Touring the Outback Solo

by Catharine
(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

Hi Catharine,

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 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!

Comments for Touring the Outback Solo

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Touring outback solo ... continued.
by: Anonymous

Hi There,

Day 3 is as follows. Thanks :)
Watarrka (Kings Canyon)
Lilla Aboriginal Community
Ernest Giles Road
Hugh River Stock Route
Oak Valley Aboriginal Community

Thanks for your notes. Glad to know that these areas are mostly common routes and safe to do on our own.

Given that we are planning to go there in early September do we need to book ahead at campgrounds in advance?

Are the 4WD tracks obvious roads for the most part? That is, even though it's a less popular destination among tourists, is this an obvious marked road of some sort or really a series of roads that really only a local or a good gps can navigate you through?

One last question, if we do decided to go with a local/tour group (with small group of people) and recommendations???

Thank you kindly.


I updated your entry :-)
by: Birgit

You're welcome. I did update your submission with the correct itinerary and also updated my response accordingly.

September should be reasonable. Most campgrounds don't accept reservations anyway. You could email Ayers Rock Resort and Kings Canyon Resort to ask about that. Those would be the only two places that might take reservations. You can't make reservations anywhere in the MacDonnell Ranges or Palm Valley or similar. If it gets full you just have to squeeze in or move on to a less popular place.

(I love Redbank Gorge to get away a bit in the West Macs, and N'Dhala Gorge in the East Macs. Or Ruby Gap, my favourite place in Central Australia :-).)

Some of those tracks may be rough, but they are all very obvious and sign posted. Of course, I still recommend you take a good map. Also do call in at the Alice Springs Tourist Information to get information leaflets for all the places and updates about the current track conditions.

But you certainly don't need local knowledge or a GPS or anything like that. A good map and a good measure of common sense will do :-).

Re tour groups I am sorry, but I can only repeat what I said on the main page. I am a traveller and not a travel agent. I have nothing to do with the tourism industry whatsoever and I can't help with that kind of thing, other than giving general recommendations what to look for.

Outback solo Alice Springs to Adelaide?
by: Australia2016


I really enjoyed your informative answers while I was researching for my little trip with my father.

Could you tell me (as far as you can do this?) if it's the same kind of circumstances you had answered or is this too much at the end?

I'm kind of an experienced traveller (Europe, USA, Ashia and Africa) but have never been in Australia. I do have some outback experiences and have a driver license. My father is 65 years old and full of energy. I mean, are there any areas you just can get lost, out of service, any wildlife or climate knowledge better to know, stuff like that?

Thank you in advance, buddy.

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