In a country as big and vast as Australia, it's not how long it takes to get to your destination, but how you get there that matters. From snaking your way across the continent on the Indian Pacific train to discovering the Red Centre from the back of a camel, we've rounded up five of the most unusual ways of seeing and experiencing the Australian Outback without breaking the bank.
If you've ever dreamed of the droving life, then saddle up for adventure of a lifetime on the Great Australian Outback Cattle Drive. On this five-day, real-life Outback quest, you'll help drive 500-head of cattle along South Australia's Oodnadatta Track.
With everything from luxury tents to port-a-loos provided, at the end of the day hot showers, cool drinks and a delicious gourmet feast awaits making the tour great value. The drive is staged every two to three years, so keep a close eye on the website for more details or contact your nearest travel agent for the best deal. It'll be the most fun you'll ever have on four legs.
In the meantime, you can get a taste of the droving life on the Sunsets, Saddles and Shiraz tour. This three night tour combines all the romance and drama of cattle droving with gourmet food, fine wine and the dramatic backdrop of the Flinders Ranges. For bookings and departure dates contact the Prairie Hotel.
You haven't experienced the Outback until you've seen it from the back of a camel. Once used as the main form of transport for explorers and traders, camels are the perfect way to discover Australia.
In the Red Centre, you can evoke the spirit of the country's early pioneers on a tour around Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park with aboriginal owned and operated Anangu Waai Uluru Camel Tours.
Tours vary from short rides around the farm to long peaceful sunrise and sunset treks though stunning sand dunes with the ever-changing shades of majestic Uluru as your backdrop. Sunset tours are the best value with a glass of sparkling wine or ice-cold beer and tasty snacks awaiting you at the end of the trail.
For a journey that is as epic as Australia itself, there's nothing like travelling through the Outback by train. One of the world's longest and greatest train journeys, the majestic Indian Pacific travels the width of the continent from Sydney to Perth via Adelaide. For three whole days and nights you'll travel through rural New South Wales to Adelaide, before crossing the Nullarbor Plain.
When it comes to style and glamour, though, you can't help but dream of yesteryear aboard The Ghan, which snakes its way from Adelaide to Darwin, via Alice Springs.
Regarded as one of the great train journeys of the world, it crosses the continent from north to south (or south to north), traversing vast plains, sweeping deserts, ragged mountain ranges and Top End tropics journeying through the very heart of Australia.
Book a first-class Gold Service berth on either The Ghan or Indian Pacific and you'll sleep in a luxury twin share cabin with your own private facilities and all meals included. Alternatively, if you book a ReadyRail seat, you'll not only enjoy one of the world's greatest journeys, you'll also save money leaving you more to spend at your destination.
By mail (so to speak)
Nothing gives a sense of the vastness of the Outback like driving through it on seemingly endless roads that stretch for miles into the distant horizon. Though this can be very costly; not to mention time consuming.
For anyone with limited time and means, there's no better – and safer – way to experience an Outback drive than to play postie for a day on the Outback Mail Run Tour.
Travelling over 600km over unsealed roads in an air-conditioned 4WD from Coober Pedy to Oodnadatta and William Creek, you'll accompany the mailman as he delivers post to some of the Outback's tiniest towns and largest cattle stations.
As part of an official Australia Post service you'll help deliver a much-needed link to the outside world and meet more than a few of the local characters along the way.
This great value day tour includes sights such as the 5500 km Dingo Fence as well as a stop at a traditional Outback pub where the beer is always cheap and cold.
Seeing Australia on foot is a not only a great way to get up-close and personal with the country's spectacular landscape, but also a great way to save money and get fit at the same time.
If you want to feel like a pioneer of old, then strap your boots and get ready to tackle The Larapinta Trail.
One of Australia's most spectacular trekking experiences, the 223km trail winds its way from Alice Springs Telegraph Station through many gaps and sheltered gorges before climbing steeply over the West MacDonnell Ranges in the Northern Territory.
While trekking the whole route might seem like an overwhelming challenge, it can also be broken up into 12 manageable one-two day walks.You can tackle the trail solo, but for a better value experience join an all-inclusive tour with World Expeditions where all meals and camping are supplied and the only thing you'll carry is your day pack.