Discover the Outback
Self drive tour
Explore the ancient treasures of Australia’s Red Centre; Uluru, Kings Canyon and Kata Tjuta. Experience dramatic sunrises and sunsets, the extraordinary Field of Light and the MacDonnell Ranges. Visit “The Alice”, drive the Stuart Highway and explore the steamy tropical Top End with the Kakadu and Lichfield national parks and Katherine Gorge before arriving in the Northern Territory’s capital, Darwin.
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Discover the Outback
Day 1 : Uluru
On arrival at Ayers Rock airport transfer to your hotel at Ayers Rock Resort for a two night stay.
Day 2 : Kata Tjuta Sunrise & Uluru Sunset
Your 5 hour tour commences with a transfer from your hotel, where you will revel in the early morning serenity of a truly spiritual place as the sunrise colours change on Kata Tjuta. Travel through the landscape to the entrance of Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park, from there it is a 40 kilometre journey through the desert landscape to the mighty rock formation. On arrival at the viewing area, you walk to the best vantage point to see the 36 domes while watching the sun’s morning glow as the desert comes alive. Make your way to the western side of Kata Tjuta where you will have the opportunity to relax and enjoy a gourmet picnic breakfast. As you approach the entrance to Walpa Gorge, named for the wind (Walpa) that whistles between the massive domes that shape Kata Tjuta, the result of eons of weathering and continual upheaval, your guide will share the significance of this men’s sacred ceremonial site. Take a stroll between these mighty conglomerate rock walls and learn how the environment and the geology has evolved over millions of years. Return to Ayers Rock Resort, with time to relax.
Late afternoon travel to the entrance of the Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park and experience the many moods and admire the immensity of Uluru as you immerse yourself in the environmental changes of this world-renowned icon. Relax with a glass of sparkling wine and light refreshments as the sun sets in the west. Return to Ayers Rock Resort and enjoy the evening.
Day 3 : Uluru Sunrise, Field of Light - Kings Canyon (305km)
A short transfer will provide just enough time for some background commentary on the internationally renowned artist Bruce Monroe. Arriving in complete darkness, in the quiet of pre-dawn, you will be able to enjoy the 50,000 globes of light in the desert, before making your way up the hill to the Field of Light sunrise viewing platform. Once at the platform, you will be served tea, coffee or hot chocolate. You can enjoy your beverage as the sun starts to creep light throughout the sky and then watch in awe as it rises in the distance behind Uluru, flooding the landscape, including Kata Tjuta behind you. As the natural light brightens the landscape, the Field of Light will dim for the day. Enjoy some amazing photos from this unique raised location that allows you to view both Kata Tjuta and Uluru in all their natural glory.
Check out from your hotel and head for the airport to collect your rental car for the drive to Kings Canyon. Perhaps stop and stretch your legs at Kings Creek Station, the largest exporter of wild camels in Australia, before arriving at Kings Canyon resort for a two night stay. Time your journey right and you may be in time to view the sun set behind Carmichaels Crag, if not, there’s always tomorrow’s sunset.
Day 4 : Kings Canyon
A day to explore this 440 million years old red landscape. Perhaps take a rim walk or enjoy the sunset from the viewing area.
Day 5 : Kings Canyon - Alice Springs (323km)
Things are bigger in the Northern Territory outback, from the cattle stations to the MacDonnell Ranges, which stretch like a dinosaur spine towards Alice Springs where you’ll stay for two nights.
Day 6 : Alice Springs
Nestled in the heart of Australia’s ochre and known to the locals as “Alice”, this town embodies the quintessential Australian spirit, from the ancient desert it sits upon to the Aboriginal culture that is woven into the very fabric of life here. In the town itself, you’ll find an impressive array of outback activities from camel rides to sunrise hot air balloons. Australian Aboriginal art is the world’s oldest ongoing art tradition. Discover it for yourself on the arts trail, where Dreamtime stories and ancient history are woven into colourful creations, old and new. Witness the magic of the Milky Way, visit the kangaroo sanctuary or the botanical gardens. Alice makes Australian history for the 1872 Telegraph Station, one of twelve along the overland telegraph line from Adelaide to Darwin and it’s well worth a visit. Be sure to end the day on Anzac Hill for panoramic views over the town.
Day 7 : Alice Springs – Tennant Creek (508km)
Take to the Stuart Highway today and head north to Tennant Creek. On the way visit Wycliffe Well, the self proclaimed UFO capital of Australia. At Karlu Karlu the Devils Marbles await; precariously balanced boulders that appear to be glued together.
Day 8 : Tennant Creek – Katherine (675km)
The longest day of the trip today as you continue your journey north towards the Top End. Since the 1930’s the Daly Waters Historic Pub has been dishing up food and drink to passing travellers and the walls are adorned with treasures that passers-by have left behind. Further up the road the “Land of the Never Never” awaits in Mataranka before you arrive in Katherine for a two night stay.
Day 9 : Katherine
This is where the Outback meets the tropics, a region full of gorges and misty waterfalls, thermal springs, swimming holes and ancient culture. Nature comes alive at Katherine Gorge as you cruise, canoe or fly along the Gorge by helicopter. Get a hands on perspective of indigenous culture, explore indigenous art, or hike one of the trails. To ensure you have the best view, enjoy an included and breathtaking 8 gorges flight which will give you a great perspective of Nitmiluk Gorge system with spectacular views of Nitmiluk Gorge, the Arnhem Land escarpment and local wildlife from a state of the art helicopter.
Day 10 : Katherine – Kakadu National Park (305km)
Head for the Kakadu National Park today for a two night inclusive experience at the Hawk Dreaming Wilderness Lodge. The lodge is situated in an extremely special and justifiably renowned part of the Park, known as Cannon Hill, which has abundant wildlife, especially bird and marine life, and where a large diversity of the Park’s landscape elements come together. The area has considerable importance to the local Aboriginal people, some of whom still live nearby to the lodge. In fact the whole of the Cannon Hill area where the camp is situated is a registered sacred site. The sandstone outliers around Cannon Hill host significant rock art dating back many thousands of years.
After arriving at the lodge and getting acquainted with the facilities you’ll be treated to a sunset tour taking in nearby rock art sites and nibbles by the Cannon Hill billabong or rock art sites before returning to the Lodge for dinner. Accommodation is in tented cabins with ensuite facilities and deck.
Day 11 : Arnhem Land
Breakfast will be served between 7am and 8am before you join a Cultural and Heritage 4wd day tour. You’ll experience vast flood plains, towering escarpment, rock art sites, Indigenous artist at work at Injalak Arts Centre and lunch by Inkiyu Billabong with a knowledgeable guide. Your camp hosts will collect you from the tour and transfer you back to the camp. You will again have the opportunity to do another sunset tour around the camp visiting different sites from the previous evening before heading back to the Lodge for a home cooked meal.
Day 12 : Kakadu – Darwin (255km)
Enjoy a morning Guluyambi Cultural Cruise before collecting your car and heading for Darwin for a three night stay, perhaps making a stop at Ubirr to see the ancient Aboriginal rock art.
Day 13 : Litchfield National Park (220km)
Only a 60-minute drive south of Darwin, Litchfield National Park is possibly the Northern Territory’s best-kept secret. The park is filled with stunning waterfalls and waterholes that are surrounded by monsoonal vine forests – all of which offer a cool respite on warm summer days. Swim in the clear waterholes beneath magnificent spring-fed waterfalls. Take the boardwalk to a ‘graveyard’ of 2m tall headstones. These are magnetic termite mounds; feats of insect architecture oriented with the sun to keep the termites cool in baking conditions. Keep your eyes peeled for hundreds of species of fauna. Wallabies, sugar gliders, quolls and flying foxes are all common, as is the dragon-like water monitor that can often be spotted basking on rocks. Twitchers should keep their binoculars handy to spot the Yellow Oriole, Figbird, Pacific Koel, Spangled Drongo, Dollarbird and Rainbow Bee-eater that inhabit sheltered areas close to waterfalls.
Day 14 : Darwin
A day to relax and explore the city. From the sparkling harbour and WWII history to the city’s Asian-influenced food and tropical outdoor lifestyle, Darwin is an adventurer’s paradise. At the famous Mindil Beach Sunset Markets, sample international cuisine from over 60 food stalls, including Indonesian, Malaysian, Sri Lankan, Turkish, Greek, Cambodian, and Japanese.
Immerse yourself in the history of Darwin. From ancient Aboriginal Dreamtime stories and the pioneering spirit of the early settlers to survival stories of WWII, the bombing of Darwin and Cyclone Tracy, Darwin’s history and heritage is vast, diverse and captivating in every way.
Day 15 : Departure
Return your car at the airport in time to check in for your homeward flight.