For those who just do not look just how big Australia is the concept of the outback and its wilderness is probably going to really surprise you. Imagine the population of Manila in the Philippines which is estimated about 25 million people, which is is more than the population of the whole Australia.
The Australian Outback .. 6.5 million square kilometres of it (or 2.5 million square miles), inhabited by less than 60,000 people.
It’s impossible to answer the question “Where is the Australian Outback?”, because it is not a precise location. The term Outback is used to describe the emptiness, remoteness, and the huge distances of inland Australia, and the fact that most people still don’t know much about it…
You will find that not all Australians talk about “the Outback”. The further away from the cities we live, the less we are inclined to call it the Outback.
Australians talk about “the bush” when they refer to wilderness areas outside the cities. As they move further and further away from what they know as the bush, they eventually cross some invisible line and find themselves in the Outback, the part of Australia they don’t know, the harsh and unforgiving interior.
The Red Centre
The most popular Australian Outback is Ayers Rock, famous worldwide for the Dingo and baby story. This awe inspiring monolith is located about 440 km south west of Alice Springs, also known as the “capital of the Outback” (despite the fact that the population is only about 30,000, give or take a few).
Alice Springs itself sits right in the middle of the Australian continent, as far away as possible from every major city, and every coast. The 3000 km band of bitumen dissects the continent and the Red Centre, connecting Adelaide in the south with Darwin in the north, with Alice Springs awaiting you half way.
The outback’s history
Exploration into the outback by early pioneers to Australia was limited, with most settlements being established around the coastal regions (even today, fewer than 10% of Australians live in non-coastal areas).
However, by the 1860s several expeditions had been made, with varying degrees of success. The most accomplished expedition was led by John McDouall Stuart who managed to traverse the continent from Adelaide to the north coast and back again. This expedition laid the groundwork for the Overland Telegraph route, which ultimately helped connect all of Australia’s far-flung corners.
The outback has long been inhabited by Australian Aborigine, an ancient people deeply connected to the earth and the wildlife. Nowadays the outback is still the home of many indigenous people who inhabit large allocated communities such as Pitjantjatjara and Warlpiri in Central Australia.
Uluru and other attractions
Australia’s outback is home to some remarkable natural sights, which have contributed to creating its profitable tourist industry. Uluru, or Ayers Rock as it is jointly named, is probably the most commonly recognised outback icon and is seen by many visitors to Australia.
Listed as a World Heritage Site, Uluru is a sandstone formation that rises out of the flat red outback floor to stand 348m high. It is sacred to two Aboriginal tribes and is decorated with many ancient cave paintings around its base. Uluru takes on a glowing, magical beauty in the light of dawn and dusk.
Uluru is not the only outback tourist highlight. In fact, along with mining and farming, tourism is now the outback’s most viable economic venture. Other popular sights include Katherine Gorge, Alice Springs, the Nullabor, the Kimberleys, Kakadu, Arnhem Land and the Olgas.
Scientists have discovered two deep scars in the earth’s crust in outbackAustralia that are believed to mark the remains of a meteorite crater with a 250-mile diameter – the largest ever found.
The scars are each more than 120 miles in diameter and are believed to mark the spot where a meteorite split into two, moments before it slammed into earth.
The impact is believed to have occurred more than 300 million years ago.
Scientists discovered a scar from the meteorite five years ago – it was then thought to be from the third largest crater ever found – but now say there are two sets of remains.
Dr Andrew Glikson, from the Australian National University, said the structures could have resulted from a single meteorite which split.