Days
9
Price from
$3,070AUD

From the Red Centre to the tropical Top End, this is a classic Aussie adventure.

Meet two very different faces of Australia – the vast, dust-cloaked expanses of the Red Centre and lush wetlands of the Top End – on a one-week journey up through the guts of the Northern Territory. Kicking off the journey in Yulara, tread a trail between the striped rock domes of Kata Tjuta (finishing off with a 1,000 Star Dinner), catch an Uluru sunrise and enter a Garden of Eden in Kings Canyon (Watarrka National Park). Then fly north to Darwin and enjoy three days exploring the waterfalls of Kakadu, monsoon rainforests of Litchfield and wildlife-rich Mary River Wetlands.


Start
Yulara, Australia
Finish
Darwin, Australia
Destination
Northern Territory, Uluru, Outback, Kakadu
Style
Original
Theme
Explorer, Indigenous Culture, Overland, Wildlife
Physical rating
Ages
Min 8
Group size
Min 1, Max 24
Code
POONCY

Why we love this trip

  • Get back to basics with this classic nine day overland adventure. Camp in premenant campsites with furnishings including proper beds, cooling fans and electricity.

  • Fly into Yulara the day the trip starts instead of Alice Springs the day prior and save a days travel

  • Fly from Alice Springs to Darwin instead of 24 hours on a bus, on an included flight

  • Enjoy twin share motel accommodation in Alice Springs and Darwin

  • Enjoy fully catered evening meals during your 3 nights in Kakadu, Litchfield, and Katherine

  • See the highlights and national parks of Australia's Northern Territory 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

  • 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 and an optional flight over the escarpment

Is this trip right for you?

  • This is a an Original style trip, covering the highlights of Australia's Northern Territory at a slightly slower pace

  • You'll spend some nights of the trip sleeping in outback camping grounds. While tents are comfortable facilities can be basic, this is all part of the adventure. You'll also need to pitch in with preparing breakfast and lunch meals. 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

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

Head off to Kata Tjuta, meaning ‘many heads’ in the language of the Pitjantjatjara tribe, the numerous weathered rock domes that punctuate the ground here are sacred to the local people. Get an idea of just how ancient and imposing this site is with a walk through the domes. After a glass of bubbles while the sunset really brings Red Centre colours to life, end a memorable first day with a memorable meal – the candlelit 1,000 Star Dinner. Pick a tent or wrap up in a swag for tonight’s camp.

Notes: Total driving time is approximately one hour. Total walking time is around an hour.
Accommodation
  • Permanent, furnished tented camp (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Uluru & Kata Tjuta National Park Fee
Meals Included
  • Dinner
The magnificent companion to Kata Tjuta, Uluru is as iconic an Australian symbol as they come. This is the physical and spiritual heart of the country, sacred to the local Anangu people and important in the Tjukurpa (Creation Time) stories. The changing colours of Uluru are well known and you’ll get to see it for yourself this morning with sunrise over the World Heritage site. Take a walk around the base of this ‘inselberg’, literally ‘island mountain’, and understand the sheer size of this isolated remnant of the slow erosion of an ancient original mountain range. After you’ve got the geological knowledge down it’s time to understand the land through the eyes of the Anangu people on a cultural interpretive walk with an Indigenous guide. The spirit of the oldest living culture on earth is captured in the Indigenous arts and crafts of the Cultural Centre and you can browse the different works on display here. Tonight we’ll set up camp in Watarrka National Park.

Note: Total driving time today is around three and a half hours. Total walking time is approximately two hours.
Accommodation
  • Permanent, furnished tented camp (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mala cultural interpretative walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
The rocks, cliffs and roads of Watarrka National Park are all deep reds and oranges. But hidden down behind the 300 metre high sandstone walls of Kings Canyon are dense greens of palms, ferns and cycads, and the deep blue of shaded waterholes. Today we’ll climb to the top of the canyon to skirt the edge of the gorge on the Rim Walk. Along the way pass the Lost City, weathered domes that look like the remains of an ancient settlement, and descend down into the Garden of Eden, a lush oasis of cool waterholes. There’s also the Amphitheatre and the North and South Walls on a walk that’ll confirm for you just how fascinating rocks can be. You’ll have worked up an appetite so lunch is welcome, before returning to Alice Springs in the afternoon. This evening will be yours to do as you like, you will be staying at the Alice Motor Inn.

Note: Total driving time takes around five hours. Total walking time is approximately three hours.

*Trips departing after 01 September 2016 will have an itinerary change on this day, please see 'itinerary disclaimer' in the essential trip information*
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kings Canyon Rim Walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Meet your Guide at the Alice Motor Inn at 7:00am and then journey onto the ranges. The traditional landowners of this area, the Arrernte people, believe that the West MacDonnell Ranges, which stretch for hundreds of kilometres either side of Alice Springs, were once giant caterpillars called Yeperenye – they entered this world through one of the dramatic gaps in the surrounding escarpments. This morning we’ll travel through this ancient landscape to Ormiston Gorge, home to a lovely waterhole but also a place to see the unique geology and colourful landforms of the Ranges. Then it’s on to Ellery Creek, where the river cuts though the West MacDonnell Ranges to create a towering gorge and perfect Outback swimming hole. If you think that gorge was stunning, then just wait till we get to Simpsons Gap after lunch. It’s an important site to the local Indigenous people, a place where several dreaming trails and stories cross – hear a few of the tales while you're here. Then there’s a chance to finish the day in the West Macs in real desert style – watching the sunset from the back of a camel (own expense).

We drive for about half an hour today, and walk up to 5km
Accommodation
  • Hotel (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 Value Inn. (no meals included)
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Airport Transfers
  • Qantas Flight
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Close to Darwin but a whole world of wilderness away, the vast Litchfield National Park takes in the sandstone plateau of the Tabletop Range, which collects water and deposits it down in the park in must-visit waterfalls. This morning you’ll get to decide which waterfall you like best as we visit three highlights: the monsoon forest double-plunge Florence Falls, the multiple rock pools of Buley Rockhole, and the large falls and sunbathing rocks of Wangi Falls. Just make sure you don’t forget your swimming gear! After a picnic lunch we leave the park and finish the day cruising through the Mary River wetlands in search of saltwater crocs.

Note: Total driving time today is around five-and-a-half hours. There are also a few short, easy walks.
Accommodation
  • Permanent, furnished tented camp (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Litchfield National Park
  • Mary River cruise
  • Kakadu National Park Fee
Meals Included
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Forget your Guggenheims and your Louvres, one of the most unforgettable art galleries in the world is right here in Kakadu. Set atop a rocky outcrop with panoramic views across the Nardab floodplain, Ubirr houses three important Indigenous rock art sites. Dating back thousands of years the paintings we’ll see today depict animals and the Dreamtime and creation ancestors. An interpretative cultural walk through the galleries will give you a greater insight into the significance of these paintings. Head to either Maguk (Barramundi Gorge) or Gunlom Falls and cool off with a dip in the plunge pools. This evening tuck into traditional Aussie cuisine at our Kakadu campground.

Note: Total driving time today is around five hours. Total walking time is up to three-and-a-half hours, depending on the trails taken.
Accommodation
  • Permanent, furnished tented camp (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Maguk (Barramundi Gorge)
  • Ubirr Rock
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
You’ve scrambled through gorges, swum in plunge pool, and climbed up red ochre cliffs – maybe it’s now time to see this landscape from a different point of view. Take an optional scenic flight across the Arnhem Land escarpment, the floodplains and billabongs, and understand the sheer scale and variety of this environment. Get an idea of how Indigenous people have lived in this area for over 20,000 years at Nourlangie (or Burrunggui), where environmental and social changes are reflected in the rock art. After lunch we move from Indigenous history to that of the European settlers with the old mining town of Pine Creek, which experienced a major gold rush from the 1870s onwards. Wash off any Outback dust with a dip in Edith Falls, then make camp on the doorstep of Nitmuluk National Park.

Note: Total driving time today is around five-and-a-half hours. Total walking time is up to an hour-and-a-half.
Accommodation
  • Permanent, furnished tented camp (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Flight (Fixed Wing Aircraft) over - Kakadu - from - AUD150
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Carved by the Katherine River 23 million years ago, Nitmiluk (or Katherine) Gorge is a series of 13 gorges, river rapids, and waterfalls that’s one of the Top End’s true natural wonders. Depending on whether it’s the dry or wet season (and how active you want to get), you can choose to canoe between the 70 metre high walls or take it easy with a cruise down the river’s waters. After lunch you’ll take part in a truly authentic Indigenous cultural experience. One of the best ways to understand Australia is to spend time with the people who have lived in harmony with ‘Country’ for tens of thousands of years. In Katherine you’ll come together with a local Indigenous artist and increase your appreciation for this rich culture. The artist will tell their story, share their art and even help you make your own. See if you can master some traditional activities too – from fire-lighting to spear throwing. Then its back to Darwin and maybe a little celebration – you have just traversed the Northern Territory after all!

Note: Total driving time today is around four-and-a-half hours. Total walking time is up to three-and-a-half hours, depending on the group's choice of optional activities.
Optional Activities
  • Katherine Gorge Scenic Cruise - AUD87
  • Katherine Gorge Canoe from - AUD45
Included Activities
  • Top Didj Indigenous Experience
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch

Meals

5 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 5 dinners

Transport

All Terrain vehicle, Plane, Private vehicle

Accommodation

Hotel (3 nights), Permanent, furnished tented camp (with shared facilities) (5 nights)

Included Activities

  • Uluru & Kata Tjuta National Park Fee
  • Mala cultural interpretative walk
  • Kings Canyon Rim Walk
  • Airport Transfers
  • Qantas Flight
  • Litchfield National Park
  • Mary River cruise
  • Kakadu National Park Fee
  • Maguk (Barramundi Gorge)
  • Ubirr Rock
  • Top Didj Indigenous Experience

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. Tour commences in Yulara and finishes in Darwin day 9 at approx 6pm.
2. Your pick up may be from the Yulara Airport or the Desert Gardens Hotel, this will depend on your time of travel.
3.You can also join this trip in Alice Springs on day 1; please see tour code POONC.
4. Trip also runs in reverse; see tour code PKOSC.
5. Single supplement available on request.

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.