WHEN I FIRST HEARD that I would be traveling to the Outback, my mind ran through just about every cliche imaginable. I had visions of sitting in a sweltering bar, flies buzzing around my head, drinking a cold stubby, only to have the bar door thrown open as Mick Dundee burst through wrestling a crocodile.

Corny? Of course. Tourist ignorance? Clearly. A travel fantasy of mine? Most definitely. The Outback that I experienced over the next two weeks was quite the contrary of my preconceptions. I learned a lot about so many different things: the land, the people, the grub, the wildlife, and the rich history that makes the Outback so special.

I hit the ground running the second I landed in Alice Springs. Here are some of the highlights from my itinerary.



This post is proudly produced in partnership with Travel NT.


1

Hiking Kings Canyon at sunrise

It was 5:30 in the morning, I was halfway up a near vertical climb, sweating and pretty winded. "I promise, it gets easier after this," Jarrod, my tour guide, belted out from 5 meters behind me. Millions of years old, Kings Canyon has sandstone walls over 500ft high, and there's an oasis pool towards the head of the canyon appropriately called "The Garden of Eden." Thanks to a large amount of rain last year, we saw a number of wildflowers growing directly out of the canyon walls. A beautiful sight.

2

Seeing Uluru at sunrise

Uluru is a spiritual place for all Aboriginal people, but particularly to the Pitjantjatjara people, who are the traditional owners of the site.

3

Eating kangaroo

I had plenty of opportunities to try kangaroo, and I eventually began to enjoy it -- not that I didn't like the taste of it initially, but I feel like when you try an exotic food for the first time you put so much emphasis on taste and texture that you actually don't end up savoring the food at all. So after a few times eating kangaroo, I was finally getting the chance to appreciate how delightful it was. This plate was served at the Glen Helen Resort.

4

Visiting Bond Springs Station

Bond Springs Station has a beautiful collection of ranching antiques that have been left behind over the years as the station changed hands. Old blacksmith tools, branding irons, and saddles for horses and camels are all over the place and in beautiful condition.

5

Quad biking

This is one way to explore the bush at Kings Creek Station.

6

Chilling at Glen Helen Resort

The onsite bar pours a nice Toohey's New.

7

Taking a helicopter tour

The chopper ride offered at Kings Creek Station provides a different perspective on the geologic features of the Outback.

8

Luxury bush dining

At the Kings Canyon Wilderness Lodge, kangaroo, camel, and Barramundi are served under the stars.

9

Hiking to Simpson Gap

To trek the 221km Larapinta Trail in full takes 18 days. A nice day-hike alternative is this section from the Old Telegraph Station to Simpson Gap.

10

Watching for wild horses

There are several million wild horses and camels roaming the Northern Territory. They are ancestors of domestic animals brought to Australia over 100 years ago.

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