Touring the Outback Solo
(Cambridge, Ontario, Canada)
My husband and I are interested in knowing if it's possible and safe for us to camp in the Outback on our own? As we are coming from abroad, where could we purchase camping supplies (tent, sleeping bags, stove, etc) as we set up from Alice Springs for 5 days.
We found that following itinerary offered by a touring company but we are fairly independent travellers and are curious if this is just as easy for us to do it alone?
Day 1: Stuarts Well, Mt Ebenezer Roadhouse, Mt Connor (view), Ayers Rock Resort, Cultural Centre, Uluru, Base Walk/Climb or Kuniya Walk, Sunset at Uluru.
Day 2: Uluru / Kata Tjuta Sunrise, Kata Tjuta, Ayers Rock Resort, Curtin Springs Station, Kings Creek Station.
Day3: Watarrka (Kings Canyon), Lilla Aboriginal Community, Ernest Giles Road, Hugh River Stock Route, Oak Valley Aboriginal Community.
Day4: Hugh River Stock Route, Owen Springs Reserve, Ormiston Gorge, Glen Helen, Bush Camp
Day5: Gosse Bluff (view), Hermannsberg, Aboriginal Community, Palm Valley, Alice Springs
The cost to do this tour is approx. $725/person. Alternatively, are there better deals with good quality tour guides?
Response to: Touring the Outback Solo
Most of what you have on the list there are very touristy areas. "The outback" is not what you see in Survivor. Central Australia is dry and the distances are large, but it isn't dangerous. Depending on the time of the year it may also be very busy. The Alice Springs area
is packed with tourists form May to September.
You most certainly can do a 5 day trip on your own. However, in that case you may not want follow the itinerary above.
I am not familiar with the two Aboriginal communities the tour visits. I dare say you would need a special permission to access those.
It also depends on the vehicle you hire and how comfortable you are with a 4WD.
The Hugh River Stock Route and the track into Palm Valley are definitely 4WD only tracks. If you never sat in a 4WD before this may not be for you. But of course that are great destinations and there would be less people there than at the more obvious attractions. It sounds like a very good tour.
If you'd drive yourself, the obvious route for inexperienced drivers would be day 1 to 3 as above (Uluru/Olgas
and Kings Canyon), and then the Mereenie Loop Road
to the West MacDonnell Ranges
and two days there. Or a day in the West MacDonnells and a day in the East MacDonnell Ranges
. That is something you could easily do yourself.
It depends what is more important to you: being independent or seeing some really out of the way places.
You should be able to hire camping gear in Alice, together with the vehicle. I am just a traveller, not a travel agent, so for tours and car hire etc. I can't help you with specific companies. What I do know is that thousands of people do this every year so it is no problem. The Alice Springs Visitor Centre (ring 08 8952 5800 or 1800 645 199 or email: visinfo AT catia.asn.au) should be able to help you with that.
I also suggest you get a good map (a real physical map) of the area to get a better idea of the distances and the locations involved.
Hope that helps some!