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Treasure Hunting in Australia’s Outback


Australia is a country most travelers merely sip, sampling the popular tourist attractions without straying too far from the ocean. Its celebrated east coast captures all the attention, and deservedly so, from the Great Barrier Reef to Surfers Paradise and the Gold Coast to the beautiful Sydney Harbour and Melbourne’s cosmopolitan splendor.

Travel agents, who know Australia well enough to throw a boomerang with pinpoint accuracy, urge their clients to grasp the sheer vastness of this country. Roughly the same size as the continental

The Outback is a living, breathing entity, defining Australia like a skeleton defines the human form. Many dismiss it as just a desert, which is akin to calling the Rockies just a bunch of hills. The Outback is a desert, a home and a journey. It is a canvas painted sunburnt orange-red during days when the heat bends the air, changing to soft purple at night when the skies dazzle with light from the entire universe.

The Kimberley region of Western Australia is one of the world’s last great wildernesses. This remote area of rugged ranges with deep, spectacular gorges and unspoiled beaches is the quintessential Australian landscape of red earth, rock, gum trees, crocodiles, wallabies, and blue skies. Take a four-wheel drive tour to Wolfe Creek crater—the second largest meteorite crater in the world spanning 850 meters across—or cruise the coastline to Whirlpool Pass, Horizontal Falls, and the magnificent King Cascades.

One of the highlights of the Kimberley is the Bungle Bungle Range in Purnululu National Park. A stunning collection of beehive-shaped geological formations arrayed in alternating bands of orange, black and green, the Bungle Bungles were a local secret from the world until discovered in the 1980s. Now thousands flock to behold the wondrous artistry of that sculptor known as Time.

Heading south, a magnetic force will draw you to the very heart of the Outback: Uluru. Once known as Ayer’s Rock, Uluru is the largest monolith in the world, holding Australia in place amidst the oceans. Almost 2.2 miles long, the great, moody rock provides the perfect backdrop for the setting sun, spectacularly changing colors from pink to blood-red to mauve.

Off the coast of South Australia near Adelaide, Kangaroo Island has a wild, untouched beauty kept safe from overdevelopment. Civilization and wilderness meet in harmony, and sea lions, penguins, dolphins, koalas and kangaroos live in a natural environment. Add a rugged coastline with a sprinkling of secluded bays and magnificent beaches, and Kangaroo Islands is hopping with possibility.

From Darwin to Adelaide, this middle slice of Australia provides a scope of natural beauty unseen in any other single country. One way to see it all in just a few days is to take the legendary Ghan train. Travel through vast sheep and cattle stations, ancient mountain ranges,, and over the red baked earth of the Great Victoria Desert. Marvel at the spectacular scenery in comfort as you’re transported through the heart of the continent.

The middle of Australia creates an unparalleled sightseeing tour, yet natural wonders abound from coast to coast. From the Pinnacles in the west, the Blue Mountains outside of Sydney or the Twelve Apostles off the Great Ocean Road in the south, Australia is a country undiscovered, unbelievable and unlike any other.

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