This 5-day small group tour is your chance to meet the outback on your own terms. No set itinerary, no rushing around to pre-established timeframes – just you, your small group, and a well-versed local leader exploring the Red Centre at your own pace. Get to all the big name attractions – Uluru/Kata Tjuta, Kings Canyon, the Western MacDonnell Ranges – and perhaps visit lesser-known sites like Trephina Gorge, Owen Springs, Ruby Gap and the Eastern MacDonnell Ranges.
Location: Alice Springs – Uluru
Kick off your Australian Outback adventure bright and early in Alice Springs, driving towards the Red Centre. Make tracks across the sunburnt plains to the captivating domes of Kata Tjuta in the afternoon. These massive red rock formations are believed to be 500 million years old! Continue to Australia’s most iconic and culturally significant site of Uluru, arriving in time to witness a magical sunset. Afterwards, continue to your camp, where a hearty dinner awaits.
Location: Uluru – Watarrka National Park
Wake early to catch an unforgettable Uluru sunrise, then get a closer look at this massive sandstone monolith on an unguided walk around its base. After your stroll, walk to the cave paintings near Mutitjulu Waterhole, where you will be met by an Anangu guide. Your guide will provide insight into the ancient rock etchings and the stories they tell, as well as the traditions of the First Nations people of this land. After this, visit the nearby Cultural Central to browse its extensive collection of Aboriginal arts and crafts. Enjoy a local lunch then set off on a 3-hour drive to your exclusive campsite within Watarrka National Park (Kings Canyon). Get acquainted with your surroundings, enjoy dinner onsite and settle in for the night.
Location: Kings Canyon
After breakfast, lace up your hiking shoes and set off to explore Kings Canyon. Plunging 270 metres to the canyon floor, walking its rim reveals incredibly beautiful sandstone formations carved by wind and water. Discover its Amphitheatre, Lost City, North and South Walls and the surprisingly lush Garden of Eden, which owes its cycads and plant life to a permanent waterhole down in the canyon. After lunch, there’s time to relax for a before heading along one of the Red Centre's renowned dirt tracks towards the Western McDonnell Ranges.
Location: West MacDonnell Ranges
Spend the day exploring the outback scenery of the West MacDonnell Ranges. Visit one of the most photographed places in the Red Centre – Ormiston Gorge. Keep your eyes peeled for wallabies while admiring the colourful, rugged walls surrounding its waterhole. Continue to Ellery Creek Big Hole – a popular spot for a refreshing dip. After a satisfying day spent exploring the MacDonnell Ranges, your group leader will find a suitable place to set up your bush camp for the night.
Location: East MacDonnell Ranges – Alice Springs
Often overlooked for its western counterpart, the East MacDonnell Ranges just might be one of the Red Centre’s best-kept secrets. This is the home of the Arrernte people – the Traditional Owners of the land. Learn about their caterpillar Dreamtime stories on a short walk to Emily Gap – an important spiritual site to Arrernte communities, containing galleries of ancient rock paintings. Drive onwards to Trephina Gorge, where you’ll set off on a one-hour guided walk to see quartzite cliffs and the region's birdlife. Afterwards, grab some lunch at the historical Ross River Homestead before continuing to the ‘Ghost Town’ of Arltunga. This town had an unexpected mining rush in the 19th century all because of a mistaken gemstone. After exploring the best of the East MacDonnell Ranges, it’s on to Alice Springs where your adventure ends upon arrival in the late afternoon.
Intrepid was started by two friends from Melbourne, Australia, in 1988 after embarking on a trip through the wilds of Africa in a modified ex-council truck, crammed with friends, supplies, a handful of aviator sunglasses and a case or two of beer. Could this type of travel be something others would be interested in? The answer was a resounding yes and today Intrepid send 100,000 travellers across the globe each year with the help of a staff of 1,000.
After three decades, founders Darrell and Manch, feel they know what travellers want. They get that it’s a big decision to fly across the world to wander the souks of Marrakech or enjoy a dreamy Angkor sunrise. They understand that you’re looking for a balance of inclusions and free time, a mix of classic highlights and local secrets you won’t find on Google. And of course, an authentic real life experience. Their leaders are born and raised in-country and they know their destination better than anyone. So you’ll do more than just see a place, you’ll live it. Small groups, big adventures and responsible travel – that’s Intrepid’s thing. With 1,000 trips in a variety of styles across 100 countries, you’re sure to find something you like.
Intrepid believe the real magic happens well away from the beaten path. It’s the little noodle bars, hidden galleries and backstreet bodegas and real life experiences you won’t find in a search engine. Real life experiences are those moments you know you’re really alive and experiencing something special. While it could be the instant you see one of the world’s great icons for the first time, it is more likely to be the moment you find yourself in the middle of a village square soccer game, being treated to a home-cooked meal by your new local friends or sharing a laugh with your fellow travellers as you try a new mode of transport … camel anyone? These unexpected moments are what travelling with Intrepid is all about, giving you a trip like no other.
Intrepid realises the world is a really big place. And there’s a plethora of different languages to learn, borders to cross and cultures to negotiate. Small group adventure travel makes these things easy and allows you to maximise your precious time off. Instead of worrying about logistics, you can focus all your energy on having the experience of a lifetime. Their tour groups are small enough to feel like you’re exploring a destination independently, but big enough to create a good social vibe. Group size will vary depending on where and how you’re travelling, but the average group size is about 10.
Intrepid’s themed trips encompass all hobbies and interests or could pique an interest in a new hobby you never knew you needed. From foodie explorations across Asia or India, sailing the seas in Thailand or the Caribbean, wildlife encounters in the Serengeti or Antarctica, scenic cycling or walking to Base Camp or through Tibet, and epic expeditions in Burma or Russia, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Intrepid is committed to operating in a responsible manner, incorporating the principles of sustainable development in the way they provide travellers with real life experiences. These values are ingrained in the culture and daily operations of every Intrepid office and tour. In addition, they hope their travellers also demonstrate the principles of responsible travel - respecting people, cultures and local environments; in the distribution of wealth; in good will and cross-cultural sharing; and in contributing to sustainable development.