Kelley Ferro and USTOA present a brand new series on the “Red Heart” of Australia: Australia’s Northern Territory. Out in the Outback, Kelley takes us along on her journey hiking, 4-wheeling, and camel trekking through this incredible landscape. USTOA member Goway lets travelers connect with local guides and Aboriginal artists for a profound experience of the land’s culture and history. And nothing tastes better than a campfire lunch out in the wilderness. Watch the videos below and plan your own escape to the Outback. [Video descriptions by Kelley Ferro.]
The Northern Territory is the “Red Heart” of Australia. Located in the center, this landscape is ruggedly beautiful and pre-historic feeling. I take you to UNESCO World Heritage sites, like Uluru, and I camp in Kings Canyon, the most remote place I’ve ever been. From camel treks to 4-wheeling, to walks with local Aboriginal guides, the Northern Territory is like a different planet. And it’s wonderful.
The Aborigines are the oldest still-living culture in the world and it was an honor to get to meet many of the locals residing in the Northern Territory. I was able to learn about “Bush Tucker” or food in the wild, dot painting and more about how their people have lived in the harsh Outback for thousands of years.
A rough landscape requires hearty food—and that’s just what we got in the stunning Northern Territory. From campfire “damper” to hunks of meat over an open flame, to some more refined local specialities including Kangaroo, we chowed down throughout the Outback.
The Northern Territory is built for adventure and almost everything we did involved some sort of mini-adventurous activity. We hiked the mountains of Kings Canyon and 4-wheeled through the valleys, dodging camels. We even rode domesticated camels through the bush at sunset with Uluru glowing in the background. Not to mention, we got up close and personal with some of the Northern Territory’s “friendly” wildlife. The Outback is not for the faint of heart.
We all know that Australia has some of the world’s deadliest animals, but I didn’t expect to see them when I was there! Don’t worry, it was all controlled at the Reptile Center with “Snake Hunter” Rex. I was so impressed to learn how all the Outback’s animals, from kangaroos to horny devils to komodo dragons to pythons, have adapted to survive in this climate. And from what I experienced, they co-exist well with humans. The Dingos surely sang me to sleep when I was camping!
Never before have I been as awestruck by the scenery the moment I stepped off the plane. I was literally blinded by the bright sun on the red earth—the landscape was rugged, dry and just incredible. Hiking up the red-faced cliffs, hurtling through the thorny brush on quads and ambling past reptiles with Uluru in the distance on camels, the landscape of the Northern Territory left the biggest impact on me. Must do: Experience the vibrant stars at the Earth Sanctuary’s educational dinner. Wow.