Enjoy the freedom and flexibility to explore the Outback in a small group

This 5-day small group tour is your chance to meet the outback on your own terms. No set itinerary, no rushing around to pre-established timeframes – just you, your small group, and a well-versed local leader exploring the Red Centre at your own pace. Get to all the big name attractions – Uluru/Kata Tjuta, Kings Canyon, the Western MacDonnell Ranges – and perhaps visit lesser-known sites like Trephina Gorge, Owen Springs, Ruby Gap and the Eastern MacDonnell Ranges.


Start
Alice Springs, Australia
Finish
Alice Springs, Australia
Destination
Australia
Style
Basix
Theme
Explorer
Code
PAR5
Physical rating
Ages
Min 8
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why you'll love this trip

  • Witnessing an Uluru sunset is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Have your camera ready when taking in this spectacular sight.

  • Spend two days exploring the sites of the MacDonnell Ranges, both East and West: Ormiston Gorge, Ellery Creek, Simpsons Gap and Rainbow Valley.

  • Armed with a flexible itinerary and a knowledgeable local leader, this itinerary allows you to discover the Red Centre at your own pace.

  • Local Aboriginal guides will provide ample insight into their culture, history and relationship to the land. Gain insight into the ancient rock painting near the Mutitjulu Waterhole by Uluru and learn about the Arrernte people's caterpillar dreamtime story at Emily Gap.

  • Admire the breathtaking formations of Kata Tjuta, which are believed to be about 500 million years old. 

  • Spend the evenings camping in stunning Outback settings.

Is this trip right for you?

  • All four nights are camping, and one may be bush camping depending on what the group feels like and how we are tracking

  • The Red Centre can be very hot during the summer time and in the winter, below freezing at night. Ensure you have prepared for the weather

  • The idea of this 5 day itinerary is to be flexible while still seeing the major highlights of the Red Centre

Itinerary

Kick off your Australian Outback adventure in either Alice Springs or Yulara. Make tracks across the sunburnt plains to the captivating domes of Kata Tjuta. These massive red rock formations are believed to be 500 million years old. Continue to Australia’ most iconic landmark, Uluru, arriving in time to witness a magical sunset. Enjoy a glass of sparkling wine as you watch Uluru change colours, then continue to your camp, where a hearty dinner awaits.

Total driving time: about five and a half hours
Total walking time: about one hour
Included Activities
  • Uluru & Kata Tjuta National Park Entrance
Meals Included
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
This trip is flexible. As such, the described itinerary is only an example of the form your trip could take. Where you go and what you do can change depending on the group’s interests and weather conditions, however all trips will include visits to the following: Kata Tjuta, Uluru, Kings Canon, Palm Valley and the Western MacDonnell Ranges.
Wake early to catch an unforgettable Uluru sunrise, then get a closer look at this massive sandstone monolith on an unguided walk around its base. After your stroll, walk to the cave paintings near Mutitjulu Waterhole, where you will be met by an Anangu guide. Your guide will shed insight into the ancient rock etchings and the stories they tell, as well as the traditions of the land’s Traditional Owners. Next, visit the nearby Cultural Central to browse its extensive collection of Aboriginal arts and crafts. After a local lunch, set off on a three-hour drive to your exclusive campsite within Watarrka National Park. (Kings Canyon). Get acquainted with your surroundings, enjoy an on-site dinner and settle in for the night.

Total driving time: about three and a half hours
Today walking time: about two hours
Included Activities
  • Uluru Cultural Centre
  • Maruku Arts cultural experience
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
The Anangu people have dissuaded visitors from climbing Uluru for decades; as Traditional Owners of the land they feel a deep responsibility for everyone who travels to the area. In 1998, we were among the first tour operators to stop climbing Uluru. The Intrepid Group are proud to be involved with local communities in Uluru and to have an ongoing commitment to providing employment for the Anangu people. You show respect when you choose not to climb Uluru, but walk with Anangu throughout the area and share their stories instead.
After breakfast, pull on your hiking shoes and set off to explore Kings Canyon. Plunging 270 metres/885 feet to the canyon floor, walking its rim reveals incredibly beautiful sandstone formations carved by wind and water. Discover its Amphitheatre, Lost City, North and South Walls and the surprisingly lush Garden of Eden, which owes its cycads and plant life to a permanent waterhole down in the canyon. After lunch, there’s time to relax for a bit before heading along an iconic Red Centre dirt track to the Western McDonnell Ranges. Your destination: the permanent campsite at Glen Helen, where you’ll spend the night.

Today driving time: about five hours
Today walking time: about three hours
Included Activities
  • Kings Canyon Rim Walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
For the Kings Canyon Rim Walk it is a requirement that you have a minimum of 3 litres of water with you. Please consider bringing your own refillable water bottles.
Spend the afternoon exploring the Outback scenery of the Western Macdonnell Ranges. Visit one of the most photographed places in the Red Centre – Ormiston Gorge. Keep your eyes peeled for wallabies while admiring the colourful, sweeping walls surrounding its waterhole. Continue to Ellery Creek Big Hole, a popular spot for a refreshing dip. After a satisfying day spent exploring the MacDonnell Ranges, your tour leader will find a suitable place to set up your bush camp for the night.

Total driving time: about 45 minutes
Total walking distance: up to 10 kilometres/6.2 miles
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Often overlooked for its western counterpart, the Eastern MacDonnell Ranges just might be one of the Outback’s best kept secrets. This is the home of the Arrernte people, the Traditional Owners of the land. Learn about their caterpillar dreamtime story on a short walk to Emily Gap, an important spiritual site to the Arrernte containing galleries of ancient rock paintings. Drive to Trephina Gorge, where you’ll set off on a one-hour guided walk to see its quartzite cliffs and rich birdlife. Afterwards, it’s time for lunch; grab a bite at the historical Ross River Homestead before continuing to the ‘Ghost Town’ of Arltunga where you’ll learn about the mistaken gemstone that lead to a mining rush here in 1887, and also precipitated its abandonment. After exploring the best of the Eastern MacDonnell Ranges, it’s on to Alice Springs where your Outback adventure ends upon arrival in the late afternoon.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch

Meals

4 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 4 dinners

Transport

Private vehicle

Accommodation

Permanent tented camp (with shared facilities) (2 nights) Bush camp (2 nights)

Included activities

  • Uluru & Kata Tjuta National Park Entrance
  • Uluru Cultural Centre
  • Maruku Arts cultural experience
  • Kings Canyon Rim Walk

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. This trip starts in Alice Springs at approximately 6.00 am and finishes in Alice Springs at approximately 6 pm on Day 5. Onward travel must be booked the following day.
2. For the Kings Canyon Rim Walk it is a requirement that you have a minimum of 3 litres of water with you. Please consider bringing your own refillable water bottles.
3. You can also start this trip in Yulara (Ayers Rock) see code PAR5Y
4. This trip requires a sleeping bag.
5. Please note there is no single supplement is available for this trip.

Essential trip information

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