Wander through the magnificent domes of Kata Tjuta, gaze in awe at the sacred rock of Uluru and hike through natural amphitheatres, rocky chasms and lush oases in Kings Canyon.. Learn about ancient cave paintings near Mutitjulu Waterhole as a local Anangu guide explains the culture and stories behind the art and its connection to the land.. Dine under the stars and camp within privately owned sites on the red earth of the Outback to experience the true magic of the Red Centre.. The Mary River Wetlands feature myriad wildlife, including the highest concentration of saltwater crocodiles in the southern hemisphere. Get up close to the snappy beasts on a river cruise.
Discover two regions of serene nature and sacred First Nations culture – the Red Centre and the Top End – on a nine-day Australian adventure. Explore the rugged landscapes of the Outback, admire Uluru by sunrise and sunset, weave through the gigantic boulders and gullies of Kata Tjuta and trek through the Lost City and Garden of Eden in Kings Canyon. Travel north to Darwin to go bird and croc spotting in the lush Mary River, see traditional rock art in Ubirr, climb high to look down on the Nardab Floodplain, float in the stunning waterholes of World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park, learn some of the sacred history of the First Peoples of Australia at Anbangbang and cruise through the towering rock walls of Katherine Gorge. Gain a deeper understanding and a newfound appreciation of what’s beneath the surface in the real Australia.
Breakfast Included: 6 Lunches Included: 8 Dinner Included: 6
Alice Springs – Uluru
Melbourne might have the arts scene and Sydney the beaches, but Alice Springs is really where you need to go to understand the heart and soul of Australia. Meet your leader and fellow travellers at the Alice Springs pick-up point this morning and set off to experience a working camel farm. Surrounded by the serenity of the Red Centre, observe and learn about these magnificent creatures, each with their own endearing personality. After this friendly encounter, and perhaps even a ride, continue your journey inland to Kata Tjuta. Whereas Uluru emerges from the earth as one giant boulder form, Kata Tjuta pops up as 36 different domes and you’ll get to know the site pretty well on an afternoon hike following lunch. As evening begins, enjoy some tasty snacks as the sun sets over Uluru casting incredible colours. The perfect end to a remarkable day is awaiting you back at camp, as you enjoy a delicious spread of food with your group. If the weather permits, sit outside under the stars.
An early start this morning is rewarded with an Uluru sunrise. While the morning is fresh, enjoy a walk around the base of the rock, gaining insights into the land and the local Mala people on an interpretive cultural walk with an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Guide. Once you’ve had lunch, perhaps purchase some art and craft of the First Peoples of Australia, at the Uluru Cultural Centre. Travel onto the exclusive campsite within Watarrka National Park (Kings Canyon), where the group will eat and sleep for the night.
Kings Canyon – Alice Springs
The main attraction of Watarrka is undoubtedly Kings Canyon – a humungous gorge enclosed by sheer rock walls hundreds of metres high. Offering a welcome escape from the dry desert heat, this site’s deep gullies and hidden rockpools provide shelter to more than 600 species of native plants and animals. Your guide will point these out on a guided trek that takes in the canyon’s most famous sites – the Lost City, Garden of Eden, Amphitheatre and North and South Walls. Then it’s lunch, and after you’ve relaxed for a little while, head back to Alice Springs where you'll stay the night before a flight to Darwin tomorrow.
This morning, be ready for a pickup from the Alice Wanderer shuttle transfers to head to the airport for your flight bound for Darwin (flight time approximately 2 hours). Once arrived, catch the Darwin Airport shuttle service to your hotel where you’ll spend the afternoon and evening, before setting off on your Top End adventure early tomorrow morning.
Darwin – Mary River via Litchfield National Park
Your adventure continues in the tropical city of Darwin this morning. Set off from Darwin and head south to Lichfield National Park – a huge sandstone plateau with dozens of waterfalls. Explore Florence Falls, Wangi Falls and the Buley Rockholes. After a picnic lunch, stroll through steamy rainforests and cool off with a dip in one of Litchfield's picturesque swimming holes. We then hit the road to Wulna Country, where your Limilngan-Wulna hosts – the land’s Traditional Owners – will greet you with a Cul Cul or ‘Welcome to Country’. Learn about their culture during bush tucker talks and didgeridoo and basket weaving demonstrations. Enjoy a camp dinner before climbing into bed at private campsite in the Mary River region.
Kakadu National Park: Ubirr & Barramundi Gorge
After breakfast this morning, head to onto the water on a wildlife cruise in the Mary River Wetlands, a network of waterways home to crocodiles and native bird species. Kakadu National Park and discover ancient Aboriginal rock art in Ubirr. Your guide will lead an interpretive cultural walk through the numerous rock galleries, before you climb to the top of a lookout for views over the Nardab floodplain. Tonight, relax by the pool at the Kakadu campground and enjoy a group dinner.
Kakadu – Katherine
This morning you have the option to take a scenic flight over Kakadu (at your own expense). The flight takes in views over the Arnhem Land escarpment, vast flood plains and billabongs. Later spend time exploring Kakadu’s other major Aboriginal rock art site – Nourlangie (Burrunggui), while your guide provides a glimpse into how the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people live. After lunch head south and stop to visit the historic gold-mining centre of Pine Creek. Stop for a quick dip at Maguk or Gunlom Falls, before continuing on to Katherine, where you'll settle in for the night at a private campsite near Nitmiluk National Park (Katherine Gorge).
Katherine Gorge – Darwin
Depending on the season, head out on a morning cruise along the inky waters of Katherine Gorge, or canoe between red rock walls that are up to 70 metres high (both of these activities are optional and at your own expense). This 23 million-year-old landscape was formed by the Katherine River, which flows from Arnhem Land out to the Timor Sea. After lunch we head to the beautiful Edith falls for one last refreshing swim in the huge plunge pool before we hit the road back to Darwin, where your adventure comes to an end on arrival.