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It may as well be another planet. An endless desert of red sand and stone, breathtaking rock formations, hidden waterfalls, otherworldly indigenous communities and strange animals that hop around on their hind legs, standing up straight as if stretching to catch the best view of the desert sunset— the outback is unforgettably unique.

You’ve committed to the adventure and are counting down the days until your boots are covered in red sand. But there’s one problem. Where does one stay when exploring this tough terrain? To help you complete this last missing piece, we’ve compiled a list of suggestions for where to stay while exploring the Outback. So double check your maps and supplies. We have the accommodations covered.

Squeakywindmill Tent Boutique Bed and Breakfast – Alice Springs, NT

where to stay while exploring the outback
Photo by Michelle

A tent boutique bed and breakfast, of course. This is tough to beat. Located about ten miles from the town of Alice Springs (widely considered the most popular destination in the outback), Squeakywindmill gives you the comfort of a hotel room and the ruggedness of the outback that you came to experience. The inside of the tent looks like a four-star hotel room, but once you roll up the entrance, you’re greeted by a butte and typical rugged outback terrain. Barbecue materials and an evening wine and cheese basket are just icing on the cake.

Kings Canyon Resort – Watarrka National Park

where to stay while exploring the outback
Photo by Kings Canyon Resort

Watarrka is like Australia’s Grand Canyon. Jaw-dropping canyons, hidden waterfalls, sunsets that tempt you to stay a little longer — it has it all. Kings Canyon Resort puts you right in the heart of it. Two swimming pools, much-needed AC, comfortable beds, and barbecue pits will be much needed after a day of trekking through the canyons or tearing around the desert on an ATV.

Maree Hotel – Lake Eyre, SA

where to stay while exploring the outback
Photo by Marree Hotel

Lake Eyre does more than its part in upholding the extraterrestrial theme. A prop-plane flyover will show you a salt lake and marshlands that somehow produce every color of the rainbow. It’s truly a spectacle. Exploring on foot can be even more fascinating. Think Bonneville Salt Flats in terms of endless nothingness. The Maree Hotel is nothing to blow you away from pictures. A swimming pool, a bar so you can take down a few brews after exploring, and comfortable beds are all nice, but the proximity to the lake is the true gold. It also gets excellent reviews from past guests.

Magic Oasis Apartments – Port Augusta, SA

where to stay while exploring the outback
Photo by Majestic Oasis

Port Augusta is both where the desert meets the sea and an excellent base camp for exploring the South Australia wilderness. Whether you’re hitting the beaches (the apartments are right on the water) or heading into the hills to hike, Magic Oasis is an ideal place to crash when the day is done. The apartments themselves are modern structures with in-room jacuzzis, patio areas equipped with grills, a sweet pool area, and a dock down on the water.

Down to Erth Bed and Breakfast – Coober Pedy, SA

where to stay while exploring the outback
Photo by Down to Erth B&B

Think of the Flintstones. That’s the best way to describe Down to Erth. Here you’ll find your room underground, carved out of massive rock face. Just like a desert animal, your only good bet for escaping the heat is to go down and block out the sun. Maybe not great for claustrophobes, but a blast for those looking for something a little more adventurous. Oh, and the extraterrestrial theme. Coober Pedy is known as the opal capital of the world. For those who don’t know, an opal is a hydrated form of silica. In other words, it’s a rock that, if broken open, reveals all colors of the rainbow. That’s right, sounds like something from another world, right?

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