Travel the land 'Down Under'. Sleep under the stars in a bush camp, take a hot air balloon ride, then grab a cold beer with all your new friends at one of the oldest Territory pubs. Gorgeous gorges & national parks leave you breathless as you get to know the backyard of Australia, plus Darwin offers the draw of the big city with shopping & nightlife not to be missed.
|Accommodations:|| Hotel, Outback bush camp, Lodge
as per itinerary
|Meals:|| , Dinner, Breakfast, Dinner, Breakfast
as per itinerary
|Sightseeing:||Northern Territory, including Alice Springs, Kings Creek Station, Uluṟu, Tennant Creek, Katherine, Kakadu National Park & Darwin|
Fly over the international date line on your way to Australia.
Check into the Ibis Styles Alice Springs Oasis Hotel & spend the rest of the afternoon exploring Alice Springs.
Meet up with the other Contiki travellers and your Tour Manager in Alice Springs, the original outback town smack in the middle of Australia and in the middle of nowhere. You’ll get a real feel for this rustic and remote outpost as your Tour Manager introduces you to the local area. We visit the Desert Park where you’ll walk through different habitats found in the Northern Territory, including creeks, woodlands and sand dunes and learn about the plant and wildlife that survive in some of the world’s toughest conditions. You’ll also see animals from the Central Australian deserts that are almost impossible to see in the wild. Later, we head into the stunning West MacDonnell National Park. We’ll stop at the important spiritual site for Aborigines, Simpsons Gap, where you’ll see rock-climbing wallabies, gum trees and a small water hole. Use your free time this afternoon to check out the galleries and local Aboriginal art scene – this is the perfect opportunity to pick up some different gifts for back home. Later, you’ll understand just how remote Alice Springs is and get an insider’s view on life in the outback at the Royal Flying Doctors. Our Local Guide will fill us in on the distances these doctors travel! We also visit the Old Telegraph Station, the original European settlement in the area, then head to Anzac Hill for full blown views over the desert. Tonight, relax back at the hotel and tuck into a buffet dinner.
Jump start the day by learning about surviving in the bush with our included Aboriginal Bush Tucker tour. Our expert Aboriginal Guide will fill you in on the dos and don’ts of life in the bush and you’ll even get to taste insects and plants if you’re adventurous. Next up, Kings Creek Station. This working camel & cattle station serves up a real bush experience. Tonight, “go bush” and sleep under the open sky at our overnight bush camp where you’ll see the desert sky light up with thousands of stars.
After packing up camp, we hike through Kings Canyon. Your Tour Manager will tell you all about the incredible rock formations and show off this scenic landscape. Navigate your way through the “Lost City” (a series of giant sandstone domes) and hike to the “Garden of Eden” – a gorge packed with palm trees and a shaded water hole. Back on the coach, we drive by ancient Mt Connor for 360 degree views over the red desert before arriving at Yulara Resort. This environmentally designed resort is all about the outback and has a pool for you to cool off in after the drive. Tonight, catch the sun set over the UNESCO World Heritage listed Uluru (Ayers Rock). If you all put in some change, you can grab some nibbles and a bottle of champagne to toast this amazing view.
Start off the morning nice and early and watch the sun rise over this iconic natural wonder from the viewing area. Get familiar with Uluru when your Tour Manager takes you around its base and gives you the background of the spiritual significance of this site for Aboriginal people. For something different, choose an optional Harley Davidson ride or scenic flight. Learn more about indigenous culture at the Cultural Centre before visiting Kata Tjuta, which means “many heads” – this spot is famous for its 36 different rock formations. After sunset, you can kick back beside the pool at the resort, wander around town or just hang out with your friends.
It’s an easy-going start to the day today. Your Tour Manager will cook up a storm for breakfast, so load up on bacon & eggs! We swing by a traditional Australian roadhouse, and then pull back into Alice Springs. Tonight, join the group for an optional dinner at the Overlander Steakhouse, where you can try out kangaroo, crocodile, camel & steak while listening to Aussie folk songs.
Heading north, we stop by Renner Springs, which serves as a border between the lush tropics of the north and the red desert of Australia’s centre. Next up: the oldest pub in the Northern Territory, Daly Waters, licensed since 1893. Check out the knick-knacks and memorabilia that cover the walls of this Australian institution. Grab a bite to eat here and maybe meet a local character or two. Afterwards, we pull into Mataranka Thermal Springs where you can have a swim in the thermal pools at a bush resort, where the mineral waters are a comfortable 34°C/93°F. In the afternoon, we arrive in riverside Katherine – it’s a total change of scene after the dry desert. Your Tour Manager will organise an optional dinner tonight, so you can relax by the pool.
Get above it all in an optional hot air balloon ride over the red MacDonnell Ranges at dawn this morning. Enjoy a bird’s eye view over these stunning, massive rock formations. On the road, we stop by Ti Tree, an Aboriginal community, where there’s a chance to pick up authentic artefacts, paintings and didgeridoos at the cute Aboriginal art gallery. Chill out on the coach as we cut across flat plains and travel through a patch of no man’s land. Stretch your legs at Karlu Karlu (the Devils Marbles), a strange grouping of enormous boulders, and maybe even sight a UFO in Wycliffe Well. We overnight in Tennant Creek, a “true blue” Aussie outback town, where you’ll get a feel for the size of Australia. In the middle of nowhere, this town is the only point of contact for the million-acre cattle stations of the surrounding area.
Kick start the day with a hike, walk or take our optional cruise through the gorgeous Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge. This National Park serves up vivid orange cliffs and rock formations that have been carved out by the river over hundreds’ of years. Keep an eye open for fresh water crocs and learn about local wildlife and folklore from our Local Guide. Later on, cool off in the swimming hole at Edith Falls, deep in the heart of the national park. We overnight near Australia’s largest national park, Kakadu, known for its ancient rock art, some of which is up to 20,000 years old.
We spend the day exploring some of this 20,000 sq km World Heritage-listed site. It’s packed with swamps, rainforest, wetlands, woodlands, plants, insects and 75 different types of reptiles. Our included boat cruise takes us out onto Yellow Water, a lush inland lagoon. You’ll see some rock art, birdlife and even learn about the Aboriginal history of the area. We get the background on local indigenous culture at the Warradjan Cultural Centre before we explore the “rock galleries” of Ubirr, where time-old paintings line the cave walls. Depending on the season, you can watch the sun set over this stunning site before we head back to the hotel for dinner.
Today, we head to stunning Litchfield National Park on our way to Darwin. We stop by the termite mounds, a local natural curiosity, which are up to 4 metres high and are literally magnetic – your Tour Manager will fill you in on the details. Then we hit the famous falls that make up the park - 4 waterfalls pour over a wide plateau into deep, picture-perfect waterholes surrounded by thick rainforest. Experience this natural playground and take a dip in the transparent waters. This evening, we make our way to Darwin where we maybe try lucking out at the casino or go dancing & party the night away.
Today we crusie around Darwin on a city sightseeing tour before we hit the Darwin Museum and find out about the unlucky past of the Northern Territory’s capital. This afternoon enjoy some free time ot explore Darwin, where you could jump on a relaxing Harbour cruise or if you feel the need for speed, perhaps a Jet Boat ride. Later this evening, we head back to the hotel where your tour ends. Say goodbye to your new friends and Tour Manager.
All these highlights along with city sightseeing are included in your tour price!