Tour is a must for the Red Centre
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If you decide to do the Red-Centre in Australia, I have to suggest that you book a tour. We've done it both with and without, and we had a much better experience with.
Everything is a good 300km apart when you get to the middle of Australia. It's much too hot to do anything durning the afternoon, so the only way to enjoy it is to get up at 5am to get to where you want to be and walking before 7. You then really have to drive for a good part of the afternoon to get to the next site. It's tough without a bit of help
We went with a small tour of about 16. The tour guide was experienced and knew how to avoid the worst of the crowds, and could talk about the history and geology and what not of the area. We also saw some things we missed and never would have seen without a guide. Sitting in the van and letting someone else do the driving was also a nice change from spending the afternoon trying not to fall asleep behind the wheel. The food was taken care of, we had a place to sleep and a pool at night, and the group was small enough that it was easy to get along with everyone.
The Red Centre itself is beautiful. I've yet to see anything else like it. If you get to a bit of a high point, it looks like there is nothing between you and the western shore of the continent except for brush and red dirt. It's one of the few places you can still experience something of the Aboriginal People as well. It's what North Americans generally think of when we hear Australia, and I don't imagine you'll feel like you've seen Australia until you've been there.