Days
12
Price from
$2,930AUD

Explore South Australia and wind your way around the Red Centre before taking in the Top End.

Travel the length of Australia, tail to tip, on an epic overland adventure from South Australia to the Territory's Top End.
Watch the landscape transition from the rolling hills of the Clare Valley into the barren terrain of the Oodnadatta Track, enjoy a bushwalk in Wilpena Pound, pass through the world's largest cattle station and spend a night below ground in Coober Pedy. Call in at a kangaroo orphanage to see what's a-hoppin', see the sights of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and Kings Canyon, and then fly north for some croc spotting in the Mary River Wetlands and a taste of tropical Australia in Kakadu and Litchfield. This is the trip for those who want to experience all the Outback has to offer.


Start
Adelaide, Australia
Finish
Darwin, Australia
Destination
South Australia, Outback, Northern Territory, Uluru, Kakadu
Style
Basix
Theme
Explorer, Indigenous Culture, Overland, Walking & Trekking, Wildlife
Physical rating
Ages
Min 18
Group size
Min 1, Max 24
Code
POBAC

Why we love this trip

  • Get back to basics with this classic twelve-day overland adventure. See the highlights and national parks of Australia's Flinders Ranges, Red Centre and 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

  • Visit the Western MacDonnell Ranges, a little talked about outback gem

  • See some beautifully remote please in the Flinders ranges and the Oodnadatta track, an Adventure Tours itinerary exclusive

  • Check out one of the strangest towns in Australia - built underground

  • Get up early and see the sun rise over Uluru

  • 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'

  • 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 Flinders Ranges, Red Centre, and Top End.

  • 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 is BASIX and we use mixed gender multishare accommodation. This means, the minimum age for the trip is 18 years old because minors aren't able to sleep in mixed gender rooms.

  • 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

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 April 2016 to 31 March 2017. View the itinerary for departures between 01 April 2017 - 31 March 2018

South Australia’s capital city has seen rapid transformation over the past few years into a vibrant and quirky city – maybe touch down a few days early to get a feel for Adelaide. We’ll head off from the city early today and strike out into wine country. The Clare Valley is full of prime pastures and premium vineyards; its rolling hills topped with stone farm buildings give it the feel of southern France (albeit with gum trees). Pass through classic country towns, take a break for lunch, and then continue on to the Flinders Ranges. This 800 million year old landscape is the largest mountain range in the state and features prominently in the Dreaming stories of the local Adnyamathanha people, who have lived here for tens of thousands of years. We’re headed for the stand-out feature at the heart of the national park – Wilpena Pound. A huge natural amphitheatre of rock that thrusts high out of the ground, the area is great for bushwalking, so that’s exactly what we’ll do this afternoon. Tonight we spend camped out in the Flinders Ranges.

Total driving time takes around five hours.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Following a quick stop in the mining town of Leigh Creek (hometown of local artist Talc Alf), we follow the route of the old Ghan railway and overland telegraph line to the tiny former railway town of Marree. After lunching near the old station, we join the Oodnadatta track, one of the best Outback drives in the country. In times past this track was a lifeline through this harsh environment; a trading route used by Indigenous people who’d follow the underground spring that would bubble up to the surface along the way. Pass by the salt flats of Lake Eyre, which is in fact Australia’s largest lake when full, then stay at the smallest town in Outback Australia. With a regular population of six (plus one dog), we’ll bump the numbers up a bit in bedding down here for the night.

Total driving time today is approximately 5 hours
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
At six million acres in size (which is slightly larger than Israel), Anna Creek Station is the world’s largest working cattle station. We’ll cross some of it today on the way to the unique town of Coober Pedy. Miners came here in droves, looking for the ‘fire in the stone’, but soon found they had to find a way to adapt to the harsh, hot environment. Rather than try and beat the heat above ground, they headed beneath it, carving out homes from the earth. We’ll explore this subterranean settlement on a guided tour, taking in the opal mine and an underground house. In the afternoon you might like to try your hand at ‘noodling' for opals, or hop down to Josephine’s Gallery and Kangaroo Orphanage to say g’day to the furry critters and check out some art work by Indigenous artists. Tonight you’ll be enjoying the cooling space of an underground bunkhouse for the night.
Accommodation
  • Underground Multishare (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
There’s some long driving today (this is the Outback after all), but along the way you’ll be seeing some top-notch scenery like the Moon Plains, Breakaways Reserve and Dingo Fence (the longest man-made construction in the world). Late this afternoon we’ll arrive in Yulara, the town established near Uluru in the 1970s, and witness a Red Centre sunset.

Today driving time will be about 8.5 hours.
Accommodation
  • Permanent tented camp (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Try and take in the sheer height and width of Uluru, much of which is actually hidden deep underground, on an early morning walk around its base. This entire area is of profound spiritual significance to the local Indigenous people, something you’ll learn a bit about during an interpretative walk taken in the company of an Indigenous guide. There’ll also be an opportunity to drop in and see the art and crafts on display in the nearby Cultural Centre. Following lunch, the afternoon is free to take in the region from an angle altogether different: a helicopter over Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is definitely something worth factoring into your trip budget.

There isn't much driving today, about an hour in total between destinations. You will walk approximately 5km.
Accommodation
  • Permanent tented camp (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
In 1872, in exploring the area around Watarrka, the Australia explorer Ernest Giles named the largest of many giant sandstone domes he came across Mt Olga. This was at the request of his benefactor Baron von Mueller, after the Russian Princess who’d given him his title. Appreciate the lumpy terrain of this site on a guided walk that circles through some of the domes. Fuel up with lunch back at camp, then continue north to Watarrka National Park, home to the famed Kings Canyon.

Driving time is about six hours today, and you will walk approximately 2km.
Accommodation
  • Permanent tented camp (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Despite being at the centre of the driest continent on earth, Watarrka National Park (also known as Kings Canyon) has a green secret. After ascending to top of the canyon for the Rim Walk and getting 360-degree views of red rocks and blue sky, descend down the hundred metre high walls for a hidden surprise. The Garden of Eden is an oasis in this arid environment; flourishes of palms and ferns crowding in around the deep blues of a shaded waterhole. Enter the ‘Amphitheatre’, explore the ancient ruin-like formations of ‘The Lost City’ and look down on everything from the North and South Walls, then enjoy lunch before returning to Alice Springs in the afternoon. This evening is free to spend as you please, accommodation for the night is at Alice Lodge Backpackers.

Today we drive about 5 hours to Alice Springs. The rim walk is about 6 hours on flat ground with a short, slightly steep climb to the base.

Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Meet your Guide outside Alice Lodge Backpackers at 07:00am this morning With Alice Springs in the rear-view mirror, head towards the Tjoritja area and Ormiston Gorge, the top of many people’s list of most spectacular natural features. Beside high rocks walls and red river gums, waterholes dot a wide natural amphitheatre and rock wallabies hop about in the sun. Continue on to Ellery Creek, where the river cuts though the West MacDonnell Ranges to create a towering gorge and perfect Outback swimming hole. After lunch we’ll look through Simpsons Gap, a permanent waterhole that’s a sacred site to the local Arrernte people. If you fancy, you can finish in true Outback style: watching the sunset from atop a camel in the West MacDonnell Ranges (own expense). Once more, we stay at Alice Lodge Backpackers.

We drive about half an hour, and walk around 5km.
Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Lunch
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. Tonight, you’ll be staying at the Melaleuca on Mitchell. (no meals included)
Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Airport Transfers
  • Qantas Flight
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This morning we’ll head south towards Kakadu National Park and into the traditional lands of the Limilngan-Wulna people. Indigenous custom dictates that people are welcomed when entering and learning about Country, so we’ll receive a ‘Cul Cul’ or ‘Welcome to Country’ from the traditional landowners. As simple as a few words or as elaborate as a ceremony of song and dance, Cul Culs are a way of honouring the past and go some way in explaining indigenous people’s connection to their land. Through a series of bush tucker talks, basket-weaving demonstrations and didgeridoo performances, you’ll gain a deeper insight into traditional indigenous culture. Next on the agenda, join some saltwater crocs on an afternoon cruise through the Mary River wetlands. In the afternoon it’s on to Kakadu, the largest national park in the whole country. Maguk (Barramundi Gorge) is more than just a waterfall and a great place for swim. Take some time to soak up the atmosphere before pulling into our Kakadu campsite for the night.

Note: Total driving time today is around five hours. Total walking time is approximately one hour.

Accommodation
  • Permanent tented camp (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mary River cruise
  • Kakadu National Park Fee
  • Pudakul Cultural Experience
  • Maguk (Barramundi Gorge)
Meals Included
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
For many, a 4WD journey in Kakadu National Park is pretty much the epitome of an Aussie Outback adventure, and we’ll be tributing that today with trips to Jim Jim Falls and important Indigenous rock art sites. Cascading down 200 metres, Jim Jim are said to be the jewel in Kakadu’s crown – and they’re surely one of this trip’s highlights. Laze on the white sand beach, swim in the creek below and get an idea of how Indigenous people have lived in this area for over 40,000 years during a cultural interpretive tour through the ancient rock art site of Ubirr. After gazing out across the Nardab floodplain from a site perched on a rocky outcrop, camp overnight in the Mary River region.

Note: Total driving time today is around seven hours. Total walking distance is approximately 3 kilometres, some of which is along challenging terrain.

Accommodation
  • Permanent tented camp (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Jim Jim Falls Walk
  • Ubirr Rock
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today’d dedicated to exploring Litchfield National Park. Visit the monsoon forest double-plunge Florence Falls, the multiple rock pools of Buley Rockhole, and the large falls and sunbathing rocks of Wangi Falls. Litchfield, though named after a Top End explorer, has long been important to the Mak Mak Marranunggu, Werat, Kungarkan and Warai Indigenous people. After snacking on a picnic lunch and strolling through steamy monsoon forest we’re back on the road towards Darwin. Maybe celebrate on your return – you’ve just traversed Australia tail to top! Driving time is about 4 hours today.

Note: Should any of the attractions of the standard itinerary not be open as a result of National Park decisions surrounding accessibility and safety, the activities will be substituted. The standard attractions will be visited immediately as they begin to reopen. The opening and closing of ‘dry season’ activities varies from year to year.
Included Activities
  • Litchfield National Park
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch

Meals

8 breakfasts, 11 lunches, 8 dinners

Transport

All Terrain vehicle, Plane

Accommodation

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

Included Activities

  • Airport Transfers
  • Qantas Flight
  • Mary River cruise
  • Kakadu National Park Fee
  • Pudakul Cultural Experience
  • Maguk (Barramundi Gorge)
  • Jim Jim Falls Walk
  • Ubirr Rock
  • Litchfield National Park

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. Tour commences in Adelaide on day 1 at 6am and finishes in Darwin day 12 at approx 6pm
2. Onward travel to be booked the following day
3. This trip requires a sleeping bag
4. This trip also runs in reverse, see code PKBDC

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.