Caressed by ochre coloured sand dunes, the sun dips on another day. Welcome to Australia’s outback. A great deal of Australia’s outback was once filled by an ancient inland sea. It was home to dinosaurs, sumptuous rain forests and a completely different landscape to the one you see today.
Memories of Australia’s outback for you may be fringed with poems and by tales of heroic droving feats where dusty tracks lead the only way west. However, today sealed roads guide you to many a famous destination forged in this iconic landscape.
Stand at the bar next to a drover and hear stories of courageous and exciting journeys or converse with the publican, who may have once been on the road on horseback himself.
Australia is the only place you can drive from the shores of the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef to the outback in a day. Gone are the days of this being a pioneering frontier. The outback is accessible to everyone.
A drive or tour into this remote and enchanting land should not be rushed. Take the time to meet the locals by visiting an event such as a rodeo or camp draft or simply pull up for a cold lemonade, cup of tea or a beer at the local pub. Along with the post office, the pub is the best place for up-to-date community news.
Drive slow, and pull off the road for those big, long road trains transporting some of Australia’s finest organic beef to market. They are the modern day drover and you will be rewarded with a big wave. Like the drovers of days gone by, those that travel these roads slow and stop for a chat will be rewarded. The Australian outback is one filled with extraordinary people, places and yarns you’ll be re-telling for many years once back home. •
Photography by Danielle Lancaster.
Danielle currently uses a Nikon D4 and D3 with three lenses: Nikon 70-200mm 2.8, Nikon 24-70mm 2.8 and 18-35mm. Another favourite lens is the Nikon 105mm. Danielle was the winner of the Nikon Walkley Queensland Award 2013 and is the author of travel books including Best 4WD Tracks around Queensland and Out around the Bulloo.