Reviewed on 31 Jul. 2021
Reviewed on 15 Aug. 2021
Reviewed on 6 Sep. 2021
Encounter the breathtaking beauty of Australia’s red heart. Desert waterholes teem with birdlife. Uluru glows at sunset. Great Sandy Desert dunes tower overhead.
Uluru (Ayers Rock) is the heart of the Northern Territory’s Red Centre, but its lungs are the canyon waterholes surrounded by ghost gums and eucalyptus, teeming with birdlife. The beauty of the Outback, from the star-strewn sky over the Simpson Desert to the incredible biodiversity of the West MacDonnell Ranges, is truly unforgettable.
Start your journey to the Red Centre in Alice Springs, an Outback town built to support a gold-mining boom in Arltunga. Nearby is Alice Springs Desert Park where local guides provide an insight into the Arrernte indigenous culture and the biodiversity of the landscape.
Ride the bicycle trail from town to Simpson’s Gap, take a balloon flight to see the sun rise over the rugged ranges and learn about the history of the area in the Telegraph Station Historical Reserve.
Uluru is a must-see in the Red Centre. The 1,140-foot-high (348-metre) rock, located in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, plays a large part in the dreaming stories of the Anangu people. Guides describe local history and indigenous spirituality as you watch the rock change colours under the setting sun. Hike through the park’s less well-known but equally impressive rock formation, Kata Tjuṯa (Mount Olga), a collection of 36 domed red rocks.
Cool off in Kings Canyon in Watarrka National Park, an oasis of palms and waterholes protected by sheer rock walls. Discover Palm Valley in the Finke Gorge National Park, wander along the dry river bed and get an introduction to dreaming stories along the Mpaara walk. Like many self-guided walks in the Red Centre, this experience is enriched by an audio guide you can download for your phone or MP3 player.
If you’re feeling adventurous in Red Centre, trek for days along Larapinta Trail that runs through the West MacDonnell Ranges. Explore incredible geology of Ellery Creek Big Hole, Glen Helen Gorge, Standley Chasm and Simpson’s Gap. Camp overnight surrounded by wildlife. For less exertion, visit any section as a day hike.