Australian Travel

Written by Patricia Tunstall
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Australia may be the size of mainland United States, but it has the lowest population density in the world. Of 20 million Australians, about 84 percent are clustered along the temperate coastlines because the notorious and spectacular Outback constitutes most of the interior. There is Alice Springs, a well-known settlement in the middle of the Outback, and there is the world-famous Uluru (Ayers Rock), a vibrantly-colored monolith that appears to shoot up randomly from the desert.

Travel in the Outback

Survival in this arid region is dependent on the Great Artesian Basin, which stored immense underground water supplies some 66 million to 208 million years ago. Aborigines and modern Australians have become expert at drilling bore holes to provide water for the intrepid people, cattle, and sheep that inhabit this incredibly dry area. Needless to say, tourism in the Outback is not nearly as great as it is along the refreshing coasts of Australia.

The aridity accounts for the curious fact that Australia has one of the world's largest camel populations; these creatures were brought in during the 1900s in order to provide transportation for people and supplies. Today, you can take camel treks into the Outback from Alice Springs to experience this parched, but fascinating land. Despite the increase in tourism in Australia, the Outback is seen largely through photographs, so camel trekking would be a unique experience for visitors.

Most tourists and Australians fly over the Outback on their way to some other location. For one thing, the distances in Australia are startling to first-time visitors--this is a huge continent. If, however, you want to see the wildlife and the wilderness of Australia, take a jaunt out of Alice Springs and watch the kangaroos and bandicoots in their natural surroundings.

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