Embark on an adventure from Darwin to Alice Springs, including Arnhem Land and sacred Uluru, on this nine-day tour. This classic road trip-style overland adventure proves the best way to experience this rugged land is by going back to basics – complete with nights spent under starry skies, cooling off in natural rock pools and waking to the layered calls of rainbow bee-eaters and spangled drongo birds. Find the essence of this ancient country in its most remote areas, among the people who have called it home for tens of thousands of years.
- Start your journey right with a Cul Cul (Welcome to Country) from your Limilngan-Wulna hosts, a gracious ceremony from the Traditional Owners of the land you begin your adventure on.
- Watch as the sacred monolith of Uluru changes colour during an unforgettable sunrise and discover why so many are captivated by this striking island mountain.
- See rock art that was sketched over 50,000 years ago in Mawurndaddja and learn about the site’s spiritual significance and archaeological research from a local guide.
- Hike through the otherworldly Valley of the Winds for spectacular views of Kata-Tjuta, the towering domes that form something akin to a forest of rounded rocks.
- Get closer to nature with a few nights in a swag, a simple one-person tent that allows you to feel the breeze and admire the stars as you fall asleep.
- Guluyambi Cultural Cruise
- Mawurndaddja rock art and occupation complex
- Jim Jim Falls Walk
- Maguk (Barramundi Gorge)
- Edith Falls
- Uluru Base Walk
- Uluru sunset drinks
- Uluru Cultural Centre
- Valley of the Winds walk
- Kings Canyon Rim Walk
- Camping (with shared facilities) (1 night), Permanent tented camp (with shared facilities) (2 nights), Permanent, furnished tented camp (with shared facilities) (3 nights) multishare hostel (with shared facilities) (2 nights)
- All Terrain vehicle , Private vehicle , flight
- Alice Springs
- Kata Tjuta
Day 1 Darwin – Arnhem Land
Welcome to Darwin, the Northern Territory’s tropical capital. There’s no time to waste, so get cracking at 6.50 am and hit the road to Wulna Country, where your Limilngan-Wulna hosts – the land’s Traditional Owners – will greet you with a Cul Cul or ‘Welcome to Country’. Learn about their culture during bush tucker talks and didgeridoo and basket weaving demonstrations. Continue to the border of Kakadu and Arnhem Land for a Guluyumbi cruise along the East Alligator River with a Bininj guide. Learn about the cultural importance of the East Alligator River to the Bininj people and take in the tranquillity and rugged beauty. Back on land, jump in a private vehicle and drive to Arnhem Land’s Mawurndaddja. This sacred complex (only recently opened to visitors) has a spectacular series of rock art that research indicates is over 50,000 years old. Spend the afternoon exploring this atmospheric site and learning about its history from your guide. Head to Kakadu for an overnight stay.
Day 2 Kakadu National Park
After fuelling up with an early breakfast, head to Jim Jim Falls, Kakadu's most iconic natural attraction. Take a challenging walk through monsoon forest and over boulders, then recharge with a cooling dip in the clear waters beneath the falls. After lunch head to Anbangbang, another incredible site that features ancient art on what was originally Warramal land. Sadly, there are no surviving Warramal people, so the care of the site is maintained by the neighbouring Mirarr and Djok communities. This afternoon, you have the option of taking a scenic flight over Kakadu or visiting the Bowli Cultural Centre.
Day 3 Kakadu National Park
After breakfast, head to either Gunlom Falls or Maguk (Barramundi Gorge) for a swim in another pristine waterhole. Maguk flows down the steep walls of rugged gorge into a beautiful natural plunge pool, while the steep climb to the Gunlom Falls plunge pool is rewarded with sweeping views of Kakadu and the welcome shade of gum trees. Neither option will disappoint. After a relaxing morning, it’s time to hit the road. Stop in the old gold-mining town of Pine Creek for lunch before continuing for another 3 hours to your private campsite on the doorstep of Nitmiluk National Park. Once comfortable, have dinner with the group before settling in under the stars for the night.
Day 4 Nitmiluk National Park – Litchfield National Park
Spend the day exploring the deep Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge and greater Nitmiluk National Park, a wonderland of colours, ancient rock art, waterfalls and wildlife. While here, you can explore on foot or choose to take a cruise or rental a kayak to get a closer look. Keep in mind that these optional activities are seasonal and at your own expense. In the afternoon, travel to Edith Falls, a hidden oasis of clear, cool waters surrounded by bronze boulders. After a quick swim in the huge rock pools, continue to tonight’s camp located at the edge of Litchfield National Park, where dinner awaits.
Day 5 Litchfield National Park – Darwin
A bit of a local secret, Litchfield is awash with tropical rainforest, gorgeous waterfalls and crystal-clear waterholes. Visit Florence Falls, Wangi Falls or Bluey Rockholes, then tuck into a picnic lunch. Enjoy a stroll through the steamy rainforests and refreshing dip in one of the park’s gorgeous swimming holes. In the afternoon, make the 2-hour drive back to Darwin.
Day 6 Darwin – Alice Springs
Today, skip 1500 kilometres of driving (which would take about 24 hours) and fly from Darwin to Alice Springs. Transfer from your accommodation to the airport. On arrival in Alice Springs please look for your transfer vehicle, a green and yellow bus operated by Alice Wanderer) to transfer you to your hotel. The rest of the day is free to explore ‘Alice’, your gateway to the Red Centre.
Day 7 Uluru
Hit the road for Australia’s legendary Outback. Stop at an Outback roadhouse for an optional breakfast (at your own expense), then it’s back on the road for the drive to Yulara, stopping off along the way for views of Mt Connor and various salt lakes. After lunch, jump back in the vehicle and travel into Uluru National Park. Grab a coffee and check out the Cultural Centre, then walk over to the main attraction – Uluru. Depending on how active you’re feeling, you can choose to do an optional ten-kilometre walk around the base of Uluru. No two angles of the sacred monolith are the same and its sheer size will leave you gobsmacked. If you'd rather do a shorter walk, follow the ‘Mala Walk’ signs for a stroll to the Mutitjulu Waterhole. In the evening, watch a spectacular Uluru sunset while enjoying some tasty snacks. Once the sun has gone down, drive to tonight’s campsite for a hot shower and hearty dinner. Roll out your swag (Aussie bedroll) and get comfortable under the stars.
Day 8 Uluru Sunrise – Valley of the Winds
Rise early for an included breakfast and memorable Uluru sunrise. Next head to Kata-Tjuta (The Olgas) for a guided six-kilometre walk through the legendary Valley of the Winds. The walk can be challenging, but you’re rewarded with a spectacular perspective on mind-blowing rock formations. Return to camp for lunch. In the afternoon, drive to a remote bush camp in Watarrka National Park (Kings Canyon) and freshen up with a hot shower. Tonight’s dinner will be an authentic Outback barbecue.
Day 9 Kings Canyon Rim Walk – Alice Springs
After breakfast, drive to Kings Canyon for a guided six-kilometre hike along the Canyon Rim. This varied landscape of chasms, canyons and cliffs is one of the most spectacular and surprising in the Outback. Enter a natural amphitheatre, discover the Lost City, cool off under the shade of the Garden of Eden’s leafy palm trees and admire panoramic views from the North and South Walls. After lunch, make tracks back to Alice Springs with a few leg-stretches on the way, before pulling into Alice in the early evening.
Touring with Intrepid Travel
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.