Days
9
Price from
$3,070AUD

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

Become immersed in the natural beauty and spirit of Australia's Outback on this 9-Day north-south traversal of the Territory. Starting off amid the balmy climes and eclectic vibe of Darwin, drive out to the waterfalls, rockpools and monsoon forests of Litchfield National Park, cruise about in search of crocs in the Mary River Wetlands, check out the billabongs and indigenous rock art of Kakadu, and explore Katherine Gorge from the water. Then flying south to Alice Springs, enjoy a guided tour among the boulders of Kata Tjuta, learn about the sacred significance of Uluru during a Mala Cultural Intrepretive Walk, spend a night camped out in Kings Canyon and take in the sites on a guided tour of the Western MacDonnell Ranges. This adventure leaves no stone – or giant red rock – unturned.


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

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 from Darwin to Alice Springs instead of 24 hours on a bus

  • Enjoy twin share motel accommodation in Darwin and Alice Springs

  • 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

Not far south from Darwin is Litchfield National Park, a wildlife rich tract of tropical monsoon forests, sandstone plateaus and gushing waterfalls. We’ll stop in at Florence Falls and the Buley Rockholes for swims, then continue on to Wangi Falls for another swim and a guided walk through monsoon forest. On the onwards drive you’ll notice the landscape starting to change; the rocky crags of Litchfield giving way to the sodden floodplains of the Mary River Wetlands. We’ll explore the waterways on an evening wildlife-spotting cruise before turning in for the night at our Mary River camping spot. Enjoy a meal tonight at the local bistro. All tents are twin-share and come with a proper bed.

Note: Total driving time today is around five-and-a-half hours. There are also a few short, easy walks.
Accommodation
  • Permanent tented camp (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Litchfield National Park
  • Mary River cruise
  • Kakadu National Park Fee
Meals Included
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today we’ll head into Kakadu, one of the country’s most famous national parks: 20,000 sq km of protected sandstone rocks, river canyons and sun-scorched scrublands. At Ubirr you’ll see indigenous rock art dating back some 20,000 years, and views of the green Nardab floodplain that probably haven’t changed much in all that time. Hike through the boulders of Maguk (Barramundi Gorge) or Gunlom Falls for a dip in a little swimming spot we know high up in the rocks, then rest your head beneath southern stars at our permanent camp in Kakadu. Tonight, relax by the pool at the campground and enjoy a group dinner at the site’s bistro.

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 tented camp (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Maguk (Barramundi Gorge)
  • Ubirr Rock
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Kakadu being as big as it is, the best angle to take it all in from is above. With this in mind, this morning you’ll have the opportunity of taking a scenic flight ($150pp) over the billabongs, escarpments and floodplains that make up this incredible ecosystem. Back at ground level, we’ll spend some time exploring Burrungui (Nourlangie) – one of the park’s many significant indigenous rock art sites – and hear what your guide has to say about one of the world’s oldest livings cultures. Following lunch we push on south to Katherine, making stop-offs along the way at the historic gold-mining town of Pine Creek and Edith Falls for a dip. Tonight we spend at a permanent campsite on the fringes 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 tented camp (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Flight (Fixed Wing Aircraft) over - Kakadu - from - AUD150
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Entering the park itself, and depending on the season, this morning you’ll have the option of drifting through the waters of Katherine Gorge by canoe or boat (both activities are optional and at own expense). We’ll have lunch here, then develop a deeper understanding of indigenous traditions during fire making, boomerang throwing and art-making demonstrations. Late afternoon we head back to Darwin for the night, perhaps dine together after you have checked into your hotel, the Value Inn.

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.

Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Katherine Gorge Scenic Cruise - AUD87
  • Katherine Gorge Canoe from - AUD45
Included Activities
  • Top Didj Indigenous Experience
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Today, skip the 1,500km of driving which is about 24 hours by road, and fly from Darwin to Alice Springs 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 Alice Springs, someone will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel. Tonight, you’ll be staying at the Alice Motor Inn. (no meals included)
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Airport Transfers
  • Qantas Flight
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today you’ll come to understand what Dorothea Mackellar was getting at in writing: ‘I love a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains.’ For all the harshness of its terrain, the Australian outback has an extraordinary beauty to it. Leaving Alice in our dust, we’ll drive out to a working camel farm, where you might choose to take in the surrounding landscape from the hump of a camel. Continuing on to our permanent campsite in Yulara, we’ll settle into our tents and have lunch (with Uluru as a backdrop) before driving out to Kata Tjuta. Spend a few hours exploring the nooks, crannies, gullies and gorges of this massive rock grouping on a guided hike, then return to camp in time to witness a striking Uluru sunset. Dinner tonight’s a real treat: a starlit spread of classically Australian food and wines.

Notes: Total driving time is approximately five and a half hours. Total walking time is around an hour.
Accommodation
  • Permanent tented camp (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Uluru & Kata Tjuta National Park Fee
  • 1000 Star Dinner
Meals Included
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
This morning we’ve set some free hours aside for you to get acquainted with Uluru on your own terms. While the rock itself is all the one chunk of sandstone, the various rivets and folds within its form contain caves, springs and even some ancient cave paintings. The entire area is of great sacred significance to the local Anangu people; a relationship between land and people you’ll learn a little about on a cultural interpretative walk with an indigenous guide. The onsite Cultural Centre also houses an extensive collection of indigenous arts and crafts, making it a great place to stock up on some souvenirs. In the afternoon we’ve got a bit of a drive to our exclusive campsite inside Watarrka National Park.

Note: Total driving time today is around three and a half hours. Total walking time is approximately two 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
  • Permanent tented camp (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mala cultural interpretative walk
  • Uluru Cultural Centre
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Although the two names are often used synonymously, Watarrka National Park is not Kings Canyon. Kings is a canyon – one of many, though incontestably the most impressive – contained within Watarrka. Enclosed within it walls are such sights as the Amphitheatre, the Lost City, the Garden of Eden and the North and South Walls – attractions you’ll get to visit on the Kings Canyon Rim Walk. Then it’s back to Alice Springs for another night in this archetypal Red Centre outpost, staying at the Alice Motor Inn.

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

Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kings Canyon Rim Walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Meet your Guide at 7:00am out the front of the Alice Motor Inn. Running for 644 km through the middle of Central Australia, the rugged Western MacDonnell Ranges have been forming and reforming for over 300 million years. Setting out from Alice, we’ll call in at Ormiston Gorge to watch the rising sun wash over the multicoloured cliffs, then travel on to Ellery Creek – the perfect place to refresh with a dip. After lunch we’ll continue to Simpsons Gap, where there’s a good chance of spotting rare black-footed rock wallabies. This is the most spectacular gap in the region, rich in native flora and of great spiritual importance to the Arrernte people. As the day comes to a close we’ll head up to a look-out to see the sun setting over the ranges, then finish up the adventure back in Alice Springs.

The total driving time will be about half an hour, and you will walk up to 5km.
Meals Included
  • Lunch

Meals

5 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 5 dinners

Transport

All Terrain vehicle, Plane, Private vehicle

Accommodation

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

Included Activities

  • Litchfield National Park
  • Mary River cruise
  • Kakadu National Park Fee
  • Maguk (Barramundi Gorge)
  • Ubirr Rock
  • Top Didj Indigenous Experience
  • Airport Transfers
  • Qantas Flight
  • Uluru & Kata Tjuta National Park Fee
  • 1000 Star Dinner
  • Mala cultural interpretative walk
  • Uluru Cultural Centre
  • Kings Canyon Rim Walk

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. Tour commences in Darwin on day 1 at approximately 06:40am and finishes in Alice Springs day 9 at approx 6pm. O ward travel to be booked the following day.
2. Trip also runs in reverse; see tour code POONC.
3. 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.