Unusual Things You Might See When Driving Through Australia’s Red Centre

Unusual Things You Might See When Driving Through Australia’s Red Centre

I love driving through Australia’s Red Centre; the orange earth contrasting brightly with the stark blue sky. You can drive for miles without seeing another vehicle, feeling as if you’re on intrepid adventure in a far off country, as opposed to driving through the middle of the one you currently live in.

If you keep your eyes peeled you might spot an few interesting things as you traverse Central Australia.

  • Bright orange roads – some unsealed for over 100 kilometres and only suitable for off-road vehicles.
Follow the orange earthed road

Follow the orange earthed road

  • The Vegemite tree – I always wondered where that strange tasting paste came from 🙂
Apparently Vegemite grows on trees

Apparently Vegemite grows on trees

  • The lonely wayside inn – hundreds of kilometres from anywhere, Curtin Springs is a welcome sight on the drive from Uluru to Kings Canyon. The toilet may be full of moths (seriously – 1 fell on my toilet roll) but the bar is your chance to buy alcohol, fuel and a Golden Gaytime before driving for several hours more. Also take time to check out the decor in this place – the bar is filled with quirky memorabilia, quotes and details about the million+ acre, family-run farm that the Curtin Springs resort sits on.
Quirky Curtin Springs

Quirky Curtin Springs

Don't mind the moths

Don’t mind the moths

  • Have you been ‘Fuluru-ed?’ Mount Connor is known as Fuluru for its deceptive familiarity to its famous cousin Uluru/Ayers Rock. On my first visit to Uluru, which we drove to from Alice Springs, I fully fell for it. This time around I was much more aware of the differences between the two. Interestingly you can do helicopter rides over and onto Mount Connor, bookable via the good folk at Curtin Springs.
Mount Connor a.k.a Fuluru

Mount Connor a.k.a Fuluru

Poo with a view

Poo with a view

  • Dry salt lakes – just behind the Mount Connor lookout is a sand dune, which will give you an incredible panoramic view of some of the dry salt lakes in the Red Centre. It’s mind-boggling to see all that white amongst the miles of orange.
Dry Salt Lakes

Dry Salt Lakes near Mount Connor

Dune viewing near Mount Connor

View from the dune viewing platform near Mount Connor

  • Protected land – some roads in the Northern Territory are not drivable without a permit from the Aboriginal land owners. If you plan to take the Mereenie Loop Road from Alice to Kings Canyon apply for an Aboriginal Land Pass in Alice Springs beforehand.
The road from Uluru to WA requires a permit

The road from Uluru to WA requires a permit

  • Wildlife – or lack thereof. Despite there being a reported 750,000 camels roaming wild in the outback we came across not a single one. Not even a roo hopped into our path. It was a bit disappointing really.
Where are all the animals?

Where are all the animals?

  • Signage – or lack thereof. The National Parks are well signposted but outside of that you just keep going straight in the hope it leads you somewhere with food and beds before nightfall.
The most signage you will see in the Red Centre

The most signage you will see in the Red Centre

  • And finally you’ll see lots of floodways – which I don’t get at all. It looks like they haven’t seen water in years!
Define 'floodway' exactly?!

Define ‘floodway’ exactly?!

Have you ever spotted anything unusual on a drive through Australia’s Red Centre?

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14 Comments

  1. October 20, 2015 / 7:42 am

    I think that for the rest of my life, that particular shade of bright orange will always take me back to Australia! There’s a lot of that around Broome where I’m living these days as well. Sorry to hear you didn’t see any animals — can’t believe even a wallaby didn’t pop up!

    • Jayne Gorman
      Author
      October 20, 2015 / 7:45 am

      Ha me neither, I had my eyes peeled and everything! Can’t wait to visit Broome one day. I feel the same as you about the colour always reminding me of Australia.

  2. October 20, 2015 / 11:53 pm

    Oh wow, I’ve never travelling around the centre of Australia (although I’m dying to!). It looks so beautiful – that red dirt, wow! Incredible, that doesn’t look like Australia to me.
    Chalsie x
    Wayfare | Travel and Life Blog

    • Jayne Gorman
      Author
      October 21, 2015 / 7:02 am

      It is so different from the coast isn’t it? Sometimes I felt like I was in Africa – or on Mars!!

  3. October 26, 2015 / 4:45 pm

    Hi Jane,
    I haven’t yet been to the red centre of Australia but we once came across an emu at some toilets in the northern territories,who was far too interested in us for me and my daughter to leave the car to go but my husband and son ran the gauntlet with it hot on their heels. It was really good fun! 🙂

    • Jayne Gorman
      Author
      October 27, 2015 / 1:02 am

      Hahah what a brilliant and bizarre story. I’d be scared to get out of the car too 🙂

  4. November 18, 2015 / 4:36 am

    I can vouch for the floodways! On my second trip to Uluru, we were gifted with endless rain. Not only did we get to see Uluru streaked with rain, but Kata Tjuta had waterfalls everywhere. And you should have heard the thunder between the domes. As far as the floodways go… the roads were so badly flooded that Kings Canyon was shut down and we had to find a detour around the roads we couldn’t make it through! Incredible, frustrating, and memorable.

    • Jayne Gorman
      Author
      November 18, 2015 / 7:49 am

      This is so interesting to hear as it’s so different to our experience. It sounds incredible though. I feel like I should go back and see it in the rain and you should have a chance to see it dry. (Or maybe you did first time around?!)

      • November 19, 2015 / 3:50 am

        Yes! My first trip there was all sunshine and blue skies, which was also amazing. It took me a little while to get on board with the rain on my second trip– and it turned out to be even more memorable than the first. Two vastly different experiences in the same place. I wonder what my third visit (should I get the chance) will be like! 😉

  5. Yana
    January 4, 2016 / 4:14 am

    What time of the year did were you there? I’m thinking of going sometime in 2016.

    • Jayne Gorman
      Author
      January 4, 2016 / 3:46 pm

      I’ve been in November and May which were both good times to go temperature wise. November had far less flies though!

  6. September 12, 2017 / 7:08 am

    Beautiful photos, the Mereenie Loop road is a stunning road to take. This really is the heart of Australia country ❤️

  7. Jayne Gorman
    Author
    September 12, 2017 / 7:10 am

    Thank you! Despite being terrified of all the creepy crawlies I do find this part of OZ completely magical.

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