16 Day Melbourne to Darwin Explorer


The ultimate adventure, travel from one end of the country to the other and notice the difference in culture between the two. Depart from coffee-mad Melbourne and head to the Great Ocean Road and Grampians National Park. Cross through in South Australia and visit Coober Pedy, the Opal Capital of the World and the Flinders Rangers. Hang out in Adelaide before moving North to the Red centre of Alice Springs. Watch the sunrise over Uluru and hike around the National Park, sleeping under the stars. From Alice Springs, head up north to visit to Katherine Gorge and then get ready for a Top End Kakadu adventure. The tour concludes in Darwin.  


Tour Style
Tourcode: PMDE16
Max Passengers: 24
Price from:
AUD $2365.00EUR €1645.00GBP £1415.00
Book Now
Adventure Tours Australia: 16 Day Melbourne to Darwin Explorer
8 nights camping, 7 nights dorm accommodation with shared facilities
Tour Code PMDE16
Duration 16 days
Tour Style Explorer
Route Melbourne to Darwin
Maximum Passengers 24
Price (adult) AUD $2365.00EUR €1645.00GBP £1415.00
Valid 31 March 2014 - 30 March 2015

Itinerary: day by day

Day 1 – Melbourne via Great Ocean Road to Halls Gap

DEFAULT PICK UP: In front of St Pauls Cathedral (Flinders St), 07:15am.

Departing Melbourne we pass through Geelong, stopping for a quick photo opportunity at an iconic surfbeach town of Torquay. We then begin our journey along one of Australia’s most beautiful and famousdrives, the Great Ocean Road.

A short stop at Kennett River lets you do some koala spotting. We visit ApolloBay for our lunch stop before getting back on the Great Ocean Road where we stop to admire the iconicTwelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge and London Bridge. Bring your camera!Late afternoon we make our way into the Grampians for our overnight stay in Halls Gap where we enjoydinner (own expense) with your new friends before we overnight in the Grampians. (L)

Day 2 – Grampians National Park to Adelaide

Grampians National Park is an area rich in Aboriginal culture set in a beautiful landscape. We learn about thelocal Aboriginal culture with a visit to the Brambuck Cultural Centre. We embark on a few walks in the National Park and take in some of the breathtaking views before making our way to either McKenzie Falls orSilverband Falls where we hike to some stunning views.

Leaving the Grampians behind, we pass through thetown of Horsham before crossing the famed mighty Murray River and making the last leg of our journey into Adelaide. Accommodation tonight is at the Adelaide Central YHA. (B)

Day 3 - Adelaide, staying at the Adelaide Central YHA

Make the most of a day to relax and explore South Australia’s capital city Adelaide (overnight dormaccommodation included at the Adelaide Central YHA; meals and activities at own expense). If you’re looking for something exciting todo outside the city, why not try our Kangaroo Island Highlights Day Tour (Tour Code PKICC) or a BarossaValley wine tour (Tour Code PBVDT).

Day 4 – Adelaide to Flinders Ranges

PICK UP: Adelaide Central YHA (135 Waymouth St), 06:30am

We leave South Australia’s capital city behind and head for the hillside vineyards of the Clare Valley plus astring of classic country towns before we stop for an optional tasting (own expense) at one of the many localcellar doors.

After lunch we can start enjoying the expansive views of Flinders Ranges as we weave our waytowards Wilpena Pound, one of Australia’s most magnificent natural features. We have the option of a fewhikes to explore this stunning area. We stay overnight in the Flinders Ranges (LD)

Day 5 – Flinders Ranges to William Creek via the Oodnadatta Track

Today we breakout from the Flinders Ranges and head north passing the mining town of Leigh Creek andvisiting the gallery of outback eccentric Talc Alf at Lyndhurst. We are now following the historic route of theold Ghan railway and the Overland Telegraph line.

Before we really get off the beaten track we stop inMarree for some lunch beside the old Ghan rail station. We are now on the renowned Oodnadatta track aswe pass Australia’s largest salt lake, Lake Eyre. Our last stop for the day is William Creek, home to its famouspub and a population of about six! Tonight we temporarily increase the population as we camp for the night.(BLD)

Day 6 –William Creek to Coober Pedy

Desert landscapes of red dunes, salt pans and gibber plains feature as we pass through Anna Creek Station,the world’s largest cattle station at almost 24 000 square kilometres. Today’s first stop is LakeCadibarrawirracanna – yes that is the longest lake name in the world.

We then continue our approach toCoober Pedy, the ‘Opal capital of the world’. We take a town tour and view an underground house,underground church and we also take a mine tour including an opal cutting demonstration. The afternoon isfree for some more exploring or you can even try ‘noodling’ (fossicking) for opals. We stay overnight in anunderground bunkhouse. (BLD)

Day 7 – Coober Pedy to Erldunda

Before we leave Coober Pedy and head out across the Moon Plain we get up close to some local wildlife andlearn about rescued joeys at Josephine’s Gallery and Kangaroo Orphanage. We pass the Dingo Fence, thelongest fence in the world, and take in the view of the Breakaways Scenic Reserve, made famous by themovie Mad Max III. Early afternoon we arrive at Erldunda, located almost right in the geographical centre ofAustralia. Here we can take a swim in the pool or enjoy some relaxation time at our campsite for the night.(BLD)

Day 8 – Erldunda to Kata Tjuta and Uluru

We start the day by heading to Uluru (Ayers Rock) for lunch, before making the journey to one of the RedCentre’s greatest treasures: Kata Tjuta. Get up close to this ancient geological formation during a hikethrough the beautiful Valley of the Winds. Tonight you can sleep in a permanent tent or curl up in a swag(Aussie bedroll) as you watch the desert sun set over Uluru and enjoy a night under the outback stars. (BLD)

Day 9 – Uluru to Kings Canyon

Rise early and be rewarded with a glorious Uluru sunrise. While the morning’s fresh, enjoy an unguided walkaround the base of Uluru. You will then deepen your understanding of the land and the Mala people as youembark on a cultural interpretive walk with an Aboriginal guide (and interpreter).* It is a unique opportunityto share experiences and to connect with and learn about the oldest culture on earth. Afterwards, you will have the opportunity to purchase Aboriginal arts and crafts at the Cultural Centre before we travel to ourexclusive campsite within the Watarrka National Park (Kings Canyon) where we sleep for the night. (BLD)

Day 10 – Kings Canyon to Alice Springs

Get your hiking shoes on today as we head out to explore the impressive formations and towering rock facesof Kings Canyon. You’ll really appreciate the sheer size and beauty of the canyon as we trek through theAmphitheatre, and discover the Lost City, the lush and ancient Garden of Eden, and the North and SouthWalls. Enjoy a lunch before we make our way to Alice Springs. (BL)

Day 11 – Alice Springs

Enjoy a free day to relax and explore Alice Springs (overnight dorm accommodation included; meals andactivities at own expense).

Day 12 – Alice Springs to Daly Waters

PICK UP LOCATION: Haven Backpacker Resort, 06:10am

Leaving Alice we pass by the Tropic of Capricorn and make our way to Karlu Karlu (Devils Marbles) where weexplore the well-known marble shaped granite boulders, a site sacred to its traditional owners.

Continuing north we make a stop at Tennant Creek for a chance to purchase lunch and stretch our legs before wecontinue to Daly Waters to our overnight camp located right near the NT’s famous Daly Waters OutbackHotel. Here you have an opportunity to check out the famous pub, enjoy a swim in the pool, have a cooldrink and purchase some of the local fare for Dinner. Overnight at our camp at Daly Waters.

Day 13 – Daly Waters to Darwin

After an early morning start as we make our way to Nitmiluk National Park, home to Katherine Gorge and Edith Falls. Your guide will lead a short return walk to Baruwei Lookout, allowing you to get a postcard shotof the gorge and learn about this stunning area and its significance to the local Jawoyn Aboriginal people.Once we finish exploring the gorge we have one final stop for a swim at the beautiful Edith Falls before wedrive the last leg into the Northern Territory’s capital city, Darwin.

Day 14 – Darwin to Mary River

DEFAULT PICK UP: Melaleuca on Mitchell, 52 Mitchell St Darwin, 06:50am.

Leaving Darwin, we journey south to the beautiful Litchfield National Park where we visit the stunningwaterfalls that flow all year round. Take a refreshing swim and enjoy lunch before we travel into WulnaCountry and receive a Cul Cul or unique ‘Welcome to Country’ by the traditional owners of the land, theLimilngan –Wulna people^. They’ll share with us their local Aboriginal culture with bush tucker talks, didgeridoo lessons, basket weaving and spear throwing.We finish the day in the spectacular Mary River Wetlands, where the exotic birds are not the only wildlife tosee.

Keep a watch for lurking crocodiles on an afternoon river cruise! Climb into your sleeping bag for a wellearnedrest at our secluded Mary River camping spot. (LD)

Day 15 – Mary River to Kakadu

Today we head to Kakadu National Park, World Heritage listed for its stunning natural features and for beingthe centre of the world's oldest living culture. Discover ancient Aboriginal rock art at Ubirr before climbing tothe top of a rocky lookout for fabulous views over the Nardab floodplain. Next we head to Maguk (Barramundi Gorge) where a hike is rewarded with a reviving swim in the plunge pools. Tonight we stay atour permanent camp in Kakadu National Park. (BLD)

Day 16 – Kakadu to Darwin

Get ready for some 4WD action today as we make our way to Jim Jim Falls, the crown of Kakadu and certainto be one of our trip highlights. Admire views of this 200m natural wonder before continuing on to Twin Falls. (Twin and Jim Jim Falls not available year round; subject to seasonal availability^^). See the beauty of the gorge and feel the force of the waterfalls from a national park operated boat andboardwalk experience.

On the way back home, the scenery will continue to amaze you as we journey back toDarwin in the afternoon. (BL)


Day 14 – Litchfield National Park | Cathedral Termite Mounds | Overnight camp. (LD)

Day 15 – Mamukala Wetlands (seasonal) | Wildlife Cruise | Ubirr or Nourlangie Rock (seasonal) | Walk to Gubara Springs | Overnight camp Kakadu. (BLD)

Day 16 – Gunlom Falls or Motor Car Falls (seasonal) | Warradjan Culture Centre | Return to Darwin. (BL)

B = Breakfast | L = Lunch | D = Dinner

Travel Insurance is compulsory for all travellers on all tours and details must be presented to tour guide before departure. Please refer to terms and conditions for more details.


Departure location : Default pick up: Melbourne Central YHA (corner of Flinders and Spencer Sts) at 06:00am. Other pick up locations available are: Nomads Industry (196 A’Beckett St) at 06:10am; Opposite Victorian Arts Centre (St Kilda Rd, Southbank) at 06:20am; Base Backpackers (17 Carlisle St, St Kilda), 06:40am

Arrival location : Select Darwin accommodation early evening day 16

To check out departures dates and availability, just click the BOOK NOW button on this page



  • Experienced guide
  • national park entrance fees
  • meals as indicated
  • 2 Aboriginal cultural experiences*^
  • accommodation transfers
  • accommodation as below:

    Standard Accommodation: 7 nights dorm accommodation with shared facilities, 8 nights camping

    Upgrade Accommodation (subject to availability at the time of booking): 3 nights private room (twin, double, or single) with shared facilities, 4 nights private room with ensuite, 8 nights camping

Tour upgrades

Accommodation Upgrade

Double/Twin: AUD $2740 per person

Single: AUD $3250 per person


Optional Activities

  • Cruise or Canoeing at Katherine Gorge
  • Helicopter flight at Kings Canyon

What to bring

  • Sturdy walking shoes (ankle high)
  • hat & sunscreen
  • towel & toiletries
  • warm clothing in winter
  • water bottle
  • torch/flashlight
  • insect repellent
  • camera
  • pillow
  • sleeping bag (can be purchased for $30)


  • ^^Itineraries may vary and/or attractions be substituted for any cause including seasonal conditions, weather extremes, traditional owner and national park requirements. Note that the opening dates of waterfalls (including Twin and Jim Jim Falls) and attractions vary each year and can change on a daily basis in the wet and shoulder seasons. Visit this website to see live updates on which areas of the park will be open, or contact our Reservations team: http://kakaduroadreport.wordpress.com/ Due to National Park rules and road laws, we cannot guarantee the opening of Twin and Jim Jim Falls and other attractions at any time. Alternative activities will be substituted at the tour guides' discretion, dependant on local conditions. See terms and conditions for full details.
  • Day 12-13 of this trip is designed to be an express between Alice Springs and Darwin and has a limited itinerary. The distance travelled is some 1,500km and involves a substantial amount of time on the vehicle.
  • A tropical summer itinerary applies in Kakadu Nov/Dec-May.
  • *Where Aboriginal guide is unavailable an Adventure Tours Australia/Intrepid guide will lead the interpretive cultural walk.
  • ^The Aboriginal Wulna-Limilngan cultural experience is only available during the dry season (Apr-Oct) as site is subject to flooding (contact our customer service team for availability). Participants may be absent due to cultural commitments with minimal prior notification and Adventure Tours Australia reserves the right to amend the itinerary in these circumstances with no obligation to refund.
  • Package is made up of five separate tours therefore you may travel with a different guide and passengers on each section.
  • From October to March it is likely that you will experience temperatures of over 35 degrees Celsius, and sometimes well into the 40’s. Be prepared to endure extra physical stress due to the heat at these times, especially while on walks. These extreme outside temperatures can also place stress on the air-conditioning units within our vehicles which can make travelling uncomfortable. Your tour guide will assist with regular breaks and information to assist keeping hydrated. Conversely, in July and August, very cold temperatures can be experienced in the outback, especially overnight. Please come prepared for all extremes.
  • This tour requires a sleeping bag you may bring your own with you or pre purchase a sleeping bag from us.
  • Travel insurance is compulsory for all travellers on all tours and details must be presented to tour guide before departure.
  • It is your responsibility to advise Adventure Tours Australia/ Intrepid Travel if you have any special dietary requirements or medical conditions (including allergies) well ahead of departure.
  • It is you or your clients’ responsibility to contact Adventure Tours Australia/ Intrepid Travel with your preferred accommodation pick up point. Please contact our inside sales teams for information on other available pick up points. If we do not hear from you, we will assume you will make your way to our default pick up point as listed on this document. We will not be responsible for missed pick-ups (and a missed tour) if we do not receive notification from you or your travel agent, and if you are not at the default pick up point at the appropriate time.
  • Melbourne to Adelaide section is operated in conjunction with our touring partners Autopia Tours.
  • A STRICT luggage limit of 15kg applies (10kg in Kakadu). Excess luggage can be stored in Darwin.