The Australian Outback is much more than a vast, arid hinterland within the inner regions of the country down under. There is both an extraordinary physical beauty, exquisite in its isolation, as well as a tangible spiritual energy that binds together the land and the people.
It is a place filled with stories, myths and legends, a remote wilderness that encourages the exploration of both the landscape and the soul. The sand and stone are the colours of fiery ochre, dominant amongst the greens and browns of the sometimes sparse vegetation. Golden sunsets illuminate rivers that course through great canyons, arrow straight road vanish into the heat haze on the horizon, with the immense landscape dotted with national parks and spiritual landmarks, none more recognisable than Uluru, a towering red monolith in the heart of the Northern Territory.
With an ancient past steeped in Aboriginal history and lore, it is a bastion of mystical energy and a cultural landmark of sacred significance to the indigenous peoples. Guides who are tasked with curating this epic sandstone will be able to tell you narratives of the Dreamtime, the Aboriginal understanding of the world and its many tales of the Ancestor Beings.
The great smooth sides of the rock often hide small pools of water and great crevasses in its natural visage. The huge domed summit can be seen from miles around, stark against the surrounding flatlands and bush. Changing colour under different lights, from deep purple to a bright red, it embodies the surreal world and magical connection of the Outback.
When to go
The best time to visit Uluru and the Outback is between April and October. The weather is cooler, making it easier and safer to walk, and the colours of the rock are more vibrant.
The Red Centre of Australia is like nowhere I have ever been. It is such a sacred, magical place, made even more spectacular by the Field of Light installation that currently surrounds Uluru. My favourite experience was riding a camel to watch the sunset and seeing all the changing colours of the rock as the sun goes down.