Ah, the Northern Territory of Australia, also known more popularly to us Crocodile Dundee fans as the Outback. Apparently, many Aussies themselves have never even been to the Outback. Which begs the question, what in the world is there to do in this area? Towns are literally hours apart and separated by vast deserted desert. I’m not going to lie, this intimidated me enough to look into tour group (which I usually forgo in lieu of planning adventures on my own). I signed up for a Contiki Tour and began the adventure to the great unknown.
Our tour started in Alice Springs and worked it’s way up to Darwin, stopping at major landmarks and national parks along the way. One of our first stops was the Daly Waters Pub. Contrary to the beliefs of many, (especially the beliefs of my students) the famous Outback restaurant, is actually not located in the Outback. Save that Bloomin’ Onion for your typical US suburbs Friday night outing. If you want a real Top Ender experience, you have to hit up Daly Waters. It is 1000 kms (600+ miles) north of Alice Springs and 600 kms (350+ miles) south of Darwin. This place clearly caters to the backpacker and tourist because we seem to be the some of the rare people in the remote area! Daly Waters has all sorts of photo ops with their signs like “Australia’s most remote traffic light” and it has hostel rooms available for the weary NT traveler. The food wasn’t all that remarkable, but the experience was worthwhile.
One of the highlights of my Outback experience was a cruise through Katherine Gorge. The rock formations were simply breathtaking. At point we had to switch boats which meant a chance to take some sweet photos on the actual rocks themselves. If I wasn’t on an official tour with time restraints, I would have spent more of my time exploring the area and taking pictures. The possibility of jumping from rock to rock looked super fun! But also if I wasn’t on an official tour, I probably would have gotten lost somewhere in the Outback, so maybe it was all for the best.