Yes, I have made it, the famed Outback. Here I stand, in a place as wide as you could ever imagine, a space so vast it is difficult for me to invoke the words needed to paint you the perfect picture, an expanse that will leave even the loudest speechless, a sense of pure unadulterated connectedness, silence like the sea, a feeling of simply overwhelming awe. You know this place, do you remember, the one that you relish deep inside, the one that appeals to your childhood wonderment and pushes you to go further, to reach for the horizon and kiss the sun. This is the place that inspires, that draws you to keep moving and to keep looking, to believe that there is always something, and that you are there, you have made it. This was my introduction to ‘The Red Centre’ and the first impressions of a landscape begging to be discovered. Come with me, travel into the heart of the Outback and find what lies on the other side. Personally I’m hoping for a really, really cold beer.
Almost eighty percent of South Australia is deemed The Outback. It is an expanse of land criss crossed by off road tracks, historic homesteads, cattle farms, funky roadhouse pubs, railway ruins, and for the amount of wide open space a surprising number of highly intriguing and interesting people. Be sure to strike up a conversation with a local in Coober Pedy or along the Oodnadatta Track, it will leave you laughing in stitches, for sure. The Australian sense of humour never ceases to amaze.
The landscape out here is ancient and vast. From mountains to salt lakes, from red sand to lush marshes and natural springs, from the dunes forever molded by wind to the shelter and fairy tale likeness of a forested oasis, this state is one to admire. I mean, what was I really expecting from the Outback of South Australia, a desert, a wasteland of sorts, a nothingness that needed to be traversed to find what was waiting on the other side? I travelled into the Outback with an open mind and the evident subconscious stereotypes to be expected by anyone travelling to unknown and iconic lands. What will the road lay barren for my wandering eyes to devour next? A scene of absolute and unmistakable beauty, a view into the heart of natural history, a lovers quarrel of sky and earth, a experience to remember, and the trip of a lifetime.
I spent exactly one week traversing the South Australian Outback. It was a fantastic introduction to a portion of the state I had been itching to see. From the border with the Northern Territory to Coober Pedy, across the Painted Hills and Lake Eyre, further afield into Parachilna and gateway to the Flinders Ranges, driving then further south to Wilpena Pound via Brachina and Bunyeroo Gorges, all of this finished off with a cold brew at the famed Prairie Hotel. Seriously, it does not get much better than this, and all of it possible in just one portion of this seemingly ever underrated state.
South Australia is a hidden gem and The Outback is one of its greatest draws. This land has blown me away and the experience one I wish to repeat in the future. I have seen the barren expanse of a literal dreamscape, a piece of our home that ignites imagination, a land of legend, hope, prosperity and hardship, a window into the past and gateway to the future. The Outback is here and beckons the intrepid travellers soul. Can you feel it?