- The Flinders Ranges
- Coober Pedy with its opals
- Uluru (Ayers Rock)
- Kings Canyon
- Alice Springs
- Katherine Gorge
- Kakadu National Park
- Litchfield National Park
Discover the contrasts of this amazing country as you drive from Adelaide to Darwin (or vice versa) on a 4000km trip of a lifetime! The journey will provide a magnificent array of scenery from the green rolling hills of the wine regions around Adelaide, up through the red centre and typical Outback Australia before finishing in the lush ‘Top End’.
Fly from the UK to Adelaide where you will be met and welcomed at Adelaide Airport and transferred to the centrally located 4 star Pullman Hotel for a 3 night stay. There will be a motorhome briefing at the hotel on the morning of day 4 and in the evening you’re invited to a welcome dinner where you can meet your tour leaders and fellow travellers, the rest of the day is at leisure.
Adelaide is situated on the Torrens River and is Australia's fourth largest city. Known as the "City of Churches" Adelaide has an abundance of gracious old buildings, churches and beautiful parklands. You have some free time to explore the city from North Terrace, a boulevard of galleries and museums finishing at the brilliant botanic gardens, to Rundle Street which is lined with cafes, bars and restaurants. Or perhaps you might like to take a trip out to some of the wonderful vineyards.
Distance: 436km (270miles)
Our journey begins as we travel north through the Clare Valley towards Wilpena Pound in the Flinders Ranges, South Australia’s largest mountain range. Ikara (Wilpena Pound) is an iconic natural amphitheatre, which stands out in the vast landscape as the centre piece to the National Park. The word Wilpena translates to Ikara meaning 'meeting place' in the language of the Adnyamathanha people have lived in the Flinders Ranges for tens of thousands of years and the region remains a place of enormous significance today in contemporary Adnyamathanha society.
The Flinders Ranges National Park encompasses some of the most spectacular scenery in South Australia, made famous by the paintings of Sir Hans Heysen, and is world-renowned for its geological history with impressive fossil remains. With rugged mountain scenery, peaceful gorges and a huge array of wildlife and flora, the Flinders Ranges epitomises the Australian outback.
Options for you to enjoy include an aboriginal cultural tour, a scenic flight over Wilpena Pond or over Lake Eyre, do some bush walking, star gazing or take a 4WD tour of the region.
Distance: 161km (100miles)
As you head towards Port Augusta, we suggest a stop in Quom and maybe try some scones and Quandong Jam at the Quandong Cafe.
Distance: 542km (337miles)
Coober Pedy is today Australia's largest opal producing centre, famous for its exquisite light opal, but is also one of the hottest places in Australia, with temperatures in the summer often reaching as high as 50 degrees Celsius. As a result, most of the houses in Coober Pedy are built underground, where, inside, locals can escape the heat. The name "Coober Pedy" actually means, in the local Aboriginal dialect, "White man's hole in the ground".
There’s plenty to see and do in Coober Pedy including a visit one of the residents underground houses, a visit an opal mine, see an ‘old timers mine’, take in an opal cutting demonstration. If you’d like to venture a little further you might like to take a trip out to see the Moon Plain and the Breakaways or visit the Dingo Fence, a unique piece of Australian Heritage and the longest dog fence in the world.
Distance: 755km (469miles)
Uluru (Ayers Rock) is a huge monolith which captured the imagination of the Australian Aboriginals centuries before European settlement. It is steeped in the mystery of legend, mythology and folklore. Coupled with the mysterious nearby rock formations at Kata Tjuta (the Olgas), a visit to Central Australia is a truly unique experience.
During the days you are free to explore the area and learn more about the geological and spiritual history of the area and Uluru itself. On two of the evenings we have included some excursions for you to enjoy.
The ‘Sounds of Silence Dinner’ offers the chance to enjoy champagne and canapés before being seated for dinner while the sun sets. Enjoy the Northern Territory's culinary delights such as barramundi, kangaroo, crocodile, bush salads and classic Australian desserts. Following dinner the lanterns are extinguished to reveal a star filled night, as you’re guided through the night sky by the Resort's Resident Astronomer.
Your ‘Field of Light’ experience begins with a convenient hotel pick up and short transfer to the remote desert location. As darkness falls and Uluru is thrown into silhouette, 50,000 slender stems crowned with radiant frosted-glass spheres will gently bloom with rhythms of coloured light. Temporarily lose yourself in this monumental light installation as its pathways draw you in.
Distance: 342km (201miles)
Kings Canyon is the deepest gorge in the Red Centre. The waterholes on the canyon floor never completely dry up and foster lush growth, which includes palms of ancient origin. A path to the rim of the gorge leads to the ‘Lost City’, where the rock has worn away to resemble ancient ruins. Enjoy a leisurely exploration of part of the canyon or if you’re feeling more adventurous and wish to do the Canyon Rim walk – the walk is 4 hours in duration (6 kilometres) and begins with a steep climb to top of the canyon – you’ll take in spectacular views from the canyon rim. High in the canyon and very difficult to reach the Garden of Eden is a highlight of the walk, a sheltered valley where you’ll find permanent waterholes and lush vegetation.
Distance: 472km (293miles)
Alice Springs is a perfect base for a stay in the Red Centre, giving you easy access to all the surrounding natural wonders. Situated on the frequently dry Todd River, the town has a population of 27,000 offering city facilities, while retaining its pioneering heritage and Outback friendliness. The town came into existence as a result of the building of the Overland Telegraph in 1871. Today this Telegraph Station is a major attraction for visitors.
Optional tours include a visit to the Old Telegraph Station as well as the School of the Air and the Royal Flying Doctor Service, where you can learn how this facility takes care of people in the outback. Enjoy views of Alice Springs from Anzac Hill, and see the water hole - site of the original Alice Springs. You might like to visit the Desert Park Experience at night or during the day visit the Nocturnal House and see animals once found in abundance across the desert. Be inspired by ancient living cultures and feel the spirit with local Aboriginal guides at daily presentations.
Distance: 507km (315miles)
Your next destination is Tennant Creek and the Barkly Tablelands, known for its million-acre cattle stations, gold mining heritage, iconic rock formations and Aboriginal culture. This is genuine Outback Australia.
Visit the sacred Karlu Karlu (the Devils Marbles), an hour’s drive south of Tennant Creek, where hundreds of granite boulders, some up to six metres tall, are scattered. The best times to visit are sunrise and sunset, when the morning and evening sun highlights their deep red colour. Learn about the Dreamtime story of the site on an interpretive walk or from a ranger during the cooler months.
Meet local artists at Aboriginal art galleries. Hear the local Warumungu legend of ‘Nyinkka’, the spiky tailed goanna that shaped the town, at the Nyinkka Nyunyu Art and Culture Centre (considered one of the best in the NT). Then meet the clever women of Julalikari Arts, just north of the town, who welcome visitors to watch them create their art—paintings, pottery, screen-printing and sewing—using bright colours and amazing textures. Alternatively re-live Australia’s last gold rush in the 1930s on an underground tour at the Battery Hill Mining Centre. This area was Australia’s third-largest gold producer, and the centre has Australia’s last operating ten-head gold stamp battery.
Distance: 406km (252miles)
Break your journey along the Stuart Highway up with an overnight stop at this pub which was built in 1930 by Bill and Henrietta Pierce. The book ‘2 at Daly Waters’ by Elisabeth George is a great tale of the early beginnings of the pub and life as a settler in the outback.
In the past the pub has witnessed shoot outs in the main street and cattle stampeding through town. Station owners threatened to burn the place down or buy it and bulldoze it to stop the local ringers from riding into town, hence the old bath tub & rail to hitch your horse onto. Today the only shoot out is at the bar during Happy Hour and the only brawling done is between the gangs of Happy Jacks (local birdlife).
Distance: 168km (104miles)
The Mararanka Homestead is situated 7km from the small town of Mataranka, 100km south of Kathrine, and borders Elsey National Park. The nearby Waterhouse Rver and the Little Roper river abound with Barramundi and other fish species. Freshwater crocodiles can be seen basking on the banks of the Waterhouse. Mataranka Homestead is also the home of orphan wallabies which have been hand raised at the homestead. The movie "We of the Never Never" was filmed at Mararanka, and the replica of the original homestead is still part of the attractions here.
Distance: 108km (67miles)
Katherine, once a "one store, one pub" town, now has a population of almost 4,000 and is the third largest centre in the Northern Territory. Gold and tin mines and huge cattle stations surround the town. Katherine was established as an important tourist destination with the creation of the nearby Katherine Gorge National Park in 1963. Katherine Gorge, one of Australia's greatest natural wonders, is comprised of 13 separate gorges. Canyon walls climb steeply on each side, creating sculptured cliffs which glow with the sun's reflection.
While in Katherine we’ve included a cultural cruise for you to enjoy. Cruise along two of the gorges and discover the cultural significance to the traditional land owners, the Jawoyn people and be enlightened by the history and traditions of the Indigenous inhabitants.
Distance: 294km (182miles)
Covering some 20,000 square kilometres, Kakadu is Australia's largest national park. Its vast wetlands and ancient escarpment are home to one of Australia's largest and most diverse bird populations and are home to outstanding natural and cultural significance. Visit rock art sites at Nourlangie Rock including the most famous rock art picture called Namondjok which, for some Aboriginal groups, is a Creation Ancestor who now lives in the sky and can be seen only at night, when he appears as a dark spot in the Milky Way galaxy. This famous site, with its stunning rock paintings, documents life in the region from 20,000 years ago to the first contact with European explorers.
Board the Yellow Water billabong cruise to view the myriad of birdlife and keep an eye out for crocodiles, then visit the Warradjan Aboriginal Culture Centre where the traditional Aboriginal land owners (Bininj) of Kakadu National Park tell stories of their culture through the displays and exhibitions.
Distance: 301km (187miles)
Litchfield National Park is a true wonder of the Top End, replete with idyllic waterfalls, pristine swimming spots, beautiful walking trails and hidden natural wonders, making a visit to the region something that you will remember for a lifetime. Two of the main attractions are Wangi Falls and Florence Falls. Wangi Falls adorns many a Northern Territory postcard. With picturesque walking tracks and stunning waterfalls coming from sandstone cliff faces, you'll be sure to remember your time here fondly. Camping is the only option to stay overnight. You'll find all the facilities you need, including a kiosk, hot showers and barbecues. There are a number of walking tracks of varying difficulty, or you can simply lie back in the relaxing fresh water.
Florence Falls is Litchfield National Park's best kept secret, a secluded plunge pool located in the middle of monsoon rainforest, providing plenty of shade from the sun, where you can swim for most of the year. From the lookout you can survey the surrounding location, while there are a number of walks that provide a different perspective of the area.
Distance: 116km (72miles)
Drop off your motorhome and transfer to the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Darwin for a two night stay. Darwin is the capital of the Northern Territory and with its close proximity to Asia and tropical coastline; it has a relaxed, multicultural & modern feel about it. Over 90 percent of the city was rebuilt in a special cyclone-proof design, after it was almost wiped out by Cyclone Tracy on Christmas Day, 1974.
The settlement, which started as a port and transit stop, is an important centre for mining exploration in the Territory and also has a booming tourist industry. On the last night enjoy a farewell dinner with your group at a local restaurant to relive the memories of your journey from south to north.
Check out of your hotel this morning and transfer to the airport for your journey home, arriving back into the UK the next day.
Price per person is based on two people sharing, prices for solo travellers are available on request.
The departure on 8th May 2020 operates in reverse from Darwin to Adelaide.