5 Day Darwin to Alice Springs Explorer incl. Uluru Trip Notes

5 Day Darwin to Alice Springs Explorer incl. Uluru

Last Modified: 18 Aug 2015
5 Day Darwin to Alice Springs Explorer incl. Uluru
Trip code: PDASU5
Validity: 01 Apr 2015 to 31 Mar 2016
Table of Contents
StyleImportant notesVisas
MapGroup sizeIssues on your trip
ItineraryYour fellow travellersWhat to take
Also available to purchaseSingle travellersSafety
Itinerary disclaimerAccommodationTravel insurance
Culture shock rating MealsResponsible Travel
Physical ratingTransportA couple of rules
Physical preparationGroup leaderThe Intrepid Foundation
Included activitiesJoining point Feedback
Spending moneyFinish point
TippingFinish point instructions
To save you money and the hassle of booking multiple trips, this journey is a combination of some of our most popular adventures so your leader and the composition of your group may change.
  • Our Original style trips have a great balance of included activities with your group and free time to explore independently. Where we stay ensures we keep our travellers firmly entrenched in a region’s people and culture, and provides them with unique local experiences that benefits the community too. In most locations we stay in simple tourist-class hotels (i.e. 2-3 stars), plus on many trips you'll also get to experience a night with a local family on a homestay or something a little different like a Bedouin camp in the Sahara. Original style trips come with all manner of transport modes and use a mixture of local and private transport. You might find yourself sailing in a dhow in Zanzibar, jumping on a rickshaw in Sri Lanka or sailing on a yacht through the Galapagos. No matter the mode, it's all about minimising our environmental impact and making getting around part of the adventure.
5 Day Darwin to Alice Springs Explorer incl. Uluru
Day 1 Darwin/Katherine Gorge
We depart from Darwin early and make our way to Nitmiluk National Park. Our first stop is the beautiful Edith Falls for a swim before heading to Katherine Gorge where your guide will take you on a short return walk to Baruwei lookout. You can get a postcard shot of the gorge and learn about this stunning area and its significance to the local Jawoyn Aboriginal people. Once we finish exploring the gorge we continue our journey south to Daly Waters arriving in time for dinner and a beer at the historic Daly Waters Hotel - the territory’s oldest pub (own expense). Overnight in our camp at Daly Waters.
Camping (with shared facilities) (1 nt)
Day 2 Daly Waters/Devils Marbles (Karlu Karlu)/Alice Springs
We continue our journey south passing through Tennant Creek and onto Karlu Karlu (Devils Marbles) where we have some time to explore the well-known marble shaped boulders, a site sacred to its traditional owners. There is also one last photo stop as we cross the tropic of Capricorn before ending the day in the heart of the Red Centre, Alice Springs.
Day 3 Alice Springs/Kata Tjuta/Uluru
Kick off your day on top of a camel! Our first stop is an authentic outback camel farm where you can choose to take a ride and experience the best in desert transport (at own expense). From here it is off to Uluru (Ayers Rock) for lunch. Explore the 36 domes of Kata Tjuta as you get up close to this ancient geological formation during a Valley of the Winds hike. Fall in love with the desert sun as it sets over Uluru, then prepare for a real treat – our famous 1,000 star dinner. Sitting down to a candlelit spread of locally-sourced food and wines, red earth at your feet and an infinite sprawl of stars overhead, soak up the vastness of the Outback skies during a hosted dinner you’ll never forget. Tonight you can sleep in a permanent tent or curl up in swag (Aussie bedroll) and enjoy a night under the stars. (LD)
Included Activities
  • Uluru & Kata Tjuta National Park Fee
Permanent tented camp (with shared facilities) (1 nt)
Day 4 Uluru/Kings Canyon
An early start is rewarded with the sunrise over Uluru. While the morning’s fresh enjoy an unguided walk around the base of Uluru. You will then deepen your understanding of the land and the Mala people as you embark on a cultural interpretive walk with an Aboriginal guide (and interpreter).* It is a unique opportunity to share experiences, and to connect with and learn about the oldest culture on earth. Afterwards, you will have the opportunity to see more Aboriginal arts and crafts at the Cultural Centre before we travel to our exclusive campsite within the Watarrka National Park (Kings Canyon) where we sleep for the night. (BLD)
Included Activities
  • Mala cultural intrepretive walk
Permanent tented camp (with shared facilities) (1 nt)
Day 5 Kings Canyon/Alice Springs
Get your hiking shoes on today as we head out to explore the impressive formations of Kings Canyon. You’ll be left breathless by the sheer beauty of the canyon as we 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 we make our way back to Alice Springs. (BL)
Included Activities
  • Kings Canyon Rim Walk
Also available to purchase
For many of our trips we have other services or experiences that are also available to purchase to extend your trip or to make your holiday a little easier. Below is a list of other travel products you can purchase in conjunction with this trip.
  • Sleeping Bag Purchase (Top End & West Coast) (PSBT)
    Itinerary disclaimer
    Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!
    Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.
    Please note due to cultural sensitivities, entry to particular parts of local Aboriginal communities may be unavailable.
    Where Aboriginal guide is unavailable in Red Centre an Intrepid guide will lead the interpretive cultural walk. Top End cultural experiences are only available during the dry season (May-Oct) as site is subject to flooding (contact our customer service team for availability). Participants may be absent due to cultural commitments with minimal prior notification and Intrepid reserves the right to amend the itinerary in these circumstances with no obligation to refund.
    Culture shock rating

    At times local life here will be familiar to that of back home, and at times very different. Services are available most of the time, English may not be the native language, and there may be some cultural differences.
    Physical rating

    This trip will raise your heartbeat. Moderate physical activities are included and a good level of fitness is required.
    Physical preparation
    To get the most out of this trip you need to be prepared for walks of between 3-8 km on some days. This may be on rough ground and perhaps getting feet wet in rivers and creeks. From Oct to March you will experience temperatures of over 35 degrees Celsius (and sometimes well into the 40’s) so be prepared to endure extra physical stress due to the heat at these times, especially while on walks.
    These extreme outside temperatures can also place stress on the air-conditioning units within our vehicles which can make travelling uncomfortable. Your tour guide will assist with regular breaks and information to assist in keeping well hydrated.
    Included activities
    Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
    Spending money
    Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
    In Australia, tipping is expected for certain things, but not everything. As a guide, tipping applies when you sit down in a restaurant for a meal (10% is a general rule). When using taxis or buying drinks at a bar, rounding up is acceptable.
    You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline AU$2-5 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
    Important notes
    Please note that some of our planned activities are contingent on seasonal conditions. We will arrange alternative activities if this is the case. This is a flexible itinerary and may be altered to allow for better times to view certain inclusions depending on sunset/sunrise and weather conditions.
    Given the unpredictable nature of weather and travel in the tropics, we are sometimes forced to make late itinerary changes due to unexpected heavy rain and/or storms and road closures. In the event of this occurring, itinerary changes may need to be implemented after commencement of you trip. In this event, your Tour Leader/Driver has full authority to change the itinerary and/or order of activities and substitute alternative destinations and activities as necessary. No refunds are available due to itinerary changes and missed activities caused by extreme weather conditions and/or road closures.
    Age restrictions apply to this trip: minimum age 8 for all Original trips and 18 for all Basix trips (with the exception of trips that are camping only).
    All travellers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult who is responsible for the child's day to day care. Please note families/adults travelling with people under 18 must upgrade from dorm-share accommodation to private rooms; accompanying adults may be required to share with others in the group on a twin share basis.
    Group size
    Maximum of 24 travellers per group.
    Your fellow travellers
    As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.
    This trip is a package tour and is therefore made up of a combination of shorter trips. This can mean you will travel with a different guide and passengers on each section.
    Single travellers
    Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
    Permanent tented camp (with shared facilities) (2 nts), Camping (with shared facilities) (1 nt)
    To participate in this trip you must be prepared to assist with preparing meals, cleaning dishes, collecting firewood, setting up and packing up camp every day, in all conditions.
    Simple permanent twin-share tents or option to swag camp (Red Centre trips only). Sleeping bags are required and are available for pre-purchase from us. Bathroom facilities are shared and are located a short walking distance from camp.
    Camping consists of portable, easy to erect, dome tents. We provide comfortable swags (canvas bedroll including 2 inch mattresses). You can either bring your own sleeping bag or purchase one from us at AU$30.00 per person. Pillows are not provided so you can bring your own if you wish.
    While camping in dome tents you will be expected to erect your tent and pack it away as well as roll up your swag/bedroll your leader will demonstrate how this is done on tour.
    For BASIX travellers, when not camping the standard accommodation is multishare, and may be in mixed-sex dorms. Families traveling with children under the age of 18 MUST book the Original level trip (if Original is offered) as children cannot stay in mixed dormitory's. Please ask our Reservations team for more information.
    Our trips generally finish early evening. We recommend booking one night post accommodation in your end city and planning onward travel for the following day. We cannot accept responsibility for missed onward travel if we are delayed for some reason on the last day of travel.
    2 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 2 Dinners
    Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.
    AUD 250.00
    Your tour includes meals as indicated in our brochure and online. On most days, breakfast, lunch and dinner will be included. Your leader will prepare most of the meals whilst on tour, however our tours are activity and participation based. During your travels with us you will have the opportunity to assist with daily activities such as setting up camp, helping prepare meals and clearing dishes. None of this is difficult however many hands make light work and any assistance provided to crew is always much appreciated. Most people agree that this type of activity helps you feel like less of a tourist and more of an explorer.
    Passengers with special meal requirements or food allergies MUST ensure they or their travel agent inform Intrepid/ATA of this at the time of booking. Food for the trip is purchased prior to commencement and special requirements cannot be catered for after departing. If you have not notified us prior to departure, you may be asked to pay for any additional food yourself. Due to the nature of our trips food is basic but plentiful. We provide the below substitutes, please bring your own staples if you require specific foods not listed below:
    No Pork (Alternative to Ham provided)
    No Dairy (soy milk provided)
    Vegetarian (additional veg and vegie burgers provided)
    Vegan (supply of additional fruit and veg provided)
    Gluten Free (cereal, bread, wraps, pasta, snack bars, sweet and savoury biscuits provided)
    *Religious dietary requirements and specifically prepared/sourced produce is not able to be catered for.
    Mini coach, Private vehicle
    You will be travelling in a vehicle specifically designed and built for Australian outback conditions. All our vehicles are air conditioned for your comfort, have CD players and/or Ipod connections and large panoramic windows for uninterrupted sightseeing.
    Group leader
    All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by a group leader. In Australia your group leader is also your driver, taking you from start to finish in a specialised safari vehicle. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, organise the camp and cooking for camp cooked meals (though passengers are required to help out) and recommend great local eating venues. They will also introduce you to our local friends along the way. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the areas visited on the trip, including historical, environmental, cultural and social aspects.
    Joining point
    Default pick up point Melaleuca on Mitchell @ 5:50am (52 Mitchell Street)
    Central Darwin
    Northern Territory
    Finish point
    Select Alice Springs accommodation
    Alice Springs
    Alice Springs
    Finish point instructions
    This tour finishes on arrival in Alice Springs at around 6pm. Finishing times may be earlier during the summer months. Please take this into consideration when booking any onward travel out of Alice Springs. We cannot guarantee arriving in time to board the Ghan or any flight on this day.
    We strongly recommend you book an extra night of accommodation to extend your stay here. Please contact our sales staff if you would like to arrange accommodation in Alice Springs after your tour.
    Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
    We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
    Belgium: Yes - required in advance
    Canada: Yes - required in advance
    Germany: Yes - required in advance
    Ireland: Yes - required in advance
    Netherlands: Yes - required in advance
    New Zealand: Not required
    South Africa: Yes - required in advance
    Switzerland: Yes - required in advance
    United Kingdom: Yes - required in advance
    USA: Yes - required in advance
    All travellers, except New Zealand citizens, must obtain a visa or travel authority before travelling to Australia. Failure to do so means you may not be allowed to board your flight to Australia. Most nationalities can obtain an Electronic Travel Authority via the internet before arrival. Please check the following website or with your relevant Australian visa issuing office for your nationalities requirements. http://www.eta.immi.gov.au/index.html
    Issues on your trip
    While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
    We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
    You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
    What to take
    Pack only your bare essentials. Due to limited space and strictly enforced road laws regarding weight limits, Intrepid travellers can carry a maximum of 15 kg (10kg for any trips visiting Kakadu). You are required to limit your luggage to one small to medium sized soft bag or backpack and a small daypack, which can be carried inside the vehicle. Intrepid cannot guarantee to carry overweight or oversized luggage. Please store bulky items at your pre tour accommodation. It may be necessary to freight excess luggage at your own expense.
    Winter (June, July, August) night time temperatures in the Red Centre and South of the country can reach below zero. Please ensure you pack appropriately. Warm jacket, thermals, woollen hat is advisable for the colder months. Depending on the region you are visiting, particularly the South, you may also need to pack waterproof trousers and a jacket. Daytime temperatures can be extreme from Oct to March with temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius. In the Top End Night time temperatures can also be high at this time of year.
    Australia has relaxed attitudes to standards of dress, however the extreme sunshine can cause sunburn- particularly in summer. We recommend that you bring loose, cool, cotton clothing to protect yourself from the harsh sun. A sun hat, sunscreen and sunglasses are a must.
    From October to March it is likely that you will experience temperatures of over 35 degrees Celsius, and sometimes well into the 40’s. Be prepared to endure extra physical stress due to the heat at these times, especially while on walks. These extreme temperatures can also place stress on the air-conditioning units within our vehicles which can make travelling uncomfortable. Your tour guide will assist with regular breaks and information to assist keeping hydrated.
    Please come prepared for all extremes.
    Comfortable foam sleeping mats are provided. Please bring a travel pillow and sleeping bag or pre-purchase as sleeping bag for $30. If you do not wish to keep your sleeping bag these are donated to local charities at the end of your tour.
    Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. We recommend at least a 1.5litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments.
    Most of our trips have access to power to recharge batteries for phones and cameras every couple of days. We always recommend that you carry an extra battery for your camera just in case. Your vehicle will be equipped with a 12 volt “cigarette lighter” socket which may be used at the crew’s discretion, however, do bear in mind that only one piece of equipment can be charged at a time and it will not be allowed if there is a risk of running the vehicle’s batteries low. Batteries may also be recharged from hotel room wall sockets. Hotels and many campsites have electricity and charging of batteries is advised before checking out the following day.
    A headlamp or torch is recommended for around your accommodation at night. Some properties have limited lighting and are powered by generators that switch off at a certain time. It’s a good idea to bring a headlamp or torch to navigate your way around at night.
    Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
    We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
    Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
    For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
    We carry a satellite phone on all of our remote/overland trips to be used by our leaders in the event of an emergency and for your safety. In addition, all of our leaders are First Aid trained and certified.
    Daytime temperatures can be extreme from Oct to March with temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius. Please bring a large refillable water bottle. We strongly recommend the use of dehydration salts and sports drinks as a way to combat dehydration during times of extreme heat.
    Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!
    Travel insurance
    Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
    When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
    If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
    Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
    Responsible Travel
    We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
    A couple of rules
    Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
    Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.
    The Intrepid Foundation
    Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
    The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$1,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website: