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 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.

$1 Deposit on trips

Commit to your dream trip for just a $1 deposit

Terms & Conditions

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 nine 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 our exclusive Australian Native Foods menu throughout the trip. Created in conjunction with Aussie bush tucker specialist Andrew Fielke, you will be treated to a plethora of native dishes incorporating ingredients such as kangaroo, emu, lemon myrtle, desert lime, wattle seed and more

  • 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

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.

Total driving time today is approximately 6 hours. walking is about an hour and a half.
Accommodation
  • Permanent tented camp (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Uluru & Kata Tjuta National Park Fee
  • 1000 Star Dinner
  • Uluru sunset drinks
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.

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. On arrival, you're free to leave and carry on your travels. (BL)

Included Activities
  • Kings Canyon Rim Walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
Flights must be booked to depart Alice Springs the day after the trip finishes.
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.
Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This morning, we'll pick you up from out the front of the Melaleuca at 6:50am to 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 ancient culture as you enjoy bush tucker talks, didgeridoo demonstrations and basket weaving. Next stop is the Mary River wetlands system, which has the highest concentration of saltwater crocodiles in the southern hemisphere. Get close to these ‘salties’ and other wild creatures on a billabong cruise. Late in the afternoon arrive into Ubirr in time for sunset, seeing the vivid Aboriginal rock art that dates back over 20,000 years. In the evening head to your overnight camp in Kakadu where the group will have dinner.

Note: Total driving time today is around six hours. Total walking distance is up to two kilometres.
Accommodation
  • Permanent tented camp (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mary River cruise
  • Pudakul Cultural Experience
Meals Included
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Early this morning after breakfast, travel by 4WD to the Twin Falls. Experience this spectacular gorge aboard a boat cruise 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 today is just over four hours. Total walking distance is approximately one-and-a-half kilometres.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Jim Jim Falls Walk
  • Twin Falls Walk
  • Twin Falls Gorge River Cruise
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
After breakfast, head to either Maguk (Barramundi Gorge) or Gunlom Falls and cool off with a dip in the plunge pools. Visit the historic gold-mining centre of Pine Creek and head 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 today is around five-and-a-half hours. Total walking time is approximately an hour-and-a-half.
Accommodation
  • Permanent tented camp (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Maguk (Barramundi Gorge)
  • Pine Creek Gold-Mining Centre
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
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. Settle down for the night in a snug camp and enjoy dinner with your group.

Note: Total driving time today is around four-and-a-half hours. Total walking time is up to three-and-a-half hours (optional walks included).
Accommodation
  • Permanent tented camp (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Katherine Gorge Scenic Cruise - AUD94
  • Katherine Gorge Canoe from - AUD45
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Once you’ve had breakfast, head to 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. The total driving time today is around three-and-a-half 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
  • Buley Rockholes
  • Florence Falls
  • Litchfield National Park
  • Wangi Falls
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch

Meals

6 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 6 dinners

Transport

All Terrain vehicle, Private vehicle

Accommodation

Camping (with shared facilities) (1 night), Permanent tented camp (with shared facilities) (2 nights), Permanent, furnished tented camp (with shared facilities) (3 nights), Hostel multishare (2 nights)

Included activities

  • Uluru & Kata Tjuta National Park Fee
  • 1000 Star Dinner
  • Uluru sunset drinks
  • Mala cultural interpretative walk
  • Uluru Cultural Centre
  • Kings Canyon Rim Walk
  • Mary River cruise
  • Pudakul Cultural Experience
  • Jim Jim Falls Walk
  • Twin Falls Walk
  • Twin Falls Gorge River Cruise
  • Maguk (Barramundi Gorge)
  • Pine Creek Gold-Mining Centre
  • Buley Rockholes
  • Florence Falls
  • Litchfield National Park
  • Wangi Falls

Dates & availability

Trip search is unavailable.

There are currently no scheduled departures on our Outback to the Top End 2017 trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

Jump to a departure month
Earn Qantas Points on trips over $1000* Find out more

Important notes

1. Tour commences in Alice Springs on day 1 at 6am and finishes in Darwin day 9 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

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides 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.

Reviews

Our Outback to the Top End 2017 trips score an average of 4 out of 5 based on 1 review in the last year.

Outback to the Top End, August 2017

Jessica Jones