Get a fix of tropical Australia in Cairns and the Atherton Tablelands, then hit the road west through the Outback to Uluru and Kata Tjuta

Cairns’ tropical coastline and the dusty expanses of the Red Centre might be two of Australia’s most visited traveller attractions, but very few ever make the journey between them by road. For most, the distance is just too long, the roads are a bit too rough and the stop-offs en route too lacking in renown. For others, these factors are precisely what excite. Post getting your fix of tropical splendour in Cairns and the Atherton Tableland, hit the road west for tastes of genuine Outback culture at such little-known outposts as Hughenden, Winton, Porcupine Creek and Boulia. Get to know Alice Springs under your own steam, then spend a few days exploring by foot the boulders, gullies, canyons, chasms, ridges and ravines of Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon (Watarrka National Park). This off-road adventure is for travellers wanting to know Australia both through and beyond its big name attractions.


Start
Cairns, Australia
Finish
Alice Springs, Australia
Country
Australia
Style
Basix
Theme
Explorer, Indigenous Culture, Overland, Walking & Trekking
Code
POBQR
Physical rating
Ages
Min 12
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • Cut through the centre of Australia on one of the most remote 4WD tracks in the country

  • See the striking sands of the Red Centre to the sparkling turquoise waters of the North-East

  • Travel with a small group of 16 in a custom built 4WD

  • Get off the beaten track in a region that no other travel companies go

  • 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

Is this trip right for you?

  • This is a camping tour, so you will spend some nights sleeping in permanent tents

  • The temperatures in Australia can be quite extreme and it's important to stay hydrated

  • This is an overland trip so there is a focus on driving long distances, which is all a part of the experience

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 April 2018 to 31 March 2019. View the itinerary for departures between 01 May 2016 - 31 March 2018

You will be collected from your Cairns accommodation for an early start and drive to Hughenden. Visit the beautiful Atherton Tablelands and visit Millstream Falls. Stop at the smallest pub in Australia at Lynd Junction. Visit the cliffs of coloured sandstone, vine forest and deep permanent waterholes along Porcupine Creek contrast strikingly with the savanna plains surrounding Porcupine Gorge. Accommodation at Hughenden.

Note: Total driving time takes around six and a half hours. Total walking time is approximately three hours.
Accommodation
  • Camping with basic facilities (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Millstream Falls
  • Porcupine Creek
Meals Included
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
You’ll notice the scenery quickly starts to change the further west you go; the greenery of the bush giving way to the vast, rest dust horizons of the Outback. Pass through the town of Winton – birthplace of QANTAS and Banjo Patterson’s Waltzing Mathilda – for a night spent in Boulia, rumoured hotspot of the mysterious Min Min Lights.

Note: Total driving time takes around six hours.
Accommodation
  • Camping with basic facilities (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
View spectacular scenery as we make our way through some of the most remote country in the world! Crossing from Queensland into the Northern Territory, our track is mostly dirt road between Boulia and Alice Springs and is one of the most remote tracks in the world! Enjoy a night camping under the stars at Jervois Station.
Accommodation
  • Camping with basic facilities (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Arrive in Alice Springs before lunch to enjoy an afternoon to relax in Central Australia’s most iconic town, Alice Springs. A great opportunity to visit the Royal Flying Doctor Service, the Reptile Centre and many other attractions. (Entry fees not included).
Accommodation
  • Alice Springs YHA (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
For those keen to experience the outback from a different perspective, this morning offers the chance to call in at a working camel farm and clamber up for a ride (Please note that this is an optional activity at own expense). Break for lunch in Yulara (our permanent campsite for tonight); then head out on a guided walking tour through the colossal rock forms of Kata Tjuta. As the sun starts to set, charge a glass of sparkling to one epic Uluru sunset. While you’re soaking up the spectacle, your tour host will be readying dinner for your arrival back at camp.

Note: Total driving time takes around five hours. Total walking time is approximately three hours.
Accommodation
  • Camping with basic facilities (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Rise and shine folks, this is one sunrise you’d really regret missing. After watching day break over the world’s largest slab of sandstone, enjoy an unguided walk around Uluru’s base minus the day-trippers. Get to know Uluru – and hear about the traditions and beliefs of the region’s traditional custodians during a cultural interpretive walk led by an indigenous guide. There’ll also be time to admire Aboriginal arts and crafts at the onsite Cultural Centre before driving into our exclusive campsite in Kings Canyon (Watarrka National Park).

Note: Total driving time today is around three and a half hours. Total walking time is approximately two hours.
Accommodation
  • Camping with basic facilities (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mala cultural interpretative walk
  • Uluru Base Walk
  • Uluru Cultural Centre
  • Uluru & Kata Tjuta National Park Entrance
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Enter a Lost City, tour a Garden of Eden and test the acoustics of an all-natural Amphitheatre during a guided 6km hike through Kings Canyon. Watarrka National Park is one extremely photogenic place, so don’t forget the camera. At trek’s end it’s time for a bite to eat before the drive back to Alice, where your Reef to Rock adventure winds up.

Notes: Total driving time is approximately four and a half hours. Total walking time is around an hour.
Included Activities
  • Kings Canyon Rim Walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch

Meals

4 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 5 dinners

Transport

4WD Vehicle

Accommodation

Camping with basic facilities (4 nts), Multishare hostel (2 nts)

Included activities

  • Millstream Falls
  • Porcupine Creek
  • Mala cultural interpretative walk
  • Uluru Base Walk
  • Uluru Cultural Centre
  • Uluru & Kata Tjuta National Park Entrance
  • Kings Canyon Rim Walk

Dates & availability

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There are currently no scheduled departures on our Reef to Rock Overland trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

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Travel lightly with Intrepid. We’ve offset the main sources of carbon emissions from this trip on your behalf, including transport, accommodation & waste. Read more

Important notes

1. This trip leaves Cairns at approximately 6:00am on day 1 and finishes in Alice Springs around 6pm on day 7.
2. Onward travel must be booked the following day
3. This trip requires a sleeping bag, you can bring you own or purchase one from us
4. Trip also runs in reverse see POBQR

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 Reef to Rock Overland trips score an average of 5 out of 5 based on 1 review in the last year.

Reef to Rock Overland, September 2017

Patricia Shaw