Where Is the Australian Outback?

australian-outback Credit: Richard Fairless/Moment/Getty Images

In Australia, the inland desert areas that exist mostly in the country's western regions are known somewhat colloquially as the outback. This includes areas in many of Australia's states, including Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Though the outback is largely characterized by arid, hot climates and dry, red sand landscapes, there are parts of the outback that, like other large desert expanses, do include oases and other water sources.

Because "outback" is a somewhat general term that refers to remote areas in Australia, it is difficult to pin down an exact description of where the outback is located. The term can be used to refer to any rural areas in Australia that aren't part of the country's major cities, most of which is desert. However, there is some physical and climate diversity in the outback. For example, there are relatively lush mountainous areas that are contained within the area known as "outback," including the Flinders Ranges, which includes multiple watering holes and pastoral areas. The term "bush" may be used interchangeably with "outback" in Australia; either word can be used to describe remote, sparsely populated parts of the country.