for adventures which involve paddling and kayaking, it is important to gain confidence and rhythm rather than speed prior to departure.
This category of tours involve trekking, kayaking and cycling for period of 6 to 8 hours a day at a fairly consistent pace. Ideal for people looking to slightly increase the heart rate. For our moderately rated tours, you must have a good level of fitness and also be in good health. It is also important to be prepared for variable weather conditions. Altitude may also come into play. This category of tours may involve visiting remote areas where facilities can be quite basic. Accommodation may also involve camping, homestays or basic accommodation where facilities may not be considered of western standards. To enjoy this style of travel, it is suggested for travellers to have a reasonable level of fitness and health, a positive attitude, as well as a fairly active lifestyle. An open mind is also required.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake 45mins – 1 hour of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week. Some potential exercises that could be beneficial include hill walking with a backpack on over variable terrain and weather conditions, as well as running and cycling dependent on the activity you plan on undertaking.
This category of tours involves trekking, kayaking, cycling or other adventure activities in remote areas for up to 8 to 10 hours a day. It is important to note that with the remoteness of some regions comes a variety of other challenges such as variable weather conditions, accommodation as well as facilities. You must have an excellent level of fitness and good health to be able to partake in this category of tour. You must have confidence in your own ability and be in good physical condition. Includes extended periods of endurance.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 to 4 months of strenuous exercise, four times a week. When preparing for treks it would be beneficial to participate in hill walks with a weighted day pack (approximately 5-8 kg) once a week for aerobic fitness and strengthening of leg muscles. It is also important to do this on variable terrain to prepare for challenging adventures. When preparing for cycling adventures, regular bike riding (at least 4 to 5 times a week for 1-4 hours is essential). It is also important to cycle on uneven surfaces or even participate in other aerobic exercises such as running or swimming to build up strength and stamina. Altitude may also be a factor in these tours.
This category of tour often involves extreme trekking, cycling or other extreme adventure activities. It is important to expect remote and poorly defined tracks and to be prepared for variable weather conditions for 10 to 12 hours per day (may sometimes be more depending on weather and altitude). These adventures are suitable for travellers who have prior experience in strenuous travel and activities, are extremely fit and have excellent health. It is also important to note that some of the terrain on these adventures will involve trekking in snow, at high attitude levels and may require technical equipment.
Suggested preparation: It is important to note that physical fitness should be an ongoing activity, commencing around 5-6 months prior to departure, or even before if you have no prior fitness. Exercise should focus on building maximum endurance and stamina. Four to five hard sessions of 40-60 mins per week should be completed and can include exercises such as going to the gym, running, swimming or cycling to focus on building aerobic stamina. It could also be beneficial to prepare by hiking on rough terrain, in extreme weather conditions or partake in altitude training.