Jane Jurgens finds the best ways to explore the vast Western Australian Outback.
Rent a car or caravan and hit the dusty, red roads of the Golden Outback. It's a great way to explore the area at your own pace and take in all the breathtaking scenery. There are a number of different drive routes to follow — from colourful wildflower trails to more challenging four-wheel-drive routes, for those who like to blaze a trail of sand and dirt.
Check with a local visitor centre for the best route for you, as well as information on the best places to set up camp.
If you prefer to leave the driving to someone else, a bus tour could be the way to go. Two coach operators run regular services from Perth; TransWA visits most major hubs in the Wheatbelt and Goldfields, while Integrity Coach Lines can take you up to Mount Magnet and Meekatharra. Integrity also offers a hop-on, hop-off service between Perth and Broome, for travellers who want to journey at their own pace.
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See the Golden Outback from a whole new angle — from the window seat of a scenic flight. There are a number of local companies offering charter flights, which can take you to many tourist hotspots, including Albany, Esperance, the Margaret River, Purnululu National Park and Kalbarri. Some will fly at lower altitudes to give you a closer look at the spectacular landscapes. Skippers Aviation also offers regular passenger services to some remote outback towns, including Mount Magnet, Meekatharra, Laverton, Leonora, Leinster and Wiluna.
Rail fans can jump on the train in Perth and end their journey in the famous gold-mining outback town of Kalgoorlie within a day. The Prospector, a fully-airconditioned, high-speed train leaves once a day from both destinations and will get you there in comfort and style. It's about a seven-hour journey through the countryside, with stops in 15 Wheatbelt and Goldfields towns along the way — perfect for a day trip. Or for the ultimate rail experience, take the Indian Pacific all the way from Sydney to Perth — it's a four-day journey with plenty of interesting stops along the way.
For a really unique Outback adventure, get yourself on a camel safari. Kimberley Dreamtime Adventure Tours offers two and three-day tours around the Kimberley region, from Broome or Willare Bridge Roadhouse to Mount Anderson and Jarlmadangah. You'll make your way around the northwest corner — one of the last wilderness frontiers in the world — in a combination of four-wheel-drive bus rides and camel treks. With a mixture of Aboriginal culture and bush survival skills, it's bound to be an experience to remember.