When I first got to Australia I didn’t plan to go to the Outback. I actually wanted to stay only on the coast, but the bushfires in November, flooding in January and the tropical temperatures in the far north in February changed my plans. So, quite spontaneously, I decided to do the Outback roadtrip in order to get back from the far east to the south coast, where the weather conditions are better in March and April.
I didn’t know much about the Outback in the beginning. I just heard that everything is very far and there are nothing and no one around in case of emergency. And of course, I also heard those horror stories, which I then basically removed from my head.
First of all, I informed myself well about what I will need for this trip. I talked to people who have recently done the roadtrip in the Outback. Things like car service, extra jerry and water cans, off-line maps, road conditions, weather and some recommendations where to go, etc. were the most important things for the start.
I knew it is going to be a long drive. And long drives usually mean a long time to think and a long time for reflecting about the world, about life, about love, about myself, etc. I knew it. And I was ready for it. If you are planning to do the Outback roadtrip on your own, you must realise, that this is going to happen. So get your attitude ready.
You can go to the Outback with some specific questions or thoughts, but it is not a must. You can go there without it. Because something will pop up anyway, that’s for sure.
I was surprised by how many thoughts I had. I didn’t even know before, that those exist in me. I literally went through all my life: I thought about my childhood, about my school, about my job, about love, about disappointment, about loneliness, about the future, about being here where I am, about people I met in the past, about people who I hurt, about people who hurt me, about those who gave me new perspectives, about those who inspire me, and so on. I thought about EVERYTHING. And during those days full of reflection, suddenly, I started to see things that I have never seen before.
Schizophrenic Polish woman in the van
From laughing, through singing, talking to myself and screaming at loud, to crying like crazy; at first because of loneliness, anger, disappointment and at the end crying because of release and joy. If someone would film me during my long lonely drives, this would make into top 10 craziest youtube videos. Crazy schizophrenic Polish woman in the van in the desert.
There is nothing to see in the Outback
I made 7500 km, and I have seen, let’s say, 5 tourist attractions. There is nothing to see in the Outback. Just desert. There are no people to talk, there are not even many animals. It is a DESERT. There is a bush, there is a mountain and that’s it. If you are not ready for a reflection, then better fly to Alice Springs, do a 3-day tour to Uluru and to Kings Canyon and go back home. There is nothing to see. BUT, if you are ready for a reflection, then, believe me, the desert is AMAZING. It is incredibly peaceful, breathtaking, captivating and magnificent and you have never ever seen the scenery and its immenseness like that in your whole life.
The Outback roadtrip changed me
It is a weird thing to say, after travelling for months, but this roadtrip was very unique to me. It was unique because of the distance and because of the intensity of the journey within my soul. As I was driving the last section of the desert towards the civilisation, I realised how beautiful this journey was. I will never forget it.
And now the practical stuff
Here are the common questions people asked me about this trip. I also wrote another post about some general tips for the roadtrip around Australia here.
Do I need a 4WD?
No, 4WD is not a must. The roads are sealed and in perfect conditions. You just have to inform yourself before heading off to some parks, etc. But in general, you will be able to drive everywhere. If there is no sealed road, then there will be an unsealed one, which is usually suitable for the conventional vehicle as well. If you want to go off-road and drive really really deep into some parks, then a 4WD would be better.
Where do I sleep?
Along the road, there are heaps of free camping spots. Those places are mostly next to the road and have no facilities, but some of them are really nice! There are also many paid campgrounds, which are private or belong to national parks. The fee for one night varies between 10 and 20 AUD. The private ones have some facilities like water or showers. Those spots are a good option when you are close to a town (safety!).
You can also stay in caravan parks, I didn’t use this option, because the price starts at 20 AUD for an unpowered site and this was quite expensive for me.
Wikicamps is the app which will help you to find those spots. You can use the app offline, you will just need to download the maps before.
Which places are worth a visit?
I’m not going to describe these places in detail, because there are plenty of articles about them in the internet. I will just give you some idea for your unforgettable Outback roadtrip 😉
- Uluru / Ayers Rock and Kata Tjuta: I recommend to stay there 2-3 days. There are few hikes in that area and you definitely should see the sunset and the sunrise at Uluru.
- Kings Canyon: 1-2 days are enough. There is a beautiful hike/walk which takes about 2-3 hours. I’m sure the sunset is stunning there, unfortunately, I didn’t stay to see it.
- Mcdonnell Rangers: 2-3 days for exploring the area. There are few water holes in which you can swim and the landscape is just beautiful over there.
- Coober Pedy: 1-2 days for soaking the vibe of this weird mining town. Not far away from the town, there is a place called Breakaways. It is a magical sunset spot.
- Salt lakes close to Pimba, for example, lake Hart: There are many many salt lakes, most of them are dry, which looks very impressive. Sometimes they even get pink. Plan 1-2 days over there.
- Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park: It is an awesome place to visit for 2-3 days. It is better to drive 4WD but I managed it with my van as well, it was just a little bumpy 😉
Have a look at some photo impressions from my Outback roadtrip. By the way: I shoot with Fujifilm x100f.
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