Visiting the Red Centre in Australia is a must! The Red Centre is the very centre of Australia within the Northern Territory state and it’s known as the Red Centre because its landscape is, well, very red!
Whilst many people, especially Australian’s, may tell you there is nothing to see in the centre of Australia, they are wrong! Yes, Central Australia is extremely vast, dusty and empty in many places but there are National Parks to visit, road trip adventures to be had, cultural learning opportunities and one of the most famous places in the world to see… Uluru!
I did an organised 3 day Red Centre Tour from Alice Springs when I lived in Australia and along with living in Darwin for a short time I realised how many people miss out on the iconic and in some ways ‘real’ Australia by not visiting the Northern Territory state and the Red Centre specifically.
So in this post I am reliving my Red Centre tour and along with the help of NT Tourism, I’m going to tell you why you should add the Red Centre to your Australia itinerary!
Reasons to visit the Red Centre
1. Uluru = Bucket List Tick!
Uluru / Ayers Rock is easily the most iconic place in Australia and one of the top iconic places in the world! You can’t leave Australia without seeing it and you can’t see it without visiting Australia’s Red Centre!
For many of us, a trip to the Red Centre in the Northern Territory will be because we want to see Uluru in real life and based on my experience, it doesn’t disappoint and is well worth the trip into the centre of Australia alone!
Uluru really is magical and incredibly impressive, it’s a pure wonder of the world and it is also a deeply spiritual place.
Uluru and the surrounding area has huge cultural significance to the local Aboriginal people and learning about this whilst at Uluru and feeling the presence of the land around you somehow makes it feel even more special.
2. Seeing Uluru in All Forms
Another amazing thing about Uluru is how the colour of the rock changes throughout the day from sunrise, day time, sunset and night time.
Your Red Centre itinerary should include watching the sunrise over Uluru, visiting the base in the day time (if visiting during the hot months, try to avoid doing this in the middle of the day when it’s extra hot!), and at sunset.
3. Amazing Stargazing
On my Red Centre tour we camped outside without any tents! Yes, we slept in something called a swag, which is a sleeping bag with a bit more protection put on the open floor outside.
I did the basic and budget option of the Red Centre tour, however this way of sleeping was amazing!
One of the reasons it was so amazing to camp in the Red Centre was because of the stars!
Still to this day, I have never seen so many stars in the sky! I was so tired but on both nights I didn’t want to close my eyes because the sky was so full of stars and I remember waking up in the middle of the night because of a noise and not even being annoyed because when I opened my eyes to see what was happening, I got to see the shining sky again!
This memory remains one of my best memories from my travels which is why it’s on my reasons to visit the Red Centre, and I really recommend staying in accommodation that allows you to stargaze, or camping outside on the floor in a designated and recommended place.
4. Visit Other Amazing Places Near Uluru
Uluru is the main draw to the Red Centre of the Northern Territory but its certainly not all there is to see, there are many more places to visit in the Red Centre.
To fly to the Red Centre you’ll fly into the capital city Alice Springs. Alice Springs is a small and quiet city and I found it fascinating because of how rural it is! I mean, it takes over 3 hours to fly from Sydney to Alice Springs, you can travel from the U.K over a dozen countries into Eastern Europe in that time!
If you decide to do an organised group Red Centre tour, Kings Canyon will definitely be on the itinerary and if you visit independently you have to go and it’s worth spending a few days in the area, especially if you like hiking, the post popular is the iconic Kings Canyon Rim Walk.
Kata Tjuta / the Olgas is another must visit place in the Red Centre and great for hiking too. Kata Tjuta means ‘many heads’ because of the shapes of the rocks. Kata Tjuta is sacred to the local Aboriginal Anangu people, just as Uluru is.
5. Education on Aboriginal Culture
The local Aboriginal Anangu people have inhabited the area for more than 22,000 years and visiting the Northern Territory gives you a lot of opportunities to hear and learn about their traditions, culture and history.
In the Red Centre specifically there are many places to visit where you can see Aboriginal art, hear stories, listen to music and try bush food.
Be sure to add Maruka Arts, Walkatjara Art Centre and the Araluen Cultural Precinct to your list of places to visit in the Red Centre where you can see Aboriginal art.
6. Many Group Tours Available
The Red Centre is vast and far away from the big cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Perth but there are many group tours around the Red Centre available for a range of budgets making it really easy to visit!
There’s options to do an overland Red Centre tour from Darwin visiting many places like Kakadu National Park and Katherine on the way down to Central Australia.
Or, you can start your tour in Alice Springs where flights fly regularly to from all the major cities in Australia.
Choose from a 3 day Red Centre tour which based on my experience gives a really good chance to see a lot of the Red Centre and learn a lot too, but if you have more time a 5 day Red Centre tour or even 7 day Red Centre tour would be amazing and worth it!
7. Great For All The Family
The Australian outback is a real road trip destination of long, open, dusty roads surrounded by nothing but nature and best of all, it’s great for all the family!
In Summer, this part of Australia gets extremely hot so it is best to plan your Red Centre family trip around the best and coolest months to visit, especially with little ones but it’s bound to provide an adventure and lots of learning opportunities!
I would love to re-visit the Red Centre with my family and road trip in a camper van for a few days!
8. Once in a Lifetime Experience
It sounds cliche but it’s true, visiting Australia’s Red Centre really is a once in a lifetime experience.
It does take some effort to get to because of the 3-4 hour flight from any major city into Alice Springs, or the 30 hour journey by car from Sydney for example, so if you’re visiting Australia from oversea’s it’s likely you won’t visit on multiple occasions, but whilst you’re in Australia you must visit once!
For me, Uluru is one of the most iconic places in the world. I remember seeing photos of it when I was younger so to go as a adult and see it in real life was something I’ll always remember and treasure and the trip didn’t disappoint at all.
I hope this gives you enough reasons to visit Australia’s Red Centre in the Northern Territory!
This post is in collaboration with Tourism NT, all thoughts, opinions and personal experiences noted are my own.