13 ADVENTUROUS THINGS TO DO IN THE AUSSIE OUTBACK
The Australian outback is a place like no other. An endless sea of red sand flows beneath your feet while the scorching Aussie sun bears down. There are few harsher places in the world. However, huge drawcards such as Uluru have brought tourism down under and out into the Aussie Outback. I recently ventured out into the middle of Australia on the adventure of a lifetime getting after some adventurous things to do in Uluru and awesome experiences in Alice Springs.
During one week in the Aussie outback, I woke up for sunrise every day and made the most of my time in the red center. These are the adrenaline-filled adventures I got up to.
For information on all things adventure in the Northern Territory you can visit their official website by clicking here.
This is a short video from my outback adventure.
13 Adventurous things to do in Uluru
Uluru is one of the largest rock formations in the world and one of Australia’s most iconic landmarks. The UNESCO World Heritage site is incredibly sacred and important to the traditional Aboriginal landowners. Most of the things to do in Uluru center around the rock. I had a few days in the area and stayed at Sails in the Desert.
Sunrise Camel ride with Uluru view
As the sun broke the horizon we were slowly making our way through the colorful dunes just across the way from Uluru. We woke an hour before the sunrise and by the time we hopped on the back of the camel to form our camel train, the outback landscape was already being painted in pastels. We slowly meandered through the shrubs and dunes, our eyes ever-locked on Uluru as it changed tones with the rising sun. The camels were incredibly friendly and loved being pet. This was one of the most relaxing things to do in Uluru and a great way to start the day.
On my first night in Uluru, we headed just out of the national park and found a viewpoint overlooking the dunes and straight towards Uluru. While the sun actually sets in the opposite direction over Kata Tjuta, this is a great spot to witness the color change of Uluru as the sun goes down. Me being me, I decided to liven up our viewpoint with some downhill dune-hopping action.
Is there a more adventurous way to thing to do in Uluru than jump out of a plane trying to get the best vantage point? The answer is no. We bundled out of the plane after flying directly over Uluru and after the adrenaline slowly settled, the views were off the charts. Uluru definitely looks spectacularly different from the air. The landscape was much greener than I expected and it almost didn’t look like the desert.
Bike riding around the base of Uluru
Many of us adventurers aren’t blessed with deep wallets. We search out the best value for money experiences we can find. For me, bike riding around the base is the cheapest way to get the most up close and personal experience with the iconic rock while still getting the blood flowing. It’s 15km in total around the base and by choosing a bike, you experience each small crack, ridge, and cave on the walls of Uluru. Signs along the way give you a brief history and insight into the significance of Uluru as well as alerting you to the sensitive areas, which you are not allowed to photograph.
Field of Lights
The field of lights is an attraction that will blow your mind. Acclaimed artist, Bruce Munro, has created an installation of 50,000 solar lights. The lights form an epic blanket of colors, emulating a sunset below Uluru. You can walk through the lights or enjoy the spectacle from the hilltop. If you spin around you will also get epic views of Kata Tjuta as the sun falls in the background.
Things to do along the journey from Uluru to Alice Springs
At the crack of dawn, we rolled out of bed, weary-eyed from our sunrise adventures in Uluru. We had driven to Kings Canyon the day before and were now heading up to Kings Canyon. The 45-minute hike leads you to a natural wonder. The canyon winds as far as the eye can see, eventually bending out of sight. This spot is out of this world during sunrise as the light slowly creeps through the canyon. We hung out here for hours marveling at the rock formations.
Cruising the Aussie outback roads
Part of the fun of the outback is cruising the red roads and leaving a trail of dust behind you. We threw up the drone and followed ourselves for a while in what felt like the middle of nowhere!
Ellery Creek is the Australian version of an Oasis. We left the red, dirt track and headed on a short stroll into the bush. All the while we walked alongside a sandy bank, wondering where this magical waterhole might be. Before we knew it, we had arrived at the outback beach! Sandbanks and gum trees surrounded a peaceful waterhole, which is a favorite of the locals from Alice Springs. A few mini-cliff jumps and antics at the waterhole before we had a serious chill in the sun made this one of my favorite moments of the trip.
Glenhelen Camping Site and Waterhole
There’s no better way to experience the Aussie outback than to spend the night camping out after roasting some marshmallows on the bonfire. Glenhelen campground was a really comfortable way to get outdoors. The tents were already set up for us with electricity available and a bonfire. It wasn’t glamping but we certainly weren’t roughing it.
The beauty of Glenhelen is the waterhole. Only a couple of minutes walk from the campsite is one of the most beautiful waterholes in the country. Despite how amazing it is, we were the only people there to enjoy it! We found a rope swing along the sandy banks, enjoyed the epic reflections and I even found a couple of epic spots to do some cliff-jumping.
Ellery Creek Big Hole
Ellery Creek is another epic waterhole on the journey from Uluru to Alice Springs. Huge cliffs on either side give an epic backdrop to a sandbar that juts out from the right side of the waterhole. We had a scenic picnic before having a dip in the chilly water, even finding some pretty gnarly spots to jump from.
Adventurous things to do in Alice Springs
Open-door Helicopter of MacDonnell Ranges
It was my first open-door helicopter ride and it lived up to my expectations. I thought a chopper ride in the desert might reveal a vast red plain but instead, we flew over the MacDonnell Ranges. We flew low over ridges as the sun, having just risen, clipped the ranges beautifully. Legs hanging out the door and the wind blowing my bandana off my head, this was one of the highlights of the trip and my favorite thing to do in Alice Springs.
Sunrise Hot-air balloon ride
High up in the air, floating over Alice Springs, watching the sunrise on the horizon from the comfort of our basket was the most majestic morning of my trip. If you are looking to take in Alice Springs and enjoy the desert experience this is one of the best things to do in Alice Springs. We left the hotel bright and early, bundled into our basket and off we went. We were blessed with a sunrise for the books and had a champagne in the middle of nowhere after a safe but rocky landing.
Earth Sanctuary Experience
The Earth Sanctuary boys are the most Aussie blokes on the planet. Three brothers run the Earth Sanctuary, which is a hub of amazing experiences. They have built an eco-village in the middle of the dunes just out of Alice Springs town. After 17 years they have grown their property to include an observatory, multiple eco-dome homes, restaurant and learning center. The boys have had their own television show, hosted celebrities and run tours showing their love of the land and educating visitors about its rich history. We enjoyed a three-course Aussie barbecue, tried out hand at making damper, spear throwing, looked at the moon through their telescope and learned about Aboriginal culture. If you are looking for an authentic experience this is definitely got to be on your list of things to do in Alice Springs.