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.
- The Vegemite tree – I always wondered where that strange tasting paste came from 🙂
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
Have you ever spotted anything unusual on a drive through Australia’s Red Centre?