Everything is bigger in Australia. Oversized fruit sculptures greet visitors in tropical whistle-stops. The longest (the only?) dingo fence in the world stretches 5,614 kilometres across three states. In Australia, even the sky feels wider. But if you want to truly experience the epic vastness of the Great Aussie Outback, there’s just one way to do it: locate an all-terrain vehicle, find a local who knows what they’re doing, and drive. In other words, an Overland tour.
Hit the road with us and explore national parks and deserted beaches, mingle with residents in subterranean mining outposts and pubs, learn the stories of the land from its First People, and bunk down in bush swags on starry cattle stations like a real life drover. We may start and end in capital cities, but on an Aussie Overland tour, it’s all about what happens in between.
Our overland tours in Australia
Check out Australia’s rugged west coast on a 10-day overland adventure from Perth,...
Travel on an epic 4WD tour from the glistening beaches of Broome, across the wild...
Soak up the laidback West Coast of Australia's on a 10-day adventure from Broome to...
Embark on an eye-opening journey across Australia’s rugged Top End, from balmy Darwin...
Discover the wonders of Australia’s Kimberley region on a 14-day adventure through the...
Get wild on a 11-day tour through the Kimberley region from Broome to Broome, including...
Uncover the best of Western Australia on a 10-day overland roundtrip from Perth,...
Get wild on a 13-day tour through the Kimberley region from Broome to Broome, including...
Meet our leaders
On an overland tour, you want someone behind the wheel (and out in the world) who knows what’s going on. Well, that’s our leaders – born and raised locals who know the lay of the land inside out. In Australia, our leaders are also drivers, so all have undergone rigorous safety and basic mechanical training before they hit the road. They’ll take care of you, introduce you to some locals, manage the trip logistics and make sure you have the best adventure ever. Ready to meet them?
“Soon after a six-month trip down the West Coast of Australia in 2013, I knew there was more to life than office work. A friend of mine suggested I would make a great tour guide, so here I am in Alice Springs together with my wife of 37 years, and enjoying every tour I lead.”
“A question I am often asked is, ‘Don't you get sick of doing the same tour over and over?’ to which my reply is generally something like, ‘I would get sick of the same four walls of an office every day, but I get to wake up in a different place each morning and visit some of the most beautiful places on the planet!’”
On an Australia Overland tour you’re accompanied by a local leader who is also your driver, taking you from start to finish in a specialised vehicle. They’re there to organise logistics, keep you safe and make sure you have the best time ever. While not being guides in the traditional sense, our Aussie leaders have a broad general knowledge of the areas visited, are full of tips for places to eat and things to see, and will introduce you to our mates along the road. They’ll also oversee cooking and setup of the camp each night (although we ask passengers to help out too). When visiting Indigenous communities and sites, such as Uluru, we draw on the expertise of local Aboriginal guides, who share insight into their culture, history and connection to land.
You’ll be part of a group of maximum 24 people of all ages and nationalities, from all walks of life. That’s what overland travel is all about: sharing experiences with like-minded adventurers from around the world. Be prepared to spend a lot of time with each other and to make some new friends.
To explore the Aussie Outback, you can’t use just any old car. Intrepid’s Overland vehicles are built for going long distances and navigating rough, off-road terrain. We use different vehicles depending on your trip route, style and group size – sometimes trucks, sometimes minivans and sometimes 4x4s. Vehicles are designed to be self-sufficient, carrying everything you need right down to the tents for your campsite.
In the summer, extreme heat can put pressure on the vehicle’s air conditioning unit, so please be prepared for some potential discomfort. The roads can also be pretty bumpy at times.
Overlanding is not your typical touring experience; the best thing is to treat it all as part of the adventure. Sometimes conditions can be tough on vehicles, and while we fastidiously service our trucks, the occasional breakdown may happen (don’t worry, your leader is well trained to deal with these situations). Also, in wet weather, there may be times when we have to take alternative routes, which can mean longer travel times.
Australia is a big place – like, huge. Overland tours involve a lot of time on the road covering long distances, and sometimes the landscape can be pretty barren, so bring a book or some tunes to keep you company. Some days we’ll drive for five, six, even nine hours at a time, although we always take regular breaks. Some mornings we get started at the crack of dawn to avoid the heat. Check the itineraries on our website for an approximate breakdown of drive times for each trip.
The style of accommodation depends on the adventure you choose. Sometimes you’ll stay in hostels (in multishare, mixed-gender rooms with shared facilities), but a lot of the time you’ll be camping. That can mean staying in cabins or at permanent campsites in furnished twin-share tents, or bunking down in a swag on a cattle station or farm in the middle of the bush. Swags are Aussie bed rolls made from sturdy canvas; sleeping in one is a true Outback experience. We also carry two-person pop-up dome tents with us. All this is provided, but you’ll need to bring your own sleeping bag, and on some trips, a pillow as well.
Campsites facilities vary, but at times can be very basic. Sometimes the showers are cold, and some toilets are of the drop variety. You’ll be expected to help with chores and set up your swag each night (don’t worry, your leader will show you how). On some trips you’ll have the option to book Basix or Original-standard camping. If you choose the latter, you’ll experience a higher level of accommodation when and where available.
On an Overland tour, you’re more than just a passenger – you’re part of a team. On most trips we ask you to pitch in with preparing meals, cleaning dishes, collecting firewood and setting up/packing down the camp every day, no matter the weather conditions. Your leader will help delegate duties and spread the load around. Please come prepared to roll up your sleeves and pull your weight – it’s all part of the fun!
On most days, breakfasts, lunches and dinners are included. Meals are prepared by your leader, although we ask you to help out with some basic cooking and washing up; most people agree this helps you feel like less of a tourist and more of an explorer. Due to the nature of the trips, food is basic, but plentiful. If you have any allergies or dietary requirements you must inform us (or your agent) at the time of booking, as all ingredients are purchased before we hit the road. When meals aren’t included, your leader will be able to recommend some affordable and delicious local restaurants.
While we stick to the planned itineraries where we can, overland travel – especially in the Outback – is unpredictable. Inclement weather, flooding, Indigenous community closures or mechanical issues can affect the running of your trip. In those cases, there are plenty of other tried-and-true routes we can take. An open mind and sense of flexibility are key to enjoying your adventure.
Optional activities are dispersed throughout most of the itineraries. These can be very popular and in many cases sell out in advance, so it’s best to reserve certain activities – like swimming with whale sharks on the West Coast or sunset camel rides in the Red Centre – at the time of booking. Ask us for the details of the activity provider. Other activities – like scenic flights – are always booked on the ground with your leader.
One of the great things about an Overland tour is that many things are built into the cost of the trip – accommodation, transport, hikes, entrance to national parks and most meals. You will, however, need your own financial supply for optional activities, personal shopping, drinks, laundry, leader tip and some meals, so please factor this into your budget. We make regular stops at ATMs along the way. Make sure you read your Essential Trip Information carefully so you know what’s included.
In Australia many of our Overland tours are physically demanding. Not only will you need to be prepared for long travel days, bumpy roads and very hot conditions, but you’ll be participating in regular activities and hikes, some of them strenuous (especially in the summer heat). On some tours the adventure is turned up to max – you’ll be walking on rocky creek beds, scrambling over large boulders, wading through water, or climbing in and out of steep gorges. On these trips you’ll need a high standard of fitness. You’ll also need to be physically able to help with camp chores and to climb up and down the steps of the vehicle 8-10 times a day. To choose a trip that suits your fitness level, please look carefully at the physical ratings and daily walking times in the itineraries on our website.
When overlanding in Australia, pack only the bare essentials. Space is limited and vehicles are subject to strict gross weight laws, so you’ll need to a medium-sized backpack or soft bag weighing an absolute max of 15 kilograms (and on 4WD trips, 10 kilograms). You’ll also need a daypack to keep your water bottle, camera, torch and other personal items.
The clothing and equipment required will depend on the time of year. Even in summer it can be freezing at night, especially in the Outback, so layers are essential. Bring sun protection, comfortable, durable clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty (they will get dirty!) and sturdy walking shoes for hiking. We’ll supply the camping gear, including a basic ground mat, but you’ll need to bring your own sleeping bag (on some tours this is available for hire or purchase, but not on others). For more information about what to bring, check the Essential Trip Information.
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