There’s a cattle ranch in Australia’s center that’s bigger than the state of Rhode Island. An arid grassland covered in dust and 4,500 cattle, it’s also a welcome, comfortable stop on the road leading west towards Uluru. When the Severin family moved out here in 1956, they saw a total of six people in their first year out on the ranch. Gradually, however, hardy tourists heading west towards Uluru would stop for fuel and supplies, and what began as a way to help weary travelers has grown to a guesthouse, bar, and ranch that’s an Australian site to itself. Take a guided walk through grasslands that stretch towards red-earthed horizons, and learn how the grass is converted on site into natural, Curtin Springs paper. Hop aboard a 4WD and go bouncing away towards Mt. Conner—an open swath of land and hills that’s covered in kangaroos. Have a yarn at the Curtin Springs pub with a colorful outback character, or simply get some much needed sleep from the long, adventurous drive. To do as most travelers do who stay here, use Curtin Springs as a base for exploring Uluru and Kata Tjuta—thereby escaping the higher prices and crowds found near the rock.
Curtin Springs is located 90 minutes and 60 miles east of Ayers Rock. The inn has 27 comfortable rooms as well as an outdoor campground, and travelers can easily resupply with fuel, ice, and food.