• Broken Hill (NSW): There's no better place to experience real Outback life than in Broken Hill. There's the city itself, with its thriving art scene and the Royal Flying Doctor service; a historic ghost town on its outskirts; a national park with Aboriginal wall paintings; an opal mining town nearby; and plenty of kangaroos, emus, and giant wedge-tailed eagles.
  • Lightning Ridge (NSW): This opal-mining town is as rough-and-ready as the stones the miners pull out of the ground. Meet amazing characters, share in the eccentricity of the place, and visit opal-rush areas with molehill scenery made by the old sun-bleached mine tailings.
  • Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park (NT): Uluru will enthrall you with its eerie beauty. Nearby Kata Tjuta is equally interesting, so make the time to wander through the Valley of the Winds. Hike around Uluru's base, burn around it on a Harley-Davidson, saunter up to it on a camel . . . but don't climb it. Don't go home until you've felt the powerful heartbeat of the desert.
  • The MacDonnell Ranges (NT): The Aborigines say these red rocky hills were formed by the Aboriginal "Caterpillar Dreaming" that wriggled from the earth here. To the west of Alice Springs are dramatic gorges, idyllic (and bloody cold) water holes, and cute wallabies. To the east are Aboriginal rock carvings and the Ross River Homestead, where you can crack a cattle whip, throw a boomerang, feast on damper and billy tea, and ride a horse or camel in the bush..
  • Kings Canyon (NT): Anyone who saw the cult flick The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert will remember the scene in which the transvestites climb a soaring orange cliff and survey the desert floor. That was Kings Canyon, in Watarrka National Park, about 320km (198 miles) from Alice Springs in one direction, with Uluru in the other. Trek the dramatic rim or take the easier shady route along the bottom.
  • "Inside Australia" (WA): "Inside Australia" provides a modern take on the Outback, with 51 metal figures scattered across Lake Ballard, a broad, dry salt lake set in rough desert country. About 55km (34 miles) west of Menzies along a gravel road, British sculptor Antony Gormley (of "Angel of the North" fame) created this unique installation based on computer scans of the Menzies residents.
  • The Gibb River Road (WA): The Kimberley is remote, rough, and rugged, and this bone-shaker is its only road. Driving here takes you through dramatic red ranges and past gloriously cool and welcoming falls and waterholes. Facilities are few and far between, other than outlying Aboriginal communities and million-acre-plus cattle stations.
  • Coober Pedy (SA): It may be hot and dusty, but you'll get a true taste of the Outback when you tag along with the local mail carrier as he makes his rounds to the area's remote cattle stations (ranches). It's a 12-hour, 600km (372-mile) journey along sun-baked dirt roads.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.