Travel through Australia's dusty Red Centre and tropical Top End

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, cruise the Mary River and spot crocs in the wetlands, and get a taste of the tropics in Kakadu National Park. 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.


Start
Alice Springs, Australia
Finish
Darwin, Australia
Country
Australia
Style
Basix
Theme
Explorer, Indigenous Culture, Overland, Walking & Trekking, Wildlife
Code
POBOC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 18
Group size
Min 1, Max 24

Why we love this trip

  • Skip the 1,500km of straight driving between Alice Springs and Darwin and fly with Qantas Airways, on an included flight

  • Get back to basics with this classic seven day overland adventure.

  • Get up early and see the sun rise over Uluru and walk Kings Canyon's rugged rim, see the highlights and national parks of Australia's Top End in rugged, authentic 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

  • Enjoy an authentic Indigenous experience in the Red Centre and Top End

  • The Mary River Wetlands feature a wealth of wildlife, including the highest concentration of saltwater crocodiles in the southern hemisphere. Get up close to the snappy beasts on a billabong cruise

  • Discover the wonders of Kakadu National Park. Get adventurous on a 4WD tour to the spectacular Jim Jim Falls and see the ancient Aboriginal rock art of Ubirr

Is this trip right for you?

  • This is a basic trip, covering the highlights of Australia's Red Centre and Top End in a short amount of time.

  • You'll spend some nights of the trip sleeping in outback camping grounds. While conditions can be basic and facilities are minimal, this is all part of the adventure. You'll also need to pitch in with preparing meals and cleaning. This is part of the experience of travelling in a group.

  • This trip requires a moderate level of fitness as it involves a lot of walking, allowing you to truly enjoy the surrounding nature. Some hikes are longer and more challenging than others. Please bring sturdy, comfortable walking shoes and comfortable clothing.

  • This trip uses multishare hostel accommodation that may be in mixed-gender dorm rooms. We don't offer private rooms, but you can book our Territory Encompassed trip if you'd prefer twin share motel

  • Temperatures in the Red Centre and Top End be extreme. During the day the weather can be hot (and the Australian sun is strong) so please bring appropriate clothing, use sun protection and drink plenty of water. In the evenings temperatures really drop, so ensure you have base layers and warm clothing.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 April 2016 to 31 March 2017. View the itinerary for departures between 01 April 2017 - 31 March 2018

Starting in Alice Springs, 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. We 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. The perfect end to a remarkable day is awaiting you back at camp, as you enjoy a famous 1,000 star dinner. With the red earth at your feet and an infinite sprawl of stars overhead, sit down to a candlelit spread of locally sourced food and wines.

Driving time today is about six hours, walking time is about one.
Accommodation
  • Permanent tented camp (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Uluru & Kata Tjuta National Park Fee
  • 1000 Star Dinner
Meals Included
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
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 Aboriginal people on an interpretive cultural walk with an Aboriginal guide. Once you’ve had lunch, perhaps purchase some Indigenous art and craft 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.

Note: Total driving time today is around three and a half hours. Total walking time is approximately two hours.
Accommodation
  • Permanent tented camp (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mala cultural interpretative walk
  • Uluru Cultural Centre
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
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, before you make your way back to Alice Springs and check into your hostel, the Alice Lodge Backpackers.

Note: Total driving time takes around five hours. Total walking time is approximately three hours.

Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kings Canyon Rim Walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Today, skip the 1,500km of driving which is about 24 hours by road, and fly from Alice Springs to Darwin with Qantas Airways. Qantas was Australia's first commercial airline, and stands for "Queensland and Northern Territory Ariel Services" and is now one of the worlds best International airlines.

We'll arrange your air tickets and issue them a couple of weeks prior to your departure. On arrival in Darwin, someone will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel. Tonight, you’ll be staying at the Melaleuca on Mitchell. (no meals included)
Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Airport Transfers
  • Qantas Flight
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Leaving Darwin, travel into Wulna Country and receive a Cul Cul or unique ‘Welcome to Country’ by the traditional owners of the land, the Limilngan-Wulna people. Learn about their culture and enjoy bush tucker talks, didgeridoo demonstrations and basket weaving. Next stop is the Mary River wetlands system, which is home to the highest concentration of saltwater crocodiles in the southern hemisphere. Get close (but not too close) to the ‘salties’ and other wild creatures on a unique billabong cruise. In the afternoon, head to World-Heritage listed Kakadu National Park. Your first stop here is Maguk (Barramundi Gorge) where a hike is rewarded with a reviving swim in the plunge pools. Spend the night at a permanent campsite at Kakadu.

Note: Total driving time today is around five hours. Total walking time is approximately one hour.

Accommodation
  • Permanent tented camp (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mary River cruise
  • Kakadu National Park Fee
  • Pudakul Cultural Experience
  • Maguk (Barramundi Gorge)
Meals Included
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today is a long day of driving. Get ready for some 4WD action as you make your way to Jim Jim Falls, the crown of Kakadu. Once there, take in stunning views of this natural wonder and enjoy some time for a swim or a rest on the sandy beach. After lunch, discover the ancient Aboriginal rock art at Ubirr. Your guide will lead an interpretive cultural walk through the different rock art galleries, before you climb to the top of a rocky lookout for fabulous views over the Nardab floodplain. Tonight, camp in twin-share permanent tents in the Mary River region.

Note: Total driving time today is around seven hours. Total walking distance is approximately 3 kilometres, some of which is along challenging terrain.

Accommodation
  • Permanent tented camp (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Jim Jim Falls Walk
  • Ubirr Rock
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Filled with waterholes and waterfalls, Litchfield National Park is well deserving of all its hype. Exploring Litchfield is the perfect way to complete this trip. Today visit 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. As with all good things, this Top End adventure must come to an end. Hit the road and head back to Darwin. After you've arrived, you might like to head out for a night on the town with your new friends. Total driving time today is around four hours.

Note: 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'.
Included Activities
  • Litchfield National Park
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch

Meals

4 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 4 dinners

Transport

All Terrain vehicle, Plane, Private vehicle

Accommodation

Hostel (2 nights), Permanent tented camp (with shared facilities) (2 nights), Permanent, furnished tented camp (with shared facilities) (2 nights)

Included Activities

  • Uluru & Kata Tjuta National Park Fee
  • 1000 Star Dinner
  • Mala cultural interpretative walk
  • Uluru Cultural Centre
  • Kings Canyon Rim Walk
  • Airport Transfers
  • Qantas Flight
  • Mary River cruise
  • Kakadu National Park Fee
  • Pudakul Cultural Experience
  • Maguk (Barramundi Gorge)
  • Jim Jim Falls Walk
  • Ubirr Rock
  • Litchfield National Park

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. Tour commences in Alice Springs on day 1 at 6am and finishes in Darwin day 7 at approx 6pm. Onward travel to be booked the following day.
2.You can also join this trip in Yulara (Uluru) on day 1; please see tour code POBOCY.
3. Trip also runs in reverse; see tour code PKBTC
4. This trip requires a sleeping bag

Essential Trip Information

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