ARRIVE ALICE SPRINGS
The feeling of excitement begins as you arrive into Alice Springs. The most central point of Australia, this small outback town is your gateway to the extraordinary Red Centre. On arrival, you’ll have time to explore Alice at leisure, or relax before tomorrow’s early start.
OVERNIGHT: YHA Alice Springs
ALICE SPRINGS TO ULURU
Daybreak, and your tour heads south through the MacDonnell and James Ranges. First stop: a camel farm. Here you will discover the history of the Afghan Cameleers, and experience a camel ride first-hand (optional at own expense). Continuing to Ayers Rock Resort, the road trip features so much natural beauty that you’ll appreciate the regular stops along the way. On arrival into Ayers Rock Resort, you’ll head out to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, where the powerful presence of Uluru is before you. Along the way, you’ll view ancient rock art, discover more Aboriginal and European history, and then finish the day relaxing with a glass of sparkling wine, watching the rock change colour as the sun dips below the western horizon.
OVERNIGHT: Outback Pioneer Lodge (D)
ULURU TO KINGS CANYON
An early start is rewarded with an extraordinary sunrise, as you make your way to an ideal viewing spot to see the first rays of sun as they set the Red Centre alight. After this delightful start you’ll walk to the Valley of the Winds, heading first to the Karu Lookout and its sweeping views across the domes of Kata Tjuta, and out into the sacred Anangu men’s area. Next stop is the Karingana Lookout, well worth the effort as it takes you through trickling creek beds to a timeless haven within the domes. Here you’ll find a photographer’s dream, with breathtaking views in every direction. Depart Ayers Rock Resort in the late morning and travel to a local cattle property, Curtin Springs Station. Continue to Kings Canyon Resort.
OVERNIGHT: Kings Canyon Lodge (B,L,D)
KINGS CANYON TO ALICE SPRINGS
A bright and early morning hike will see you head into Kings Canyon and up to the top of the Kings Canyon rim. A once-in-a-lifetime experience, the six-kilometre trail takes you up a 100 metre cliff face with breathtaking views of sandstone walls, grottos, chasms and cliffs. The experience takes roughly three hours and is well worth the effort – but you may prefer to explore the boulder-strewn creek bed instead, an easier shady walk following the trail between the two sheer walls of the canyon. After accomplishing the hike, it is time to sit back and admire the scenery as you head back to Alice Springs.
OVERNIGHT: YHA Alice Springs (B,L)
BOARD THE GHAN IN ALICE SPRINGS
This morning is at leisure before you board The Ghan in the evening for your overnight journey north to Darwin. There is plenty of time to take in any last-minute sights such as the Alice Springs Reptile Centre, Royal Flying Doctor Service Tourist Facility, or the Alice Springs Telegraph Station.
OVERNIGHT: The Ghan (D)
THE GHAN, KATHERINE AND DARWIN
There is a notable change in scenery when you wake, and there’s no better way to experience this forever-changing landscape than aboard The Ghan. After breakfast, you’ll arrive in Katherine for an Off Train Excursion to the natural wonders of Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge), before re-boarding the train to your final destination of Darwin. This extraordinary adventure finishes in Darwin, ready for your journey back home. (B,L)