Australia's Extraordinary Red Centre
Australia’s Red Centre was recently named #4 in Lonely Planet’s Top Regions to Travel in 2019, and we couldn’t be happier (or prouder)! Many Australians often don’t consider their own backyard when choosing their next holiday destination, but the Northern Territory holds some of the most spectacular and unique natural landscapes in the world. Home to the iconic Uluru, Kata Tjuta, MacDonnell Ranges and Kings Canyon, the Red Centre provides truly unforgettable outback experiences that will make you fully appreciate this amazing country that we call home and often take for granted.
So, you may be wondering what, or where the Red Centre is exactly…
The Red Centre is the huge southern desert outback region of the Northern Territory, consisting of just two cities, Alice Springs, the central hub of the region, and Yulara, which is the service station you arrive at before entering the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. The fiery red dirt and sun-drenched desert environment encompassing the region contributes to the ‘Red’ being in the name, while the ‘Centre’ is derived from the fact that it is located in the very centre of Australia.
If you feel that despite having lived in the ‘Land Down Under’ your whole life, you have never had a truly authentic outback experience, then a trip to Central Australia will change that completely – the red dirt and the unique and unbelievable natural wonders and wildlife will make you feel right at home and we promise it will become a destination you will want to visit again and again.
Further to all of this, the ancient indigenous culture of the Anangu Aboriginal people and their connection to the region is what makes the Red Centre such a sacred and deeply spiritual place, and increasingly, people from all around the world are visiting the region to learn more about what is believed to be the oldest surviving culture in the world.
Our top picks which are also some of our most popular tour destinations include these must-see highlights and hidden gems:
1. Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
The World Heritage Listed National Park is home to Uluru, easily one of the most notable natural wonders in the world, and Kata Tjuta, the group of 36 ancient red rock formations spread over an area of more than 20 kilometres.
2. Kings Canyon
Located about 3 hours from Uluru is the lesser known but equally extraordinary Kings Canyon, the majestic chasm that was formed over millions of years of erosion, slicing the earth 270 metres deep. The Canyon is best explored by foot and is truly a bushwalker or hiker’s dream destination – the landscape is filled with waterholes, palm forests, native animals and an amazing array of native flora.
See it on: Kings Canyon Scenic Climb Day Tour
3. West MacDonnell Ranges
This vast and spectacular section of the MacDonnell ranges is 161km from Alice Springs and is an amazing example of an ancient landscape that has been sculpted over time by the elements and the climate. It is home to Simpsons Gap, Standley Chasm, Ellery Creek and Ormiston Gorge that are all remarkable scenic sights in their own regard. Best explored by foot with an AAT Kings Travel Director to share their expert knowledge around the history and cultural significance of the area.
Explore it on: West MacDonnell Ranges Day Tour
4. Alice Springs
This charming remote town is the gateway to the Red Centre and is situated roughly in the Australia’s geographic centre. ‘Alice’ is often the base for exploring the surrounding natural landscape like the MacDonnell ranges, however it is a unique and exciting destination to explore on its own.
Start exploring our Alice Springs tours
5. Palm Valley
This hidden gem is one of the most impressive destinations in the Red Centre and is home to a diverse range of rare plants, many of which are unique to the area. It is truly a natural paradise and is best explored in an AAT Kings 4WD vehicle for a true Aussie outback experience.
Experience it: Palm Valley Outback Safari by 4WD
We offer a wide range of Red Centre tours to match any travel style. If you are more of a DIY traveller but you are in love with the idea of enjoying a BBQ dinner as the sun sets over Uluru, then our half day Uluru Sunset with Aussie BBQ Dinner is pretty much perfect. Or if you would like to have someone take care of everything for you, then our Guided Holidays or Short Breaks are the ideal way to fully enjoy the outback experience without having to worry about how you will get around, or how to get your luggage from your ride to your hotel room in the 35+ degree heat.
However you experience the Red Centre, we know it will be an unforgettable holiday and one that will make you appreciate our beautiful country.