Outback Australia is more accessible than you might think. Contrary to popular belief, a four-wheel drive is not essential for exploring some of the best places that the Red Centre has to offer. While you should undoubtedly steer clear of four-wheel drive tracks if you don’t have an appropriate vehicle, sealed and well-maintained roads connect most of Australia.
Camping in the outback often means bush camping, and these camp sites are usually free or require a very minimal fee. Choosing a place to stay can be a daunting task, but smartphone apps such as WikiCamps Australia, Roadtrippers and Camps Australia Wide can help you find a safe and secure place to stay.
WikiCamps Australia is the most popular camping app in Australia, and for good reason – it provides you with a mapped selection of every Australian camping site, as well as reviews left by other app users for each site. You can also download sections of the map for when you don’t have reception, which is a common occurrence in regional areas. The reviews and comments left by other app users are invaluable, particularly for first-time visitors. The app also provides information on attractions, service stations and areas that have mobile reception. Keep in mind that there are general etiquette rules that apply at every camp site. As the saying goes: ‘Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints.’
A reliable car is essential when travelling long distances; however, there is no need to purchase a four-wheel drive if you don’t already own one. Main roads, such as the Stuart Highway, are kept in excellent condition throughout the year. While some attractions are accessible by four-wheel drive only, you can still travel through Central Australia without one. It is important to check signage and look online to see the road conditions, as road access can vary greatly depending on weather conditions.
Read more on what to expect when camping in the Red Centre in the Spring 2021 edition of Caravanning Australia.