How should one return home after booking a one-way flight to the opposite end of the country? For AFF member JohnM, the answer was a scenic road trip that takes in the best of the Australian outback over the course of two weeks.

I’m on the bird PER-xBNE-CNS tomorrow morning. Arrive tomorrow night and spending two nights there. Hmmnn, a one-way J redemption; how to get home?

I know! I’ll take Australia’s longest shortcut: Two weeks overland CNS-PER – woo-hoo.

Setting out from Cairns, our member will spend two weeks travelling overland through the Aussie outback back to Perth, with various stops earmarked along the way. Some of these include Winton, Alice Springs, Uluru, King’s Canyon and Kalgoorlie.

After a quick stop in Cairns, the long journey began. One of the first stops along the way was Winton. This rural Queensland town is widely regarded as the birthplace of Qantas. The airline was registered in Winton back in 1920, with the first board meeting subsequently held in the town the following year. Winton is now home to a plaque celebrating the airline’s founding, and a collection of Qantas memorabilia that can be seen at the Waltzing Matilda Centre. Part of the museum was tragically destroyed by fire in June, though the museum has since re-opened and work is underway to restore the collection.

Heading into the Northern Territory, a few nights in Alice Springs were spent before driving on to see some of the most famous sights in the Australian outback. This included Ayers Rock, King’s Canyon and the Olgas. As if viewing these icons from ground level wasn’t enough, our member even took a helicopter ride for some aerial viewing of Uluru and the Olgas. The centre of Australia certainly contains some impressive scenery, and the photos in this trip report certainly do it justice.

Just back from a helicopter ride over Uluru and The Olgas. Departed from the airport and returned to the town landing pad… Shortly heading out to view sunset on Ayers Rock.

From the middle of the red centre, our member will head south-west towards Kalgoorlie before returning to Perth.

Although Australia is known for its “big” icons, like the Big Merino or the Big Pineapple, not everything in the outback is grandiose. Along the way our member stopped for a drink at Australia’s smallest bar and what could be the world’s most isolated Hilton Hotel was also spotted. What other unique discoveries will be found during the rest of the trip?

Ever wanted to see more of the “real” Australia? Check out Australia’s longest shortcut HERE.

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]