Travel along Australia’s most acclaimed stretch of coastline with a scenic drive on the Great Ocean Road. This is one trip where you definitely want to call shotgun on a window seat.. Take a one-night pitstop in Halls Gap to discover the rugged beauty of the Grampians National Park. Go hiking up to the Pinnacles lookout, and marvel at the stunning MacKenzie Falls.. Immerse yourself in First Nations cultures with experiences including witnessing cave paintings near Mutitjulu Waterhole at the base of Uluru and viewing Aboriginal rock art at Yourambulla Caves.. See the best of Australia’s iconic Red Centre on guided walks around Uluru, Kings Canyon and the ancient red domes of Kata Tjuta.
Thought you knew what an epic Aussie road trip was? Well, think again. Crank the tunes and leave the big cities in your dust on the ultimate 17-day Outback adventure between Melbourne and Darwin. Discover the beauty of the Great Ocean Road coastline, check out the quirky opal mining town of Coober Pedy, witness the majestic Uluru at sunrise, gain an insight into the significance of First Nations cave paintings, rock art and connection to the land in Kata Tjuta and Katherine, and see some seriously spectacular vistas at the Grampians, the Flinders Ranges and Kakadu. With plenty of time to appreciate the natural beauty and learn a little bit more about the Traditional Owners of the land, let Australia’s southern interior, Red Centre and Top End lead the way.
Breakfast Included: 12 Lunches Included: 14 Dinner Included: 12
The Great Ocean Road
Let’s get road tripping! Departing Melbourne, hit the road west to Geelong and the chilled-out surf town of Torquay. From there, begin the journey along one of Australia’s most beautiful and famous drives – the Great Ocean Road. This coast road at points is the only barrier between the lush forests of Victoria’s southwest and the cliffs down to the Bass Strait. Along the way, experience a guided walk through an ancient and rare temperate rainforest in the Otways, checking out the enormous trees that are native to the area. Stop for some koala spotting in Kennett River, then break for lunch in seaside Apollo Bay. In the afternoon, continue on to the Twelve Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge – these rocky landscapes braving the southern oceans are a sight to behold. Continue on your drive for another hour or so, spending the night in Warrnambool.
Begin the day checking out more of the Great Ocean Road's natural wonder on the Warrnambool foreshore, then take a drive into the Grampians National Park – an area full of rugged rock landscapes, scenic lookouts and rich in First Nations culture. During the day, you’ll visit the Brambuk Aboriginal Culture Centre to learn about an important period of this ancient culture known as the Dreaming, then hike up to the Pinnacles for impressive views across the Grampians. Keep an eye out for any native flora or wildlife that may pass you by as you walk. Tonight, head to Halls Gap for the evening, enjoying a traditional Aussie-style barbecue with your small group.
The Grampians to Adelaide
This morning, hike to the base of McKenzie Falls – the highest and arguably most impressive waterfalls in the Grampians – and check out other sites such as The Balconies and Reeds Lookout. Leaving the Grampians, pass through the town of Horsham and the enchanting Loch Lel – also known as the Pink Lake – before crossing the mighty Murray River and making your last leg of the journey into Adelaide. Most of the afternoon is taken up by the drive, but you’ll arrive in Adelaide around 7.30 pm, in time for an optional celebratory dinner with your group. There is no accommodation planned for tonight, but if you would like to spend more time in Adelaide, we’ll be happy to organise additional accommodation (subject to availability).
Welcome to South Australia, where your adventure begins. You’ll be picked up from the YHA Adelaide at 8.30 am and head to the culinary epicentre of the State’s capital, the Adelaide Central Market. We’ll meander through the markets to collect some local produce to enjoy a little later in the day. Next, visit Australia’s Aboriginal Cultural Institute, Tandanya. The First Nation precinct provides a wonderful opportunity to experience both traditional and contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art. Leave South Australia’s capital behind and head north to the Clare Valley, home to some of the country’s best wines. Perhaps purchase a bottle (or two!) and pair it with your delicious lunch. After lunch enjoy expansive views of the Flinders Ranges as you drive towards Wilpena Pound, a natural amphitheatre of rocky mountains. Experience the sunset at Wilpena Pound before settling into your accommodation for the night.
It’s an early (but worthwhile) start this morning as you enjoy a short and leisurely walk along one of the many tracks in Flinders National Park. Spanning a massive 450 km, you won’t be able to cover it all, but your guide will choose the best trail for your group, depending on the time of year. Travel to the site of the Yourambulla Caves where you’ll have the opportunity to view some Aboriginal rock art before stopping for lunch at Quorn. Spend the afternoon enjoying a couple of walks.
Warren Gorge provides stunning ochre rock faces that complement the blue skies. Keep your eyes peeled for the very well camouflaged local rock wallabies. Tonight, you’ll stay in the quintessential South Australian town of Quorn.
Leave Quorn in the rearview mirror and head to Coober Pedy, the ‘opal capital of the world’. Due to extremely hot temperatures in the area most of the town is constructed underground, with residents living in homes carved into the hillsides. Upon arrival take a guided tour of the town, an underground house and the opal mine (with n opal-cutting demonstration). The rest of the afternoon is free to explore. You may even like to try your hand at 'noodling' (fossicking) for opals. End the day with some rescued joeys at Josephine’s Gallery and Kangaroo Orphanage. Tonight, stay in a multi-share underground bunkhouse in Coober Pedy.
Coober Pedy / Yulara
We’ll be honest, there’s a fair bit of driving today. From Coober Pedy travel past the Dingo Fence and Breakaways Reserve, and into the Northern Territory. Be prepared to ‘hold on’ as your guide hits the indicator on the vehicle for the first time, leaving the Stuart Highway and turning left onto the Lasseter Highway towards Uluru. Make sure you have your phone fully charged and your neck cushion handy!
Rise early this morning and be rewarded with a glorious Uluru sunrise. While the day is still fresh, enjoy a walk around the base of this incredible sandstone formation, which is of great spiritual significance to the Anangu people. Walk to the cave paintings near Mutitjulu Waterhole at the base of Uluru where you will be in the hands of an Anangu guide who will share the stories of this unique landscape. This exclusive experience will give you an insight to the meaning behind Anangu art and traditional culture. The onsite Cultural Centre also houses an extensive collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and crafts for you to browse. Head back to camp for lunch.
Today, explore one of the Red Centre's greatest treasures, Kata Tjuta, a group of domed red rocks rising spectacularly out of the desert. Like Uluru, they’re sacred to the Anangu people and are believed to be 600 million years old. Return to camp for lunch before travelling to Watarrka National Park (Kings Canyon). Spend the night in an exclusive campsite inside the park.
Kings Canyon/ Alice Springs
With its 300-metre high sandstone walls, hidden waterholes, fern forests, chasms, canyons and caverns, Watarrka National Park is central Australia’s answer to an oasis. The highlight attractions here are the Garden of Eden, the Amphitheatre and the Lost City – all sites you’ll get to visit on the Rim Walk. Following lunch, it’s back on the road for the onward drive to Alice Springs, where this adventure concludes.
Today is free for you to do as you wish in and around Alice Springs. You may have bid some of your travel crew farewell last night, so now it’s time for you to make your own fun! There’s a heap to see and do in Alice Springs town, including checking out what’s on display at the Araulean Cultural Precinct, visiting the Reptile Centre or walking up ANZAC Hill to see a stunning sunset over the city. A little bit further out, hire a bike and take a ride out to Simpsons Gap – a gorge between the towering cliffs of the West MacDonnell Ranges. Otherwise, you could get active and head on a steep hike up to the top of Mt Gillen for some epic views over the arid countryside.
Alice Springs – Darwin
Today, skip the 1,500km of driving which is about 24 hours by road, and fly from Alice Springs to Darwin with Qantas (QF). Qantas is Australia's first commercial airline and is now recognised as one of the world’s best International airlines.
We'll arrange your air tickets and issue them a couple of weeks prior to your departure.