40 things to do before you’re 40

No. 38 Sleep out back with an Aussie swag

Sleep out under a huge Outback sky

Sleep out under a huge Outback sky

As early settlers to a new country, it must be a bit daunting to give new places names. After all, what you settle on will likely be etched onto maps and into history for posterity. You really wouldn’t want to get it wrong.

So credit to those early Aussie battlers, those who managed to name the distinctive topographical features of this new land in a manner that would not so much avoid any future ambiguity and confusion as squash them dead. Like cockroaches. We can’t be sure how long it took them to think up a name when they happened upon a range of mountains distinct from any others thanks to the presence of snow, but it must have been a long night at the pub after they struck toponymous gold and hit on the ‘Snowy Mountains’.  How do you accurately capture the sense of vastness, not to mention sandiness, of one of the country’s largest deserts? Well you could do a lot worse than calling it the Great Sandy Desert.

So when it came to the vast, untamed wilderness that stretches mile upon mile away from the coast and into the hinterland of the Australian continent – this land that possesses a haunting beauty tempered only by its ruthless ability to claim lives with impunity – they would have wanted to really nail it. After all, it exists out the back of every built up area in the country. So…

Welcome to the Outback!

There are few more true blue Australian travel experiences as camping out under the stars in the Outback. What could be a better way to spend the night after you’ve spent the morning on a bushwalk, the afternoon swimming in some hidden away rock pool and the evening watching a swollen sun set behind the mysterious monolith known as Ayers Rock? After sitting around the campfire swigging a cold beer and sharing a story or two, all you’ll want for now is a good swag.

Fancy a swag?

No, whatever else it might sound like it’s none of those things. It’s an item as indispensable to any Outback wanderer as a billy can and some decent tucker. Essentially it is as modest a dwelling as you could imagine; roughly the same length as a supine human and not a great deal higher. It’s enough to keep any rain off your person and flies away from your face. Which is pretty much all you need. It’s as authentically understated as an Australian place name.

Spending time in the great Australian outback is not the reserve of obscure z-listed celebrities; in fact it just so happens that you can do all the above on any number of great Topdeck trips that go to Australia’s outback. Funny that.

And you won’t have to eat iguana gonads or platypus placenta while you’re there. Or at least not if you don’t want to!

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