There are few places where you can really get away from it all, and in the rugged Red Centre you can find grand nature in vast, empty spaces.
Most travellers to The Red Centre stay in Alice Springs, where you’re a half day’s drive from Australia’s most famous natural landmark, Uluru.
Uluru & Kata Tjuta
Uluru is Australia’s most iconic and sacred Aboriginal site. The ancient monolith has captivated its Aboriginal guardians for thousands of years and the rest of the world since its existence was brought to light in 1873. Perhaps it’s the striking contrast it forms against the featureless desert around it, or perhaps it’s the shifting colours that transfixes visitors who rise early to watch it at sunrise and toast to it at sunset. The rocky domes of Kata Tjuta are also spectacular. Be sure to see the rocks at different times of day, as the light show can be mesmerising.
In the empty landscape of Watarrka National Park, 200 miles from both Alice Springs and Uluru, Kings Canyon is renowned for its 100 metre high, red sandstone walls and spectacular rugged scenery waiting to be explored on foot. The relatively short King Creek Walk is not too challenging (although temperatures can creep over 40˚C), while more experienced walkers can get the best views of the canyon via the more arduous Rim Walk. Other highlights include the aptly named ‘Garden of Eden’, an oasis in the middle of the dry desert.
West MacDonnell Ranges
Just west of Alice Springs, the West MacDonnell Ranges are easy to get to by sealed roads. It’s a natural playground of steep gorges, waterholes and plenty of walking trails.