I traveled extensively throughout Australia during my four months studying abroad in college. Out of everything I did “Down Under,” the most uniquely Australian trip I took was my visit to the Australian Outback. As a nature-lover, nothing is more iconic than the Outback and I’m so glad I could realize my lifelong dream by exploring this vast, remote and beautiful landscape.
While I was studying abroad and working in Australia (at SBS Television) through the Boston University Internship Program, I lived in Sydney after arriving on Air New Zealand. On the long weekends, most of my classmates took trips together, but going to the Australian Outback wasn’t on anyone else’s list of destinations. I didn’t let that stop me and decided to take the trip by myself flying from Sydney to Alice Springs. I explored Alice Springs before and after my Outback tour by walking around town, going four-wheeling and enjoying a sunset camel ride.
Since I was traveling alone, I booked a tour through a company called Adventure Tours Australia. There are a variety of companies that offer different ways to explore the Australian Outback, and I chose a 3-day tour that was exactly what I wanted.
DAY 1: ALICE SPRINGS – KATA TJUTA – ULURU
I was picked up in Alice Springs from my hostel. I remember boarding the minivan, looking around and realizing I was the only American. This was a first for me and I loved it. From Alice Springs we made our way to Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) where we hiked through the gorgeous rock formations. We then headed to Uluru (Ayers Rock) for sunset, a truly surreal experience. At night we ended up in sleeping bags under the stars.
If you go to the Australian Outback you MUST spend a night sleeping under the stars. This was the best night of my entire Aussie experience. I was in complete awe of the gorgeous sky the entire night. It felt like I was staring at glitter glued to a black ceiling. I saw countless shooting stars and fell asleep thinking it was all a dream.
DAY 2: ULURU – KINGS CANYON
As beautiful as the sunset was at Uluru, the sunrise was just as stunning. Waking up early to see the silhouetted rock formation slowly transform and glow with the rising sun was majestic. After sunrise, we had the option to explore Uluru and the surrounding area. With several travelers in my group, I hiked to the top of Uluru, which was breathtaking. Staring out into the Australian Outback from one of the highest points put into perspective how massive it really was and how Uluru’s existence was truly a phenomenon. From Uluru, we then headed toward a campsite near Kings Canyon where we again slept under the stars.
DAY 3: KINGS CANYON – ALICE SPRINGS
Our last day was spent hiking Kings Canyon, which was gorgeous and reminded me of the Grand Canyon. From there we said goodbye to the Outback and headed back to Alice Springs. Upon our arrival, I checked out a kangaroo rescue center and ended the night partying with my tour group.
My trip to the Australian Outback was a while ago so I recommend checking Agoda for Alice Springs.
This was my first solo backpacking trip ever and it changed how I travel forever. As a 21-year-old college student, most of my peers traveled in groups. When no one in my program expressed interest in visiting the Australian Outback I didn’t allow it to stop my dream. Instead, I decided to go by myself and experienced how amazing it can be to travel alone. I was nervous I’d feel lonely, but was surprised to say I never felt alone. Traveling solo took me out of my comfort zone and forced me to instantly connect with people from all over the world. To this day, I can distinctly remember our first lunch on the tour. I heard people conversing in so many different languages, but everyone still managed to find a way to communicate and work together as one team. It was amazing how all of these strangers quickly became friends. After this experience, I’ve never been afraid to travel alone and often prefer it. I’m grateful this opportunity opened my eyes to the power of solo travel.