The Outback is a place scorched by sun, where the stars shine brighter than anywhere in the world, and your nearest neighbour could be hundreds of kilometres away. And of course the world-famous Uluru (Ayres Rock) sits proudly in the centre of the country. For those looking for a rugged experience away from it all in rural Australia, life in the Outback is where it’s at. Watch Crocodile Dundee again if you don’t believe me.

The world-famous Uluru (Ayres Rock) sits proudly in the centre of the country.

It’s not all cattle stations and small towns, however. Larger centres such as Alice Springs, Kalgoorlie and Mt. Isa attract workers from around the world, mainly in the mining and agriculture sectors. For the most part, the Outback is sparsely populated with an average of just 16 people per square mile. With temperatures ranging from 50°C in the day to -10°C at night, the climate can take some getting used to.

Cost of living

Besides the cost of property, which is slightly cheaper than other parts of Australia, most things in the Outback are more expensive. This is due to the weak purchasing power of businesses that serve small populations, as well as the cost of transporting goods from major centres into Outback towns. Lucky for those working in the Outback, especially in the mining industry, high wages tend to makeup for the premium prices paid for food and consumer goods.

Working in the Outback

If sheering sheep or tending cattle isn’t for you, there are plenty of jobs in the mining industry in towns like Mount Isa. Larger centres like Alice Springs offer jobs in the public sector, education and tourism.

 

Alice Springs has this and much more on its rural doorstep (structuresxx / Shutterstock.com)

Where to live in the Outback

Alice Springs

Alice Springs has a population of around 25,000 and is the gateway to Uluru. Surrounded by huge national parks, it is the perfect place for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. The town has a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, low volumes of traffic and great weather for much of the year. Despite its remote location it’s contains all of the shops and services you would expect in a larger centre without the crowds. The average home price in Alice Springs is around AUD $400,000 (£220,000).

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Mount Isa

Mount Isa is a zinc mining town located just under 2,000 kilometres from the coast of Queensland and is known as the “Oasis of the Outback”. The town has a population of 22,000 and is home to one of the largest mines in the country, employing thousands of people. As the the major service centre of the region the city is well equipped to cater for the needs of both residents and tourists, by providing all the services and amenities found in any modern city.The average home price in Mount Isa is around AUD $365,500 (£200,000).

Mount Isa is home to one of the largest mines in the country, employing thousands of people.

Kalgoorlie

The Outback town of Kalgoorlie offers a slice of Australian gold-mining history, which is perfectly demonstrated by the wild west-esque architecture dotted throughout. Though work opportunities are more limited than in larger rural cities, work can be found in the tourism and hospitality industry and at nearby cattle stations. Located 595 km east-northeast of Perth at the end of the Great Eastern Highway, the town itself is charming and offers an authentic taste of life in Australia’s Outback.

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