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

Embark on a Northern Territory adventure, from Darwin to Alice Springs, taking in the region's biggest and best-known drawcards along the way. Head out croc spotting in the Mary River Wetlands and get a taste of the tropics in Kakadu National Park. Enjoy exclusive access to Arnhem Land. Witness Uluru during a stunning sunrise, wander through the majestic canyons of Kata Tjuta and admire the views from Kings Canyon. A region of exceptional landscapes and intriguing cultural attractions, this tail-to-top adventure of the Territory is a trip that will leave you with a profound appreciation of Australia's raw and rugged natural beauty.

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Start
Darwin, Australia
Finish
Alice Springs, Australia
Country
Australia
Style
Original
Theme
Explorer, Indigenous Culture, Overland
Code
POOKC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 8
Group size
Min 1, Max 24

Why we love this trip

  • Fly with Qantas airways between Darwin and Alice Springs, skip the 24 hours sitting in a bus on a straight road

  • Get back to basics with this classic three-day overland adventure. See the highlights and national parks of Australia's Top End in rugged, authentic style

  • 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

  • Learn about the ancient culture and traditions of the Limilngan-Wulna people as they invite you into their community with a traditional 'Welcome to Country'

  • 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

  • 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

  • Enjoy the flexibility of a private vehicle, the local knowledge of a passionate guide and the magic of camping under the great southern sky

  • Get up early and see the sun rise over Uluru

Is this trip right for you?

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

  • Temperatures in the 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

Welcome to Darwin, capital of Australia’s Northern Territory. After meeting with your group, depart en route to explore Litchfield National Park to get a proper glimpse into the rugged landscapes of the Top End. Visit Florence falls, Buely Rock Hole, Wangi Falls and the Termite Mounds before departing in the afternoon to the Mary River campsite. From watery gorges to dry, monolithic termite mounds, Litchfield’s landscapes are astounding. The region is characterised by rich reddish-brown soil and cliff faces, which create a contrast next to the rough green leaves of the gumtrees above. Swimming under the cascading waterfalls and relaxing in waterholes is a favourite pastime for visitors and locals alike – they’re a fantastic place to hide away from the heat.
Included Activities
  • Litchfield National Park
  • Florence Falls
  • Buley Rockholes
  • Wangi Falls
Meals Included
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Next stop, head to the border of Kakadu and Arnhem Land to experience a cruise through Guluyumbi along the East Alligator River. Travelling with a Binninj guide, understand more about the cultural importance of the East Alligator River to the region’s traditional custodians while hearing tales of the dreamtime – the religious-cultural concept crucial to the Aboriginal understanding of the world. Once the cruise wraps up, jump in a vehicle and cross straight into Arnhem Land for an unforgettable afternoon of exploration. Begin at the Injalak Arts Centre to discover incredible examples of indigenous art, witnessing traditional paintings, bark art, basket weaving and screen-printing being created during a walk with an Indigenous guide – the option to purchase a piece to take home with you is also available once the walk comes to a close. After visiting the arts centre, unveil more indigenous art at two exclusive sites. The first site, Mawurndaddja, is a spectacular series of galleries with art thought to be over 18,000 year old – your guide will explain the importance of this art and the methods used to perform this expressionism as you wander through the site. Keep an eye peeled to find ochre and ancient spear tips lying on the ground, offering a glimpse into the history of an age long past. Spend the afternoon exploring this historic site, breaking time up with a few snacks and drinks along the way. Following this, head to Kakadu for an overnight stay.
Included Activities
  • Inuluk Arts Centre
  • Mawurndaddja art site
  • Guluyumbi Indigenous 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)
  • Gunlom Falls
  • Yellow Waters Cruise
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today take a flight from Darwin to Alice Springs with Qantas. Your transfers and accommodation are included today however meals are at your own expense.
Accommodation
  • Permanent tented camp (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Airport Transfers
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
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.
Accommodation
  • Permanent tented camp (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Uluru & Kata Tjuta National Park Entrance
  • 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 Aboriginal people on an interpretive cultural walk with an Aboriginal guide. It's also a unique opportunity to share experiences, and to connect with and learn about the oldest culture on Earth. 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 (or up to 4 if you do the full 8.5km base walk.)
Accommodation
  • Permanent tented camp (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Uluru Cultural Centre
  • Maruku Arts interactive Indigenous experience
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.

Included Activities
  • Kings Canyon Rim Walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch

Meals

5 breakfasts, 7 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

  • Litchfield National Park
  • Florence Falls
  • Buley Rockholes
  • Wangi Falls
  • Inuluk Arts Centre
  • Mawurndaddja art site
  • Guluyumbi Indigenous Cruise
  • Maguk (Barramundi Gorge)
  • Gunlom Falls
  • Yellow Waters Cruise
  • Airport Transfers
  • Uluru & Kata Tjuta National Park Entrance
  • 1000 Star Dinner
  • Uluru sunset drinks
  • Uluru Cultural Centre
  • Maruku Arts interactive Indigenous experience
  • Kings Canyon Rim Walk

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. Tour commences in Darwin on day 1 at 6am and finishes in Alice Springs day 7 at approx 6pm.
2. This trip also runs in reverse; see code POOUC
3. 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.