Experience quintessential Northern Territory landscapes on a thrilling road-trip from Uluru to Darwin.
The grandeur of World Heritage Sites like Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park are unforgettable, and the opportunity to learn about the traditions of the local Indigenous people adds depth to your encounter.
Travelling the Stuart Highway, you’ll witness the transition from desert reds to the rocky escarpments and lush greens of the tropical north.
Your tour includes:
Today is one of colours. The ochre soil spiked with cycads as your plane comes into land. The endless blue sky, from horizon to infinity. The russet hues of Uluru, that ‘Rock’ that appears on just about every Australian postcard… And that’s all before enchanting hour. Come sunset, the landscape changes with every click of your camera. If you can stop snapping, have a glass of bubbles and some nibbles with your fellow adventurers. They’ll be besties by the time this trip is over. Or maybe even by this time tomorrow…
If you’re looking for a reason to roll out of bed before dawn, make it an Uluru sunrise. We’re not saying it’s better, than last night’s sunset. But being up with the birds certainly has its benefits. Like being cool when you circumnavigate the base of Uluru, the world’s biggest monolith. A circumnavigation is 11 kilometres (that’s your step-count sorted for the day) if you’re up for it. Or join a shorter guided walk to Mutitjulu Waterhole, a sacred spot decorated with millennia-old Aboriginal rock paintings. Dive even deeper into First Nations traditions at the Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre – you won’t be able to resist a purchase, opening your wallet sweetened by the fact that you’re supporting local Aboriginal communities. Then wander through Kata Tjuta’s Jurassic domed rock formations into Walpa Gorge, a natural creek that carves its way between the two tallest Kata Tjuta domes. More bubbles to serenade the day’s end? We’re one step ahead of you…
The only other reason to get up before dawn is to glimpse the Uluru Field of Light, a dazzling installation by British artist Bruce Munro that sees 50,000 stem-like globes blanket the Uluru soil. It’s optional – we won’t judge you for sleeping in, steeling yourself for today’s adventures. But if you’ve come this far, it would be a shame to opt for shut-eye over eye-popping. Speaking of which, did you know Australia has the largest population of wild camels in the world, and Kings Creek Station, your next stop at lunchtime, is the largest exporter of these doe-eyed creatures? Next stop is Kings Canyon, part of the immense Watarrka National Park. Walk off those carbs and enjoy perspective-resetting views over the Red Centre.
Cattle stations are the size of small nations in the Northern Territory outback, as you’ll discover on your journey toward Alice Springs. The other ‘big’ thing in these parts is the MacDonnell Ranges, the stark mountain massif undulating across the red earth like a jagged dinosaur’s (or perhaps serpent’s?) spine. Back in 1872, Alice Springs was a hive of activity, as a Telegraph Station – one of 12 – was built here to connect Adelaide and Darwin as part of the Overland Telegraph Line. Sweat and tears went into the gargantuan, country-spanning project, as you’ll discover browsing the grounds now an intimate museum. If you thought you were getting out of a sunset, think again – panoramas from Alice’s Anzac Hill steal the scene. Are you keeping count?
In remote parts of Australia, community is everything, whether to ensure stories of the Arrernte people are not forgotten (you’ll learn all about them today), or to help those who, well, need urgent help. The passionate Royal Flying Doctor Service health workers commute hundreds of kilometres every day to provide aid to those living in far-flung corners of Australia. Their stories are at once uplifting and inspiring. End your day on a high at Earth Sanctuary World Nature Centre, where the Falzon family host a BBQ Be My Guest dinner under the stars. This is a lesson in off-the-grid, sustainable living, with a little boomerang throwing on the side. Let it inspire you to follow suit back at home.
The whole of Peru covers 1.3 million square kilometers – the same size playing field that the School of the Air broadcasts daily classes to. Watch a live session with kids in some of Australia’s most remote reaches, providing them with educational tools that would otherwise be unavailable. What’s not on the curriculum? Aliens, probably, although you will learn all about them passing through Wycliffe Well, known as Australia’s ‘UFO capital’. We can understand why they would want to call this pocket of the country home. It’s beautiful in a hypnotically mesmerising way. Undeniably otherworldly are the precariously balanced boulders that characterize Karlu Karlu (the Devils Marbles) and the landscapes surrounding gold-rich Tennant Creek.
When you’re not working hard in the Australian outback, you’re having a lot of fun. Case in point the Daly Waters Historic Pub, where the food – schnitzels, burgers – comes second to the atmosphere. Follow the lead of those here before you and leave a memento to add interest the walls; since the 1980s, visitors have been redecorating with everything from bras to boots. If you were a fan of 1982 Australian TV drama We of the Never Never – an autobiographical film about Jeannie Gunn’s life in the outback – you’ll recognise your next destination without pause: the (replica) Elsey Homestead in Mataranka. Explore the grounds, or soak in the palm-shrouded thermal springs. We know what we’re doing
Cruising around Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge in the morning is a humbling experience. You can almost feel the spirits yawning as they created this landscape on Jawoyn land, part of Nitmiluk National Park. A sprinkling of crocs, a flutter of rare birds, the ripple of the lagoon. It takes your breath away. More wildlife lurks in Kakadu’s Yellow Water Billabong, which is a mecca for sea eagles, brolgas and little kingfishers – and yet more crocs in the muddy shallows. This Kakadu tour and Yellow Water cruise will max out your camera’s memory card, so be prepared and come with a spare.
The best way to grasp the immensity of Kakadu and Arnhem Land? From the air, should you wish to take an optional tour. You won’t regret it – perspective is always enlightening. Speaking of which, Ubirr’s Aboriginal rock art dates back an eye-watering 20,000+ years. Your guide knows all the stories behind the murals you see, revealing Aboriginal Dreamtime stories passed down through generations. If this part of the Northern Territory looks familiar, that’s because it starred in classic Aussie rom-com, Crocodile Dundee. This part of Australia was clearly made for film-sets. Get your Darwin bearings on a quick city tour, then explore at your leisure – we want to give you as much time as possible to enjoy dinner at the Mindil Beach Sunset Market.
Think of today as dessert, one that comes with a cherry on top – the sweet finale to a decadent 10-day degustation. Travel deep into Litchfield National Park, pocked with 100-year-old, two-metre-high magnetic termite mounts. We’re not sticking around though – Florence and Wangi falls await. Change into your swimming costume and take a dip in the gem-like waterholes for cool respite. Darwin can get steamy, but you’ll have wind in your sails as you cruise the harbour at sunset, enjoying one last toast to the NT. Cheers to that!
‘Ma Muk’ (‘See you later’), as the Larrakia people would say. This Dreamtime adventure is over for now, but we’re positive your memories will last forever.
Please note: This itinerary may be subject to change.
Tour dates: 26 Aug - 5 Sep 2023
Want to avoid the single supplement? If you'd rather not pay the single supplement, we can happily pair you with another solo guest of the same gender. Subject to other wiling to share passengers. Call our local travel team today on 1300 414 198 for more information.
Please note that prices are subject to availability at time of booking and may be withdrawn at any time without notice.
The accommodation you will enjoy on this tour includes:
Need airfares, additional accommodation or sightseeing options before or after your tour? Our friendly travel team can assist you with this. Call today on freecall 1300 414 198 for prices.
Kakadu – Nadab Lookout - Medium Level of Fitness Required - The climb to the top of Nadab Lookout at Ubirr in Kakadu National Park will not be suitable for all guests. To get to the lookout guests are required to scale up uneven rocky paths and steps to get to the lookout. There is an alternate route on a fairly flat gravel path for those unable climb to the top so they will not miss out on Rock Art.
Kings Canyon Rim Walk - High level of fitness required - This 6km hike will not be suitable for all guests. The first 30-minute incline is considered “Difficult”. The Tour Director will offer guest an easier alternative along the creek walk for those that are unable.
*flights to arrive prior to 3:00pm into Ayers Rock and depart anytime after breakfast from Darwin.
Minimum numbers required for this to go ahead. We strongly recommend not securing flights until the status of this departure is finalised. Generally this occurs no later than 80 days prior to travel.
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