7 Best Australian Outback Towns to Visit

7 Best Australian Outback Towns to Visit

Outback Australia is filled with off-the-beaten track settlements and towns, creating the perfect excuse for a road trip adventure.

Offering authentic laid-back experiences set in diverse country landscapes, the Australian Outback contains a rich past, ranging from ancient Indigenous Culture to nineteenth century Pioneer History.

Because of the remote locations of outback towns, many travellers prefer to journey by motorhome or 4WD campervan – allowing them to set their own travel pace and schedule.

Whichever way you choose to embark on your road trip, if you’re needing a little destination inspiration, here is a list of suggestions outlining 7 of the best Australian Outback towns to visit and why.

Coober Pedy, SA

Coober Pedy is a desert community established around the abundant opal mines that attracted pioneers from around the world. In fact, Australia distributes around 95% of the world’s opal, and the majority of it comes from the Coober Pedy mines.

The extreme heat that affects this region has led to one of Coober Pedy’s most famous attractions, which is their unique underground housing.  Many residents live in subterranean dwellings called burrows, and while in town you have the opportunity to visit one. There are also several underground museums to tour and even a few churches!

You can’t visit Coober Pedy without exploring an opal mine, and you have a choice of many. Some will even let you try your luck at opal noodling, so you can bring home your own gemstone. If you are an animal lover, you won’t want to miss Josephine’s, a refuge for kangaroo joeys who have been orphaned.

For the ultimate underground experience stay a night or two at the local underground motel, and if travelling by campervan hire or pitching a tent, you may wish to camp at Riba’s - the world’s only underground tourist park.

Coober Pedy, South Australia

Alice Springs, NT

When you say “Australian Outback” many people immediately think of the Northern Territory… and Alice Springs, right in the heart of the country’s Red Centre, is the ultimate outback town!

Much more than a small desert township in the middle of nowhere, Alice is rich with outback pioneer history, Indigenous culture and surrounded by some of the most beautiful Australian landscapes.

The Alice Springs Desert Park allows visitors to explore enchanting outback landscapes. The parks Nocturnal House will have you marvelling at the native wildlife, and the knowledgeable Indigenous guides will inspire you with insight into ancient Aboriginal culture.

The Royal Flying Doctors original base was founded here in 1939, and is still a working centre today. Their location is open to visitors, who can tour their museum and explore their interactive exhibits, which provide insight into the crucial service that they provide to remote regions of Australia.

For an up-close native animal encounter, the local Kangaroo Sanctuary cares for orphaned joeys, and their guided sunset tours provide the perfect bushland setting.

The Telegraph Station is the earliest point of settlement by European pioneers in Alice Springs, and was established here in 1871 as a means to relay messages to Adelaide and Darwin. A must-do historical attraction on your visit to Alice, and a great way to immerse yourself in the region’s history. Guided tours also discuss and educate on Stolen Generation history, a horrendous part of the early 1900’s Bungalow era.

Alice Springs, Northern Territory

Kalgoorlie, WA

Western Australia’s answer to a genuine outback experience can be found in the desert oasis that is Kalgoorlie.

Home to the largest mine in Australia, and the centre of WA’s Goldfields, Kalgoorlie is the largest of any outback settlement in the Country. Take a tour of The Superpit to see the running of an enormous open pit gold mine, or simply enjoy the free view from the public lookout.

Gain insight into the region’s history when you visit the Museum of the Goldfields, explore their showcase of Eastern goldfield chronicle, and discover their role in Western Australia’s progress. To have your own gold rush experience, visit Hannans North Tourist Mine and try your hand at panning for gold.

For something a little left of centre (and for 18+ visitors only), join an eye-opening tour of Questa Casa “The Pink House”. Not only is it the oldest brothel in Australia, but perhaps the oldest brothel worldwide that is still working.

Kalgoorlie, Western Australia

Winton, QLD

Famous for its extensive pre-historic history, the small outback Queensland town of Winton is the dinosaur capital of Australia.

At the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum, visitors can marvel at the immense amount of dinosaur fossils, the largest collection in Australia. See preserved footprints, life-size dinosaur models and more, either through a self-guided visit or a conducted tour.

Banjo Paterson wrote his famous song “Waltzing Matilda” in the nearby Dagworth Station just outside the town of Winton. His iconic song inspired the Waltzing Matilda Centre, which was built here in 1998. A museum, exhibition space and art gallery are all located in the Centre, and celebrate the iconic anthem plus the region’s history and pioneer way of life.   

Nicknamed “Hollywood of the Outback”, Winton hosts the yearly Outback Film Festival, so for June and July travellers, you will definitely want to book some Festival Passes.

Winton, Queensland

Broken Hill, NSW

Located well and truly in the heart of New South Wales outback, Broken Hill has a long mining history that dates back to the 1800’s.

Australia’s oldest mining town provides an assortment of attractions and for the art aficionado, it contains twice as many art galleries as it does pubs! You sure don’t find that in every outback town.

Having a long record of inspiring creativity, you can explore the works of the late Pro Hart at the Pro Hart Gallery, where you will see many paintings displayed throughout its three floor exhibition.

For an “Outback Heritage Experience”, visit the Royal Flying Doctor Service and partake in a guided tour of their Broken Hill base. The attached museum provides interactive displays, a 44 seat cinema and a souvenir shop, where all profits are donated towards essential RFDS equipment.

The historic architecture of the town creates a charming ambience, and the surrounding landscapes are a diverse mixture of wetlands and desert plains. Take a walk through the Living Desert Sanctuary for some exceptional scenery, and to witness the splendour of an outback sunset.

Broken Hill, New South Wales

Charleville, QLD

With a population that sits below 4000 people, this captivating Outback QLD town is buzzing with country-living ambiance, and provides a variety of attractions.

History fans will jump at the chance to explore a secret base from World War II. The interactive displays allow you to encounter a small taste of daily life, as it was for members of the USA Army who were stationed here in 1943.

Stargazing in the outback provides unobstructed views of the Milky Way, far from city lights and pollution. The Charleville Cosmos Centre is an observatory, with powerful telescopes allowing vivid viewing of the starry night sky in all its brilliance.  

Stop by the Royal Flying Doctor Service Visitor Centre, and learn about the importance of this service for the isolated residents of Queensland’s’ outback.

Animal enthusiasts won’t want to miss the Bilby Experience, allowing you to observe and learn about these unique native marsupials.

If you are interested in the Silo Art Trail, take a drive to the Charleville Water Tower and admire its intricate painting.

Charleville, Queensland

Katherine, WA

The Outback and the Tropics convene at Katherine, the gateway town to Nitmiluk National Park and its renowned Katherine Gorge. Receiving its namesake from the Katharine River which it was built alongside, this outback escape is just a few hours’ drive south from Darwin.

Have an authentic Aboriginal cultural experience at Top Didj; enjoy stories about growing up in the bush, partake in the ancient skill of fire lighting and learn the Indigenous painting techniques.

For some pioneer history, World War II knowledge and insight into this unique place, visit The Katherine Museum, a not-for-profit organisation who are passionate about their township.

The extended region of Katherine is teeming with natural wonders, from thermal hot springs, cascading waterfalls to remarkable caves and cliffs.

Katherine, Northern Territory

Posted By Leila

Updated : 16th June 2022 | Words : 1343 | Views : 1723

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Alice Springs
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