Days
9
Price from
€2,115EUR
Map of Northern Territory Encompassed Northbound including Australia

From the Red Centre to the tropical Top End, this is a classic Aussie adventure.

Meet two very different faces of Australia – the vast, dust-cloaked expanses of the Red Centre and lush wetlands of the Top End – on a one-week journey up through the guts of the Northern Territory. Kicking off the journey in Alice Springs, tread a trail between the striped rock domes of Kata Tjuta (finishing off with a 1,000 Star Dinner), catch an Uluru sunrise and enter a Garden of Eden in Kings Canyon (Watarrka National Park). Then fly north to Darwin and enjoy three days exploring the waterfalls of Kakadu, monsoon rainforests of Litchfield and wildlife-rich Mary River Wetlands.


Start
Alice Springs, Australia
Finish
Darwin, Australia
Destination
Northern Territory, Uluru, Outback, Kakadu
Style
Original
Theme
Explorer, Indigenous Culture, Overland
Code
POONC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 8
Group size
Min 1, Max 24

Why you'll love this trip

  • Get back to basics with this classic nine day overland adventure. Camp in permanent campsites with furnishings including proper beds, cooling fans and electricity.

  • Get up early and see the sun rise over Uluru

  • Fly from Alice Springs to Darwin instead of 24 hours on a bus

  • Enjoy fully catered evening meals during your 3 nights in Kakadu, Litchfield, and Katherine

  • A taste of Australian Native Foods throughout the trip.

  • See the highlights and national parks of Australia's Northern Territory in rugged, authentic style

  • Enjoy the flexibility of a private vehicle, the local knowledge of a passionate guide and the magic of camping under the great southern sky

  • The Mary River Wetlands feature a wealth of wildlife, including the highest concentration of saltwater crocodiles in the southern hemisphere. Get up close to the snappy beasts on a billabong cruise

  • Discover the wonders of Kakadu National Park

Is this trip right for you?

  • This is a an Original style trip, covering the highlights of Australia's Northern Territory at a slightly slower pace

  • You'll spend some nights of the trip sleeping in outback camping grounds. While tents are comfortable facilities can be basic, this is all part of the adventure. You'll also need to pitch in with preparing breakfast and lunch meals. This is part of the experience of travelling in a group.

  • This trip requires a moderate level of fitness as it involves a lot of walking, allowing you to truly enjoy the surrounding nature. Some hikes are longer and more challenging than others. Please bring sturdy, comfortable walking shoes and comfortable clothing.

  • Temperatures in the Top End be extreme. During the day the weather can be hot (and the Australian sun is strong) so please bring appropriate clothing, use sun protection and drink plenty of water. In the evenings temperatures really drop, so ensure you have base layers and warm clothing.

Itinerary

Melbourne might have the arts scene and Sydney the beaches, but Alice Springs is really where you need to go to understand Australia proper. Approximately 70% of the Australian continent is classed as arid or semi-arid – and little old Alice Springs sits right in the middle of it all. First stop for the day is a working outback camel farm, where you’ll have the chance to lope through the outback on a ‘ship of the desert’. Whereas Uluru emerges from the earth as one giant boulder form, Kata Tjuta pops up as 36 different domes – you’ll get to know the site pretty well on an afternoon hike following lunch. Enjoy a glass of champagne as you watch the Rock's colours change as the sun sets behind it, throwing magnificent colours into the sky. Then, as evening begins, it’s time to tuck into our famous 1,000 Star Dinner: an outdoor candlelit feast of delicious food and wines.

Notes: Total driving time is approximately five and a half hours. Total walking time is around an hour.
Accommodation
  • Permanent tented camp (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Uluru sunset drinks
  • 1000 Star Dinner
  • Uluru & Kata Tjuta National Park Entrance
Meals Included
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
It’s an early rise today but seeing Australia is what you came for, right? After watching a fiery outback sun rear up over the world’s biggest rock get a real sense of the rock’s scale on an unguided walk around its base. Then learn about the cultural significance of this iconic landform on a cultural interpretative walk with an indigenous guide. The on-site Cultural Centre also houses an extensive collection of indigenous arts and crafts for you to browse. Tonight we spend the night in an exclusive campsite in Watarrka National Park.

Note: Total driving time today is around three and a half hours. Total walking time is approximately two hours.
Accommodation
  • Permanent tented camp (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Uluru Cultural Centre
  • Uluru Base Walk
  • Maruku Arts interactive Indigenous experience
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
The centrepiece attraction of Watarrka is undoubtedly Kings Canyon; a humungous gorge enclosed by sheer rock walls hundreds of metres high. Offering a welcome escape from the dry desert heat, this site’s deep gullies and hidden rockpools provide shelter to more than 600 species of native plants and animals. Your guide will point these out on a guided trek that takes in the canyon’s most famous sites – the Lost City, Garden of Eden, Amphitheatre and North and South Walls. Then it’s lunch, rest, Then it’s lunch, rest, and off we head toward Glen Helen where we camp this evening.

Note: Total driving time takes around five hours. Total walking time is approximately three hours.

Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kings Canyon Rim Walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
This morning, watch the Australian wilds waking up on a morning drive out to the West MacDonnell Ranges. Reaching this national park, we’ll follow the Waterhole trail through Ormiston Pound to Ormiston Gorge – a tranquil little rock pool surrounded by ochre-coloured rock walls and white-trunked eucalypts. Black-footed rock wallabies often pop down here for a drink, so keep those peepers peeled. Next up is Ellery Creek, where there’s the chance to cool off with a dip. Following lunch, it’s on to Simpsons Gap. Known as Rungutjirpa to the Arrernte people, this deep gorge, often partly filled with water, is associated with goanna, eagle and rock wallaby dreamings. See the colours of the ranges change as the sun starts its descent, perhaps from atop a camel during an optional sunset ride. This evening check into your Alice Springs Motel.

The total driving time will be about three hours, and you will walk up to 10km.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Western MacDonnell Ranges
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
This is a combination trip, made up of two of our most popular trips. Some travellers will be leaving today and others heading on to Darwin in the morning where the makeup of your group and guide will change.
Today, skip the 1,500km of driving which is about 24 hours by road, and fly from Alice Springs to Darwin with Qantas (QF). Qantas is Australia's first commercial airline and is now recognised as one of the world’s best International airlines.
We'll arrange your air tickets and issue them a couple of weeks prior to your departure. On arrival in Darwin, please look for the Darwin City airport shuttle (green bus) to transfer you to The Cavenagh Hotel 12 Cavenagh St, Darwin.



Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Your Alice Springs transfer (operated by Alice Wanderer - green and yellow bus) will depart approx 2.5 hours prior to your scheduled flight time from your accommodation. In case of any issues or to check departure time please call 1800 1800 722 111 (free call) or +61 8 89522111


Flush with waterfalls, swimming holes and some pretty gigantic termite mounds, Litchfield National Park encapsulates all that’s wonderful about the Top End. We’ll start off here checking out Florence Falls and the Buley Rockholes, then break for a picnic before travelling on to Wangi Falls for a final swim and leisurely stroll through monsoon forest. Leaving Litchfield, it’s on and into Mary River National Park. The species of saltwater crocodile found in Australia are the biggest in the world, and the Mary River wetlands are absolutely full of them. See how many you can spot on an afternoon river cruise. All tents are twin-share and come with a proper bed.

Note: Total driving time today is around five-and-a-half hours. There are also a few short, easy walks.
Accommodation
  • Permanent, furnished tented camp (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Litchfield National Park
  • Mary River cruise
Meals Included
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
This morning's departure is at 0650am. Please be ready with your bags paked for an early start.
In giving Kakadu National Park World Heritage-listing, UNESCO described it as a ‘living cultural landscape with exceptional natural and cultural values’. Indigenous people have lived here for more than 50,000 years, to which the ancient rock paintings of Ubirr can attest. Your guide will explain the significance of these artworks during an interpretative cultural walk that finishes on a rocky escarpment overlooking the Nardab floodplain. In the afternoon we head to either Maguk (Barramundi Gorge) or Gunlom Falls (seasonal choice). Swimming spots don’t get a whole lot more inviting than either of these spectacular sites.

Note: Total driving time today is around five hours. Total walking time is up to three and- a-half hours, depending on the trails taken.
Accommodation
  • Permanent, furnished tented camp (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ubirr Rock
  • Kakadu National Park Fee
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Given that Kakadu covers approximately the same amount of land as Slovenia, the sky’s a pretty good place to see it all from. This morning you’ll have the option of taking a scenic flight over the billabongs, bushlands and floodplains that make up this ruggedly beautiful region. After a stop in at the Bowali visitors centre we head for the historic gold-mining town of Pine Creek which offers a very different side to Australian history. Back on the road again, there’s time for a dip in either Gunlom or Edith Falls before pulling into our private campsite near Nitmuluk National Park.

Note: Total driving time today is around five-and-a-half hours. Total walking time is up to an hour-and-a-half.

Accommodation
  • Permanent, furnished tented camp (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bowali Visitor Centre
  • Pine Creek Gold-Mining Centre
  • Maguk (Barramundi Gorge)
Optional Activities
  • Flight (Fixed Wing Aircraft) over - Kakadu - from - AUD150
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Back in the day (ok, it was 23 million years ago), the Katherine River flowed all the way from Arnhem Land to the Timor Sea. These days, the waters have subsided significantly: the Katherine River now flows along hemmed in on both sides by cliffs 70 metres high. It’s the highlight attraction of Nitmiluk National Park though, and you’ll have the opportunity to cruise through it by canoe or boat. Following lunch, we visit a private property next to an indigenous art gallery for some coaching in the ancient arts of boomerang throwing, fire making and traditional painting. Then it’s back to Darwin where the adventure winds up.

Note: Total driving time today is around four-and-a-half hours. Total walking time is up to three-and-a-half hours, depending on the group's choice of optional activities.
Included Activities
  • Edith Falls
Optional Activities
  • Katherine Gorge Scenic Cruise - AUD94
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch

Meals

6 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 6 dinners

Transport

All Terrain vehicle

Accommodation

Motel (2 nights), Permanent, furnished tented camp (with shared facilities) (6 nights)

Included activities

  • Uluru sunset drinks
  • 1000 Star Dinner
  • Uluru & Kata Tjuta National Park Entrance
  • Uluru Cultural Centre
  • Uluru Base Walk
  • Maruku Arts interactive Indigenous experience
  • Kings Canyon Rim Walk
  • Western MacDonnell Ranges
  • Litchfield National Park
  • Mary River cruise
  • Ubirr Rock
  • Kakadu National Park Fee
  • Bowali Visitor Centre
  • Pine Creek Gold-Mining Centre
  • Maguk (Barramundi Gorge)
  • Edith Falls

Dates & availability

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There are currently no scheduled departures on our Northern Territory Encompassed Northbound trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

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Important notes

1. Tour commences in Alice Springs on day 1 at 6am and finishes in Darwin day 9 at approx 6pm
2.You can also join this trip in Yulara (Uluru) on day 1; please see tour code POONCY.
3. Trip also runs in reverse; see tour code PKOSC

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.