Despite its Crocodile Dundee image, Australia is one of the most urbanised countries in the world - 92% of its 22 million population... more » live in cities or large towns and its sparsely populated central outback is too vast for most travelers.
You can fly from capital cities to Uluru (Ayers Rock) and see some unique natural wonders in a few days, but that's an exception. Getting a taste of outback community life normally requires rough overland travel and a two-month sabbatical.
However, travellers with less annual leave and a few hundred dollars can achieve the seemingly impossible by chartering small aircraft. These operators can pick you up from regional airports serviced by larger commercial airlines.
This trip starts in the historical opal mining town of Coober Pedy, which is a 10-hour drive or one-hour domestic flight north of Adelaide. Then things get really interesting.
From there you are close enough to be whisked away in a six-seater Cessna and see the outback as only birds do. Apart from the spectacular scenery you will see on the journey, you are within range of Australia's smallest and largest attractions.
The tiny isolated town of William Creek has a population of 7, a characterful pub and an airfield that's a hub for scenic flights across Lake Eyre. The lake is 3,700 square miles, but most of this is usually dry and the world’s biggest salt pan. It's spectacular from the air at any time, but once a decade (and 2010 is one of those years) floods transform Lake Eyre into a gigantic wetland attracting countless flocks of breeding native birds.
This is a trip for nature lovers, photographers or anybody looking for a different form of independent travel. less «