Days
7
Price from
$1,390AUD

Get a fix of tropical Australia in Cairns and the Atherton Tablelands, then hit the road west through the Outback to Uluru and Kata Tjuta

Cairns’ tropical coastline and the dusty expanses of the Red Centre might be two of Australia’s most visited traveller attractions, but very few ever make the journey between them by road. For most, the distance is just too long, the roads are a bit too rough and the stop-offs en route too lacking in renown. For others, these factors are precisely what excite. Post getting your fix of tropical splendour in Cairns and the Atherton Tableland, hit the road west for tastes of genuine Outback culture at such little-known outposts as Hughenden, Winton, Porcupine Creek and Boulia. Get to know Alice Springs under your own steam, then spend a few days exploring by foot the boulders, gullies, canyons, chasms, ridges and ravines of Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon (Watarrka National Park). This off-road adventure is for travellers wanting to know Australia both through and beyond its big name attractions.


Start
Cairns, Australia
Finish
Alice Springs, Australia
Destination
Queensland, Outback, Northern Territory, Uluru
Style
Basix
Theme
Explorer, Indigenous Culture, Overland, Walking & Trekking
Physical rating
Ages
Min 12
Group size
Min 1, Max 16
Code
POBQR

Why we love this trip

  • Cut through the centre of Australia on one of the most remote 4WD tracks in the country

  • See the striking sands of the Red Centre to the sparkling turquoise waters of the North-East

  • Travel with a small group of 16 in a custom built 4WD

  • Get off the beaten track in a region that no other travel companies go

Is this trip right for you?

  • This is a camping tour, so you will spend some nights sleeping in permanent tents

  • The temperatures in Australia can be quite extreme and it's important to stay hydrated

  • This is an overland trip so there is a focus on driving long distances, which is all a part of the experience

Itinerary

Your Reef to Rock adventure gets underway this morning with an early pick-up from your Cairns accommodation. First stop for the day is Hughenden, a small town situated on the banks of the Flinders River. For such a small town (at last count there was less than 1,200 residents), Hughenden actually has a fair few attractions to its name. A life-size statue of a Muttaburrasaurus occupies a roundabout (the town is home to the Hughenden Dinosaur Festival); there’s a Bullride and Race Day every September, and in 2008 Hughenden hosted the inaugural Hughenden Camel Endurance Challenge. Continuing up and into the Atherton Tablelands, enjoy a dip in Millstream Falls; then stop in at Lynd junction to check out Australia’s smallest pub. Explore the year-round waterholes and coloured sandstone cliffs of Porcupine Creek, plus the barren plains of outlying Porcupine Gorge, before settling down for the night in Hughenden.

Note: Total driving time takes around six and a half hours. Total walking time is approximately three hours.
Accommodation
  • Camping with basic facilities (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Millstream Falls
  • Porcupine Creek
Meals Included
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
You’ll notice the scenery quickly starts to change the further west you go; the greenery of the bush giving way to the vast, rest dust horizons of the Outback. Pass through the town of Winton – birthplace of QANTAS and Banjo Patterson’s Waltzing Mathilda – for a night spent in Boulia, rumoured hotspot of the mysterious Min Min Lights.

Note: Total driving time takes around six hours.
Accommodation
  • Camping with basic facilities (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Prepare for a long day on the road as we continue our journey east. From here to Alice Springs the road is mostly dirt – this is a route through some of the world’s remotest countryside after all!

Note: Total driving time takes around nine hours.
Accommodation
  • Multishare Hostel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Arriving in Alice, enjoy a day getting to know this rustic, Red Centre hub at your own pace. Pay a visit to the critters of Alice Springs Reptile Centre, potter down to Todd River to see if any water’s flowing (unlikely), or just pull up a stool at the locals for a few frothies (cold beers) with the town’s colourful characters.
Accommodation
  • Multishare Hostel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
For those keen to experience the outback from a different perspective, this morning offers the chance to call in at a working camel farm and clamber up for a ride (Please note that this is an optional activity at own expense). Break for lunch in Yulara (our permanent campsite for tonight); then head out on a guided walking tour through the colossal rock forms of Kata Tjuta. As the sun starts to set, charge a glass of sparkling to one epic Uluru sunset. While you’re soaking up the spectacle, your tour host will be readying dinner for your arrival back at camp.

Note: Total driving time takes around five hours. Total walking time is approximately three hours.
Accommodation
  • Camping with basic facilities (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Rise and shine folks, this is one sunrise you’d really regret missing. After watching day break over the world’s largest slab of sandstone, enjoy an unguided walk around Uluru’s base minus the day-trippers. Get to know Uluru – and hear about the traditions and beliefs of the region’s traditional custodians, the Mala people – during a cultural interpretive walk led by an indigenous guide. There’ll also be time to admire Aboriginal arts and crafts at the onsite Cultural Centre before driving into our exclusive campsite in Kings Canyon (Watarrka National Park).

Note: Total driving time today is around three and a half hours. Total walking time is approximately two hours.
Accommodation
  • Camping with basic facilities (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mala cultural interpretative walk
  • Uluru Base Walk
  • Uluru Cultural Centre
  • Uluru & Kata Tjuta National Park Fee
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Enter a Lost City, tour a Garden of Eden and test the acoustics of an all-natural Amphitheatre during a guided 6km hike through Kings Canyon. Watarrka National Park is one extremely photogenic place, so don’t forget the camera. At trek’s end it’s time for a bite to eat before the drive back to Alice, where your Reef to Rock adventure winds up.

Notes: Total driving time is approximately four and a half hours. Total walking time is around an hour.
Included Activities
  • Kings Canyon Rim Walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch

Meals

4 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 4 dinners

Transport

4WD Vehicle

Accommodation

Camping with basic facilities (4 nts), Multishare hostel (2 nts)

Included Activities

  • Millstream Falls
  • Porcupine Creek
  • Mala cultural interpretative walk
  • Uluru Base Walk
  • Uluru Cultural Centre
  • Uluru & Kata Tjuta National Park Fee
  • Kings Canyon Rim Walk

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. This trip leaves Cairns at approximately 6:00am on day 1 and finishes in Alice Springs around 6pm on day 7.
2. Onward travel must be booked the following day
3. This trip requires a sleeping bag, you can bring you own or purchase one from us
4. Trip also runs in reverse see POBRQ or POBRQY (ex Yulara)

Essential Trip Information

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