A lot of Australian tourism focuses around the coast. It’s not hard to see why: surf, sand, lush rainforests. All of these are amazing things. But, let us not neglect the unique landscape and dazzling beauty that is the red dirt and rocky landforms of the Australian outback.

Strap in kids, because I’m about to blow your mind and shake up your bucket list with a bunch of outback spots you definitely need to visit.

Alice Springs Desert Park

Personally, I’ve always found that an understanding of what you’re seeing boost your appreciation and enjoyment by about a million. At Alice Springs Desert Park, you’ll see the desert, but you’ll also learn about it. Their daily events will teach you all the things, from Indigenous heritage and culture, to how the plants and animals adapted to life in these harsh conditions.

The Kimberlys

The wild, wild Western Australian outback, folks. And ok yeah, I’ll admit there is definitely also coastline that calls itself part of The Kimberleys, but I don’t care it makes the list. One single road will take you through desert, dramatic gorges, and a bunch of wildlife from camels and buffalo to dingos (if you’re lucky enough to spot them. Oh yeah, and t\dino footprints, just casually.

The MacDonnell Ranges

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A lot of people forget about this stunning part of the country as they’re running off to Uluru, but don’t. Being slightly lesser known means you’ll be a lot closer to getting The MacDonnell Ranges to yourself, and they’re beautiful as heck. Take the time to find secret swimming holes, Standley Chasm with its red, red dirt and 3000-year-old trees, and even gold mines you can explore yourself.  Ormiston Gorge is also super popular and good for camping, but honestly, you could spend days in here exploring and not get bored.

Uluru

But yeah, obviously you should also definitely go to Uluru. How does a giant lump of rock make itself so darn attractive? I don’t know but its kind of magical and I’m so desperate to get there. Sunrise and/or sunset viewing is obviously a must, but you can also take a camel ride around it, or sit down to dinner and drinks in front of it as the sun goes down.

Watarrka National Park

Watarrka National Park is full of dramatic 100-metre deep canyons and iconic Aussie desert views, but the big pull here is Kings Canyon, often dubbed the ‘little brother’ of Uluru. But it’s not. It’s its own damn thing 100% worth your time. It’s an important conservations area housing 600 species of plants and a lot of native animals.

Coober Pedy

They live underground in this famous outback opal mining town. Like, who houses, whole hotels even, that are completely 100% underground. If that’s not intriguing I don’t know what is. But also they’re right by the 80 million-year-old Painted Desert, made famous by movies like Mad Max. You can also go hunting for your own opals.

Lake Eyre

You know where else in the world you can see an inland salt lake that sometimes disappears? Not a lot of places. You know where else, at 144km long and 77km wide, you can see Australia’s largest lake? Nowhere. That’s how once-in-a-lifetime this place is.

Port Augusta

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Ahhh…. when those Red Banks glow, you know it’s golden hour in #PortAugusta! These iconic cliffs stretch as far as the eye can see, right to the tip of Spencer Gulf. Look closely and you’ll see Train Bridge, tucked beneath the #FlindersRanges, which make their mark on the dusty horizon. Just a short drive inland, you’ll enjoy awesome #outback adventures and hospitality at @wilkatana – a working sheep and cattle station with Shearers Quarters you can call home for the night. With wildlife on the hop at every dusty fork in the road, you’ll also find a huge array of native flora and birdlife with a guided tour through the gardens of @australianaridlands. After a liberal serving of the café’s famous Lemon Myrtle pancakes and quandong icecream, it’ll almost be time to hit this spot for sunset as the cliffs glow beneath. Thanks for the snap, @georgiesphotoart! #SeeSouthAustralia ???? ???? [????Location: just a 2hr flight from Sydney to #Adelaide in #SouthAustralia and a 3.5hr drive to Red Banks, Port Augusta ] #RedBanks #SeeAustralia #Australia #Travel

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There’s something really spectacular about desert meeting ocean, which exactly what happens at Port Augusta, sitting at the top of Spencer Gulf. It’s a cool place of its own, but it’s also the perfect base to come back to as you explore South Australia. It’s known as ‘The Crossroads’ for good reason. You’ve got the Stuart Highway taking you The Northern Territory on the north, Eyre Highway to the Nullarbor to the west, Barrier Highway to Broken Hill on the east and Adelaide on the South.

The Simpson Desert

Sure The Simpson Desert is only the fourth largest desert in Australia, but it boasts the longest parallel run of sand dunes in the world at a whopping 1100 of them. It also differs from many deserts by being home to a huge variety of birds and other animals, and plants. It’s also very, very rugged. This is one of those wild deserts you prepare for and learn what you’re doing, so you’ll be adventurous af.

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Image: iStock Images / [Ingrid_Hendriksen]