The Outback is Australia’s vast, remote and arid interior. The combination of infertile soil and little rainfall ensure that it is sparsely settled, and over 90% of Australians live by the coast.
The history of the Outback’s exploration and settlement gives Australians a valuable cultural context, and tales of swagmen, squatters, and bushrangers are very much part of the national ethos. Aboriginal communities in outback regions have not been displaced or marginalised in the same way as in areas of intensive agriculture and in large coastal cities. For this reason, a significant proportion of Australia's indigenous population lives in the Outback.
The wildlife of the Outback is highly adapted, however much of it is hard to see as many animals, such as red kangaroos and dingos, hide in bushes to rest and remain cool during the heat of the day. Birdlife, in particular, is prolific and most often seen around waterholes at dawn and dusk, where huge flocks of budgerigars, cockatoos, corellas and galahs are sighted. During the southern hemisphere winter, various species of snake and lizard bask in the sun on the bare ground or roads, but are rarely seen during the summer months.
At Crystalbrook and Chillagoe experienced guides will accompany you into the Outback to witness some of the world’s most diverse geology, visit limestone caves and see aboriginal rock art. Explore one of the many trails such as the Lakeside Trail Loop - great for bird watching or you can take a fishing rod and throw in a line. Alternatively take out a kayak explore the far reaches of the lake – as you paddle silently you might see a herd of wild brumbies or become watch the lake's daily rhythm as dainty lotus birds walk by on lily pads and jabirus and other water birds go about their business.
Feral horses known as 'brumbies' are horses from cattle or sheep stations that have run wild. Imported animals such as pigs, foxes, cats and rabbits, which have all turned feral, are a threat to environmental balance, so considerable amounts of time and money are spent trying to eradicate them so as to protect fragile rangelands.
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