Travel from Melbourne up through Australia's Red Centre to Darwin

Traverse the Australian continent, from Melbourne to Darwin, on this riveting road journey that takes in a great chunk of the country's most iconic landmarks plus some. Wind along the Great Ocean Road, stopping off en route to see the 12 Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge and London Bridge, venture into the dramatic landscape of the Grampians and become acquainted with Adelaide's amiable small-city vibe. Get a grasp of the Red Centre's sheer scale from atop Kings Canyon, learn about the indigenous cultures that have called the region's climes home for millennia, be awed by an Uluru sunset and captivated by the raw beauty of Kakadu. From Melbourne's edgy and eclectic street scene to the endless horizons of the rugged Outback, this adventure is for those looking to encounter the distinctions and diversities that colour Australia.

Melbourne, Australia
Darwin, Australia
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Min 8
Group size
Min 1 Max 24
Carbon offset
0kg pp per trip


  • Spot koalas at Kennett River
  • Gaze out over the 12 Apostles on the Great Ocean Road.
  • Sample South Australia's famous wines
  • Try your luck 'noodling' for opals in Coober Pedy
  • Take in Kata Tjuta on a Valley of the Winds walk
  • Learn about Uluru's significance on a cultural interpretation walk
  • Search for crocs in the Mary River Wetlands


Set off from Melbourne bound for Victoria's east coast and its centrepiece attraction – the Great Ocean Road. Pass through the surfing hub of Torquay and its famous surf beaches, then sit back and enjoy one of the world's most scenic coastal drives. Spy some koalas at Kennett River, stop for lunch in Apollo Bay and take in the commanding views out across The Twelve Apostles. Continue on to The Grampians National Park for a memorable overnight stay in Halls Gap.
Become versed in local Indigenous culture at the Brambuck Cultural Centre before heading off along a few of the park's hiking trails. Visit one of two impressive waterfalls in the area and soak up some of the jaw-dropping vistas. Make the remainder of the journey to the South Australian capital of Adelaide, where this 2 Day Melbourne to Adelaide Explorer trip draws to a close.
Make the most of a day to relax and explore South Australia's capital city Adelaide (overnight dorm accommodation included; meals at own expense). If you're looking for something exciting to do outside of the city, why not join our Barossa Valley Wine Tour (Tour Code PBVDT).
Head into the Clare Valley, one of Adelaide's premier wine regions, to sample some of the local tipple. After lunch, weave through the Flinders Ranges toward Wilpena Pound. Admire knotted gumtrees, old farm stations and myriad other natural features dotting the landscape on a hike before settling in at camp in the evening.
Visit the outback gallery of Talc Alf, a self-taught artist whose impressionist sculptures are a major drawcard for folk passing through Lyndhurst. Continue along the route of the old Ghan railway and take a brief break at Lake Eyre to admire Australia's largest lake. In the evening, set up camp in the tiny town of William Creek for an evening spent under the stars.
Travel past Anna Creek Station, the world's largest cattle ranch, which stretches across 24 000 sq km of South Australia. Continue travelling towards Lake Cadibarrawirracanna - the longest lake name in the world - before arriving at Coober Pedy, the 'opal capital of the world'. Take a tour around town and learn why it is necessary for patrons of the city to live underground. Perhaps even spend some time 'noodling' (fossicking) for rare gems before spending the night in an underground bunkhouse.
Meet some furry locals at Josephine's Gallery and Kangaroo Orphanage. Wander through an Aboriginal art gallery, trial a didgeridoo and feed a kangaroo before travelling to Erldunda.
Journey across the Red Centre towards Australia's most impressive natural gems. Snack on lunch in the imposing shadow of Uluru before hiking through Kata Tjuta's Valley of the Winds. Also known as the Olgas, these bizarrely bulging landforms are a sacred sight for local Aboriginals.
Rise with the sun and watch an incredible sunrise over Uluru before getting a little closer to the action on a short walk around the rock's base. Later, join a knowledgeable guide for an informative tour around a local town. Learn about the Mala Aborigines of the area before perusing traditional artworks in a local gallery. Head back to camp for a final evening camping out under the stars.
Venture into the natural wonderland of Kings Canyon. With blushing rock faces, crumbling sandstone walls and a maze of weathered rock domes, trekking through this region is sure to be the perfect finale to this journey. Hike through the Amphitheatre to discover the Lost City and the lush Garden of Eden before travelling back to Alice Springs.
Enjoy a day off in Alice Springs. Relax and unwind, or join us on another adventure to the West MacDonnell Ranges on our 4WD day trip. Visit the stunning Ormiston Gorge and the tropical oasis in the middle of the desert, Palm Valley (Tour Code PWMDT).
Pay a visit to iconic Karlu Karlu, or 'Devils Marbles', and hear the Aboriginal Creation Time story behind these gigantic boulders before continuing on to Tennant Creek for lunch. In the evening visit a true blue Aussie pub, perhaps sharing a couple of beers with the friendly locals before camping out beneath the stars for an evening of peaceful outback solitude.
Start the day with an exploration of Nitmiluk National Park. Meaning the 'Place of the Cicada Dreaming' in the Jawoyn language, it’s a stunning place to explore. Take a short walk to Barrawei Lookout for an incredible view of Katherine Gorge before learning about the significance of this area to the Jawoyn people. Stop for a swim in the refreshing waters of Edith Falls before journeying to tropical Darwin, the Territory’s culture-rich capital city.
Welcome to Darwin, the Northern Territory’s balmy, laidback, slightly kooky capital city. Trade the urban heat for the cool swimming holes of Litchfield National Park. Get a special welcome to the Wulna Country from the Limilngan-Wulna people, and gain an insight into local Indigenous culture with lessons in bush tucker, didgeridoo playing, spear throwing and basket weaving. Then try keeping count of the crocs floating by on a boat trip through the Mary River Wetlands.
Put the 4x4 through its paces on the way to Jim Jim Falls. Often raging; sometimes a mere trickle, the falls are an epic feature of the landscape. Hike to the base before continuing to Twin Falls, where the Kakadu National Park operates a boat and boardwalk adventure to explore the stunning gorge and surrounding falls. Enjoy the tranquillity of this scenic gem before the return our campsite to relax for the evening.
Hike through Ubirr and see ancient Aboriginal rock art that has survived almost 1500 years. Clamber up to a rocky lookout where the Nardab Floodplain, and aptly named East Alligator River, make for an astonishing view. This hike is rewarded with a splash in the plunge pools at Maguk (Barramundi Gorge) before heading back to Darwin this evening.
View trip notes to read full itinerary


9 breakfasts, 11 lunches, 8 dinners
All Terrain vehicle, Mini coach, Minibus
Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night), Camping (with shared facilities) (2 nights), Hostel (1 night), Permanent tented camp (with shared facilities) (5 nights), Underground Multishare (1 night)
Included activities
  • Jim Jim Falls
  • Litchfield National Park
  • Maguk (Barramundi Gorge)
  • Mary River cruise
  • Pudakul Cultural Experience
  • Twin Falls
  • Ubirr Rock


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Important notes

1. Default pick up in front of St Pauls Cathedral (Flinders St), 07:15am in Melbourne
2. Tour finishes in Darwin day 16 at approx 6pm, Please consider these times when booking flights and accommodation.
3. We recommend you book accommodation in advance and extend your stay here.
4. Strict luggage limit of 15kg applies (10kg in Kakadu) excess luggage can be stored at Darwin accommodation.
5. Please bring a sleeping bag, or you can purchase one for AU$30. Please enquire at time of booking.
6. This trip is operated by our experienced local partners Adventure Tours.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

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16 Day Melbourne to Darwin Explorer , June 2015