Get back to basics with this classic nine day overland adventure.. Skip 1500km of straight driving between Alice Springs and Darwin and fly with Qantas. This flight is included in the trip cost.. See the sun rise over Uluru, walk the rugged rim of Kings Canyon, discover the highlights and national parks of Australia’s Top End in authentic outback style.. Enjoy the flexibility of a private vehicle, the local knowledge of a passionate guide and the magic of camping under the great southern sky
Embark on a Northern Territory adventure from Alice Springs to Darwin, taking in the region’s biggest and best draws along the way. Witness Uluru during a stunning sunrise, wander through the majestic canyons of Kata Tjuta and admire the views from Kings Canyon. Head into the bush and learn from the area’s traditional land owners, enjoy exclusive access to Arnhem Land, cruise the Mary River and spot crocs in the wetlands, and get a taste of the tropics in Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks, as well as Katherine Gorge. A region of exceptional landscapes and intriguing cultural attractions, this tail-to-top adventure through the Territory is a trip that will leave you with a profound appreciation of Australia’s raw and rugged natural beauty.
Breakfast Included: 8 Lunches Included: 10 Dinner Included: 8
Alice Springs to Uluru
The major point of difference with this trip is that the itinerary is flexible. Where you go and in what order will largely depend on what your group want to see, what the weather's doing, and what your trip leader recommends. Therefore, the following description is only a rough outline of what you can expect. The region's big name attractions, however, you're guaranteed to see: Uluru/Kata Tjuta, Kings Canyon, Palm Valley and the Western MacDonnell Ranges. Several lesser known attractions – Rainbow Valley, Owen Springs, Ruby Gap and the Eastern MacDonnell Ranges – you'll get to visit if seasonality and time permit.
The following itinerary is therefore only an example of the form your trip could take.
Starting off in either Alice Springs or Yulara, set off to experience a working camel farm, perhaps even enjoying a ride. Make our way to Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) and take a guided walk through the awe-inspiring Domes of Kata Tjuta. Then head to Australia's most iconic landmark: Uluru (Ayres Rock). As the sun begins to set below the horizon, take a glass of sparkling wine and watch the rock's rich colours change against the backdrop of a blazing Red Centre sunset. Head back to camp for a hearty dinner, and ponder what the following day may hold.
Notes: Total driving time is approximately five and a half hours. Total walking time is around an hour.
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 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. After your stroll, we walk to the cave paintings near Mutitjulu Waterhole at the base of Uluru. You will be in the hands of an Anangu guide who will share the stories of this unique landscape and explain the Art, the Culture and connection to Land. This exclusive experience will give you an exclusive insight to the meaning behind Anangu art and traditional culture. The on-site Cultural Centre also houses an extensive collection of the art and craft of the First Peoples of Australia for you to browse.
This afternoon travel onto the exclusive campsite within Watarrka National Park (Kings Canyon), where the group will eat and sleep for the night.
Note: Total driving time today is around three and a half hours. Total walking time is approximately two hours.
After breakfast, get your hiking shoes on and head out to explore the impressive formations of Kings Canyon. You’ll be left breathless by the sheer beauty of the canyon, as you trek through the Amphitheatre, the Lost City, the lush and ancient Garden of Eden and the North and South Walls. Lunch is a welcome prospect, and after you’ve relaxed for a little while we head along an iconic Red Centre dirt track to the Western McDonnell Ranges where we stay overnight at our permanent campsite at Glen Helen.
Note: Total driving time takes around five hours.
Total walking time is approximately three hours.
Western MacDonnell Ranges
Spend this morning exploring the mysterious palms at Palm Valley. The only road in is in a dry river bed. This afternoon explore the Western Macdonnell Ranges, highlights include Ormiston Gorge, where we keep our eyes peeled for wallabies whist admiring its colourful walls, continue on to the exceptional vistas at Ellery Creek Big Hole and perhaps cool off with a dip. Your guide will find a suitable place to set up our bush camp tonight.
Note: Total driving time is about 45 minutes.
Total walking time will be up to 10km
Eastern MacDonnell Ranges - Alice Springs
Today we’ll be exploring one of the Outback’s best kept secrets – the Eastern Macdonnell ranges. Learn about the ‘Caterpillar Dreaming’ on a short walk at Emily Gap, then travel on to Trephina Gorge for a 1-hour guided walk through this area of beautiful rock formations and myriad birdlife. For lunch we’ll be calling in at the historical Ross River Homestead, an iconic building established in the 1890’s as a regional supply centre to the goldfields. Back on the dirt track, next stop is the ‘Ghost Town’ of Arltunga, which serves as a magnificent example of early European settlement. Learn about the case of mistaken gemstone that led to a mining rush here, and which also precipitated its abandonment. After exploring the best of the Eastern Macdonnell Ranges, it’s back to Alice Springs for a late afternoon arrival.
Note: Total driving time will be about three hours
Alice Springs - Darwin flight
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.
The rest of today is free in Darwin.
Darwin - Arnhem Land
We leave Darwin with a bright and early start, and head to the World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park. Firstly, we make our way to see the stunning rock art at Ubirr before climbing to the top of a lookout so see the sprawling Nardab Floodplain. Next stop, head to the border of Kakadu and Arnhem Land to experience a Guluyumbi cruise along the East Alligator River. Travelling with a Bininj guide, understand more about the cultural importance of the East Alligator River to the region’s traditional custodians. Once the cruise wraps up, jump in a vehicle and cross straight into Arnhem Land for an unforgettable afternoon of exploration at an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art complex known as Mawurndaddja. This complex has a spectacular series of galleries with rock art spanning from the present time to many thousands of years of age. Your guide will explain the importance of this art, the methods used to perform this expressionism and the anthropological system used to date the art as you are guided through the site. Spend the afternoon exploring this historic ancient site before heading back to Kakadu and settling into this evening’s campsite.
Note: Total driving time is about six hours (approximately 350kms) Total walking time is approximately one and a half hours (including stops for informative talks)
Kakadu National Park
Early this morning after breakfast, travel by 4WD to the Twin Falls. Experience this spectacular gorge aboard a boat shuttle that’s operated by the national park, with a walk along the boardwalk afterwards. Unwind and relax on the sandy banks before heading to explore Jim Jim Falls. After a quick lunch break, take in the views of this natural wonder before taking a challenging walk to the base of the falls. Here you can choose to swim or relax on the beach, enjoying the spectacular scenery, before making the short drive to your overnight bush camp.
Note: Total driving time is about four hours (approximately 120kms)
Total walking time is approximately two and a half hours
Kakadu National Park to Nitmiluk National Park
After breakfast, head to either Maguk (Barramundi Gorge) or Gunlom Falls and cool off with a dip in the plunge pools. Stop off at the Lazy Lizard Hotel and shop at Pine Creek before heading further south after lunch. Journey for around three hours in a private vehicle to your campsite on the doorstep of Nitmiluk National Park. Once comfortable, have dinner with the group before relaxing in your tent for the night.
Note: Total driving time is about five and a half hours (approximately 340kms)
Total walking time is approximately one and a half hours
Nitmiluk National Park
Spend the morning at the magnificent Katherine Gorge in Nitmiluk National Park. Perhaps take a cruise along the gorge or rent a kayak and paddle downstream. These options are seasonal and at your own expense. In the afternoon, head off to Edith Falls where you can cool down with a refreshing swim in the huge rock pools. Continue on to the edge of Litchfield National Park. Settle down for the night in a snug camp and enjoy dinner with your group.
Note: Total driving time is about four and a half hours (approximately 350kms)
Total walking time is approximately three and a half hours
Litchfield National Park / Darwin
Once you’ve had breakfast, head into Litchfield National Park. Filled with waterholes, creeks and waterfalls, it’s the perfect place to soak up the tranquillity of the tropics. Visit the gateway of Florence Falls, the popular Wangi Falls and the refreshing waters of the Buley Rockholes. Enjoy a picnic lunch, stroll through steamy rainforests and cool off with a dip in one of Litchfield's swimming holes. In the afternoon, take the two-hour drive back to Darwin where your trip ends. Enjoy an optional night out with the group if you decide to stay in Darwin for the night.
Note: Total driving time is about three and a half hours (approximately 250kms)
Total walking time is approximately one hour
Should any of the attractions of the standard itinerary not be open as a result of National Park decisions surrounding accessibility and safety, activities will be substituted. Please see 'climate and seasonal information'.
- Florence Falls
- Wangi Falls
- Bluey Rockholes