It is impossible not to be moved by the ancient beauty and spiritual significance of Australia’s Red Centre.
Looking at Uluru shedding her dark cloak and glow in the first light of dawn, discovering natural medicine with the Luritja people near Kings Canyon, and finding the Garden of Eden in the middle of a desert are just some of the ways you can experience this vast and surprisingly diverse part of Australia. From admiring the world’s most famous rock in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park to strolling through an internationally recognized work of art and dining at linen tables surrounded by stars, here are eight incredible ways to immerse yourself in the Red Center’s grandeur in style with Intrepid Premium.
1. Take a walk through a blanket of light
Field of Light was originally conceived as a pop-up art installation by British artist Bruce Munro. Since its debut in 2018, it has been extended indefinitely due to its overwhelming popularity. The installation is called Tili Wiru Tjuta Nyakutjaku by the Anangu people, which means ‘looking at lots of beautiful lights’ in the local Pitjantjatjara language. Consisting of 50,000 hand-blown bulbs connected by fiber optic cables, this stunning masterpiece slowly pulsates and changes colour. Stroll along the paths that travel through this massive installation after enjoying a special dinner under the stars.
2. Explore the dreamy Garden of Eden
The Garden of Eden is real, and you will find it in the red center. Kings Canyon is far from the desert wasteland some visitors expect. This aptly named waterhole at Kings Canyon is like an oasis, hidden in a crevice of rocks and surrounded by huge cycads and other lush flora, and home to more than 600 species of plants and animals. Years ago, the Garden of Eden was part of a large but shallow sea. Look carefully and you will see the petrified ripples of a once sandy sea floor.
3. Experience the magic of Australia’s famous monolith
Uluru is a monolith that is about the same height as the Eiffel Tower, but only a small part of it is visible; it is said to extend up to six kilometers underground. Most people are familiar with Uluru’s iconic sunset or sunrise postcard views, but these look nothing like the opposite side of the cliff with its rugged valleys and craters. This northern part has not been photographed commercially for years due to its spiritual significance, meaning that the only way to really ‘see’ Uluru is to walk around its base.
4. Dine on native bush foods
Australia’s appreciation of native bush foods has come a long way since the late 1800s, when colonial botanist Joseph Madden said, “Native food plants are nothing to brag about as edibles”. Back then, local produce such as finger lime and kangaroo were considered little more than a source of nutrition. Now they are gaining international recognition from diners, enthusiastic home cooks and some of the world’s best chefs. In the Red Center you can taste delicacies such as lemon myrtle feta, finger lime margaritas and spicy bush tomato chutney and learn from specialist suppliers such as Kungkas can cook.
5. Experience the dark sky
Home to its very own Dark Skies Festival, Alice Springs is one of the best places in Australia to take a virtual trip to the moon and beyond. Get an introduction to all things celestial, learn how to navigate using the night sky, and see if you can spot your zodiac sign. If you’ve ever wondered just how big the universe is, now’s your chance to find out. You’ll also get the chance to look through a very, very large and very impressive telescope for an amazing view of the night sky.
6. Experience the spirituality of Kata Tjuta
For most travelers visiting the Red Center, the focus is almost always Uluru and seeing the rock at sunrise and sunset in all its colorful glory. While there is no doubt that Uluru is spectacular and a special place, especially for Australia’s Anangu people, what surprises many visitors is that Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) has even more spiritual significance. Seeing this amazing formation of rocks will leave you mesmerized and completely captivated. Perhaps even more so than Uluru. Take a guided walk into the Walpa Gorge in the center of Kata Tjuta, or conquer the longer hike in the Valley of the Winds.
7. Walk around the rim of Kings Canyon
Grab a few liters of water, put on your walking boots and get ready for one of Australia’s best walks. Join your guide as you climb the stairs to the top of Kings Canyon, where you can walk around the canyon rim and enjoy views that seem to go on forever. It’s a heart-pumping climb that takes about 3 hours, but it’s definitely worth it. You can also stroll through Priscilla’s Crack, made famous by featuring in Priscilla Queen of the Desert, a classic Australian film.
8. Learn about First Nations culture with the Luritja and Pertame people
The Luritja people have lived in the area around Kings Canyon for more than 20,000 years, surrounded by a mountain range that was formed about 300 million years ago. Join a local Luritja guide and gain a unique insight into First Nations culture as you learn about the local landscapes, bush tucker and bush medicine and how they are used for healing. In addition to extracting bewitched larvae from the roots of the acacia tree and learning how to cure common ailments with native plants, you’ll also see local artwork and discover how the Luritja and Pertame people use spears and boomerangs used to hunt wildlife.