Travel by numbers: The Australian Outback
Baz Luhrmann's 'Australia' showcases the country's diverse scenery in all its glory. Andrew Szczuka counts the ways to explore it for yourself
Saturday 20 December 2008
The maximum length, in metres, of one of the most feared of Australia's many deadly forms of wildlife: the saltwater crocodile. For an up-close but safe experience with these fearsome creatures, as well as many other animals, visit Crocodylus Park in the Northern Territory capital, Darwin (00 61 8922 4500; crocodyluspark.com); admission is A$27.50 (£13).
Australia's outback covers approximately 70 per cent of the country's landmass, but is home to only 3 per cent of its population. Many of the scenes for Australia were filmed in El Questro Wilderness Park. You can explore the area, including the bizarre rock formations of the Bungle Bungle range from El Questro Homestead (00 61 8 9169 1777; elquestrohomestead.com.au), where rooms start from A$1,890 (£831) per person for two nights.
The number of litres of wine sent abroad each year from Australia to the rest of the world, making it the world's fourth-largest exporter. Chateau Hornsby Winery (00 61 8 8955 5133; Petrick Road, Alice Springs), located in the Red Centre far away from Australia's traditional wine making regions, is a popular vineyard where you can enjoy quality wines alongside a crackling barbecue. (Visits by appointment only.)
The only year in which snow has been recorded on the world's most famous rock: Uluru, a site of great spiritual significance to local indigenous people, and known to many tourists as Ayers Rock. Visitors flock here each year to watch the dramatic, shifting colours of the landscape, to explore walking trails and to learn more about Aboriginal culture. Whether you prefer 4x4s, helicopters, planes, Harley-Davidsons or even just your own two feet, Uluru Travel ( 00 61 1300 305 505; uluru.com) offers a variety of guided tours and activities, including a two-hour sunset tour for A$45 (£20).
The film Australia is set during the Second World War, when the Japanese launched 64 air raids against Darwin, the first location in mainland Australia to be hit. You can still visit the storage tunnels underneath the city's streets, designed to protect Darwin's oil supplies. Contact Darwin Tours (00 61 8 8985 6333; darwintours.com.au/tours/ww2tunnels.html) to arrange access, admission A$5 (£2).
The earliest human remains found to date in Australia are approximately 40,000 years old. The Aboriginal Art and Culture Centre (00 61 8 8952 3408; aboriginalart.com.au), located in Alice Springs, is a focal point for indigenous knowledge and offers guided tours as well as lessons on spear throwing and how to play the didgeridoo.
The maximum number of players permitted on the field at any one time in an Australian rules football match. Tickets for AFL Premiership games at the Northern Territory's TIO Stadium can be purchased from the Darwin Entertainment Centre (00 61 8 8980 3333; darwinentertainment.com.au) with general admission for the pre-season games costing A$19 (£9).
The area, in hectares, of Kakadu National Park, the largest in Australia – which is roughly the same size as Wales. This is prime bushwalking and adventure country. Wetlands, waterfalls, wilderness and an abundance of wildlife await the intrepid traveller. Aussie Adventure (00 61 1300 721 365; aussieadventure.com.au) will guide you. Prices start at A$485 (£214) per person for two days.
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