Days
17
Price from
2102GBP
Map of Melbourne to Darwin Overland  including Australia

Take an epic road trip from coastline to Kata Tjuta, Uluru to Kakadu.

Thought you knew what an epic Aussie road trip was? Well, think again. Crank the tunes and leave the big cities in your dust on the ultimate 17-day Outback adventure between Melbourne and Darwin. Discover the beauty of the Great Ocean Road coastline, check out the quirky opal mining town of Coober Pedy, witness the majestic Uluru at sunrise, gain an insight into the significance of First Nations cave paintings, rock art and connection to the land in Kata Tjuta and Katherine, and see some seriously spectacular vistas at the Grampians, the Flinders Ranges and Kakadu. With plenty of time to appreciate the natural beauty and learn a little bit more about the Traditional Owners of the land, let Australia’s southern interior, Red Centre and Top End lead the way.


Start
Melbourne, Australia
Finish
Darwin, Australia
Destinations
Victoria, Great Ocean Road, South Australia, Outback, Northern Territory, Uluru, Kakadu
Style
Original
Theme
Explorer
Code
POMAD
Physical rating
Ages
Min 18
Group size
Min 1, Max 24

Why you'll love this trip

  • Travel along Australia’s most acclaimed stretch of coastline with a scenic drive on the Great Ocean Road. This is one trip where you definitely want to call shotgun on a window seat.

  • Take a one-night pitstop in Halls Gap to discover the rugged beauty of the Grampians National Park. Go hiking up to the Pinnacles lookout, and marvel at the stunning MacKenzie Falls.

  • Immerse yourself in First Nations cultures with experiences including witnessing cave paintings near Mutitjulu Waterhole at the base of Uluru and viewing Aboriginal rock art at Yourambulla Caves.

  • See the best of Australia’s iconic Red Centre on guided walks around Uluru, Kings Canyon and the ancient red domes of Kata Tjuta.

  • Learn about the ancient culture and traditions of The First Peoples of Australia during an interactive experience in Katherine, and discover the historic and natural wonders of Kakadu National Park.

Is this trip right for you?

  • This is a basic trip, covering the highlights of Australia's Great Ocean Road and Grampians, Flinders Ranges, and the Red Centre.

  • You'll spend some nights of the trip sleeping in outback camping grounds. While conditions can be basic and facilities are minimal, this is all part of the adventure. You'll also need to pitch in with preparing meals and cleaning. 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.

  • This trip is an Intrepid Basix style, and we often use mixed gender multishare accommodation. This means, the minimum age for the trip is 18 years old because minors aren't able to sleep in mixed gender rooms.

  • Temperatures in the Red Centre and Top End can 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.

  • On most days of the trip, you’ll spend several hours driving through very sparse areas of desert. Crank up the tunes and sit back to enjoy landscapes that you would miss in any other form of travel.

  • Group participation makes up a lot of this trip, so you'll be required to help with preparation of meals and cleaning up. These are the kind of tasks that bring a group closer together.

  • The Top End portion of your adventure has a strict luggage limit of 10 kg. Excess luggage cannot be carried; however, it can be stored at the Darwin accommodation.

Itinerary

Let’s get road tripping! Departing Melbourne, hit the road west to Geelong and the chilled-out surf town of Torquay. From there, begin the journey along one of Australia’s most beautiful and famous drives – the Great Ocean Road. This coast road at points is the only barrier between the lush forests of Victoria’s southwest and the cliffs down to the Bass Strait. Along the way, experience a guided walk through an ancient and rare temperate rainforest in the Otways, checking out the enormous trees that are native to the area. Stop for some koala spotting in Kennett River, then break for lunch in seaside Apollo Bay. In the afternoon, continue on to the Twelve Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge – these rocky landscapes braving the southern oceans are a sight to behold. Continue on your drive for another hour or so, spending the night in Warrnambool.
Accommodation
  • Motel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • 12 Apostles & London Bridge
  • Koala spotting - Great Ocean Road
  • Melba Gully Walk - Otway Ranges
  • Swim at Lorne (Summer months)
  • Loch Ard Gorge
Meals Included
  • Lunch
Special Information
The total driving time today is about 6.5 hours (approximately 450 km). The total walking time will be about 2 hours (approximately 2 km).
Begin the day checking out more of the Great Ocean Road's natural wonder on the Warrnambool foreshore, then take a drive into the Grampians National Park – an area full of rugged rock landscapes, scenic lookouts and rich in First Nations culture. During the day, you’ll visit the Brambuk Aboriginal Culture Centre to learn about an important period of this ancient culture known as the Dreaming, then hike up to the Pinnacles for impressive views across the Grampians. Keep an eye out for any native flora or wildlife that may pass you by as you walk. Tonight, head to Halls Gap for the evening, enjoying a traditional Aussie-style barbecue with your small group.
Accommodation
  • Motel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Brambuk Culture Centre
  • Mackenzie Falls - Grampians
  • Pinnacles Walk - Grampians
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
The total driving time today is about 6 hours (approximately 400 km). The total walking time will be about 4 hours (approximately 5 km).
This morning, hike to the base of MacKenzie Falls – the highest and arguably most impressive waterfalls in the Grampians – and check out other sites such as The Balconies and Reeds Lookout. Leaving the Grampians, pass through the town of Horsham and the enchanting Loch Lel – also known as the Pink Lake – before crossing the mighty Murray River and making your last leg of the journey into Adelaide. Most of the afternoon is taken up by the drive, but you’ll arrive in Adelaide around 7.30 pm, in time for late dinner with the group, if you’d like.
Included Activities
  • Reeds Lookout (The Balconies) & Boroka Lookout
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
The total driving time today is about 7.5 hours (approximately 550 km). The total walking time will be about 2.5 hours (approximately 3.5 km).
You’ll be picked up from the YHA Adelaide at 8.30 am and head to the culinary epicentre of Adelaide – the Central Market. Meander through the markets to collect some local produce to enjoy a little later in the day. Next, visit Australia’s Aboriginal Cultural Institute, Tandanya. The First Nations precinct provides a wonderful opportunity to experience both traditional and contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art. Leave South Australia’s capital behind and head north to the Clare Valley, home to some of the country’s best wines. Perhaps purchase a bottle (or two!) and pair it with your delicious lunch. After lunch, enjoy expansive views of the Flinders Ranges as you drive towards Wilpena Pound – a natural amphitheatre of rocky mountains. Experience the sunset at Wilpena Pound before settling into your accommodation for the night.
Included Activities
  • Wilpena Pound
Meals Included
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
As this is a combination trip, the travellers in your group and your group leader are likely to change today.

The total driving time today is approximately 6 hours. You’ll be picked up from the YHA Adelaide at 8.30 am, so please arrive at least ten minutes before.
It’s an early (but worthwhile) start this morning as you enjoy a short and leisurely walk along one of the many tracks in Flinders National Park. Spanning a massive 450 km, you won’t be able cover it all, but your guide will choose the best trail for your group, depending on the time of year. Travel to the site of the Yourambulla Caves where you’ll have the opportunity to view some local First Nation rock art before stopping for lunch at Quorn. Spend the afternoon enjoying a couple of walks:
Warren Gorge provides stunning ochre rock faces that complement the blue skies. Keep your eyes peeled for the very well camouflaged local rock wallabies. Tonight, you’ll stay in the quintessential South Australian town of Quorn.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
The total driving time today is approximately 3.5 hours.
Leave Quorn in the rear-view mirror and head to Coober Pedy, the ‘Opal capital of the world’. Due to extremely hot temperatures in the area most of the town is constructed underground, with residents living in homes carved into the hillsides. Upon arrival take a guided tour of the town, an underground house and the opal mine (with opal cutting demonstration). The rest of the afternoon is free to explore. You may even like to try your hand at 'noodling' (fossicking) for opals. End the day with some rescued joeys at Josephine’s Gallery and Kangaroo Orphanage. Tonight, stay in a multi-share underground bunkhouse in Coober Pedy.
Accommodation
  • Underground Multishare (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Anna Creek Station
  • Coober Pedy Mine tour
  • Josephine’s Gallery and Kangaroo Orphanage
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Total driving time today is approximately 6 hours.
We’ll be honest, there’s a fair bit of driving today. From Coober Pedy travel past the Dingo Fence and Breakaways Reserve, and into the Northern Territory. Be prepared to ‘hold-on’ as your guide hits the indictor on the vehicle for the first time, leaving the Stuart Highway and turning left onto the Lassetter Highway towards Uluru. Make sure you have your Ipod fully charged and your neck cushion handy!
Accommodation
  • Permanent tented camp (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Dingo Fence
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Today driving time will be about 8 hours.
Rise early this morning and be rewarded with a glorious Uluru sunrise. While the day is still fresh, enjoy a walk around the base of this incredible sandstone formation, which is of great spiritual significance to the Anangu people. Walk to the cave paintings near Mutitjulu Waterhole at the base of Uluru where you will be in the hands of an Anangu guide who will share the stories of this unique landscape. This exclusive experience will give you an insight to the meaning behind Anangu art and traditional culture. The on-site Cultural Centre also houses an extensive collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and crafts for you to browse. Head back to camp for lunch.
Accommodation
  • Permanent tented camp (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Uluru & Kata Tjuta National Park Entrance
  • Uluru Base Walk
  • Uluru Cultural Centre
  • Kata Tjuta
  • Maruku Arts cultural experience
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
There isn't much driving today, about an hour in total between destinations. You will walk approximately 5 km.
Today, explore one of the Red Centre's greatest treasures, Kata Tjuta, a group of domed red rocks rising spectacularly out of the desert. Like Uluru, they’re sacred to the Anangu people and are believed to be 500 million years old. Return to camp for lunch before travelling to Watarrka National Park (Kings Canyon). Spend the night in an exclusive campsite inside the park.
Accommodation
  • Permanent tented camp (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Watarrka National Park Entry Fees
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Driving time is about 6 hours today, and you will walk approximately 2 km.
With its 300-metre high sandstone walls, hidden waterholes, fern forests, chasms, canyons and caverns, Watarrka National Park is central Australia’s answer to an oasis. The highlight attractions here are the Garden of Eden, the Amphitheatre and the Lost City – all sites you’ll get to visit on the Rim Walk. Following lunch, it’s back on the road for the onward drive to Alice Springs.
Included Activities
  • Kings Canyon Rim Walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
Driving time today is approximately 5 hours back to Alice Springs.

The Kings Canyon Rim Walk is approximately 6 km. It is a requirement that you have a minimum of 3 litres of water with you. Please consider bringing your own refillable water bottles.
Today is free for you to do as you wish in and around Alice Springs. You may have bid some of your travel crew farewell last night, so now it’s time for you to make your own fun! There’s a heap to see and do in Alice Springs town, including checking out what’s on display at the Araulean Cultural Precinct, visiting the Reptile Centre or walking up ANZAC Hill to see a stunning sunset over the city. A little bit further out, hire a bike and take a ride out to Simpsons Gap – a gorge between the towering cliffs of the West MacDonnell Ranges. Otherwise, you could get active and head on a steep hike up to the top of Mt Gillen for some epic views over the arid countryside.
Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This morning, be ready for a pickup from the Alice Wanderer shuttle transfers to head to the airport for your flight bound for Darwin (flight time approximately 2 hours), skipping the 1500 km and almost 24 hours if you went by road! Once arrived, catch the Darwin Airport shuttle service to your hotel where you’ll spend the afternoon and evening, before setting off on your Top End adventure early tomorrow morning.
Accommodation
  • Permanent tented camp (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Your Alice Springs transfer (operated by Alice Wanderer – green and yellow bus) will depart approximately 2.5 hours prior to your scheduled flight time from your accommodation. Please check your flight details with your booking agent, as well as your group leader in Alice Springs. In case of any issues or to check departure time please call 1800 722 111 (free call) or +61 8 89522111. On arrival in Darwin, please look for the Darwin City airport shuttle (green bus) to transfer you to The Cavenagh at 12 Cavenagh St, Darwin. In case of any issues, please call: +61 8 8947 3979.
Today is as clear as the blue skies in the Northern Territory for you to choose your own adventure. With the whole day at your leisure in Darwin, you might like to take a swim at the recreational lagoon or wave pool in the Waterfront Precinct, check out the varied range of native and tropical flora at the Darwin Botanic Gardens, discover more about the region at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, or have a walk along Mindil Beach and catch an incredible Top End sunset over the ocean. The best thing is, you’ve got the power to decide! Keep in mind that you’ll have an early start tomorrow, so feel free to chill out with a good book today.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Your adventure continues nice and early in the tropical city of Darwin. Set off and head south to Lichfield National Park, a huge sandstone plateau with dozens of waterfalls. Explore Florence Falls, Wangi Falls and the Buley Rockholes. After a picnic lunch, stroll through steamy rainforests and cool off with a dip in one of Litchfield's picturesque swimming holes. Enjoy some relaxed time at the campsite and a meal before climbing into bed at the secluded Mary River campsite.
Accommodation
  • Permanent tented camp (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Litchfield National Park
Meals Included
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Total driving time: approximately 5.5 hours (approximately 400 km)
Total walking time: approximately 45 minutes

Please note that all tents are twin-share and come with a proper bed.
After breakfast this morning, head to onto the water on a wildlife cruise in the Mary River Wetlands, a network of waterways home to crocodiles and native bird species. Kakadu National Park and discover ancient Aboriginal rock art in Ubirr. Your guide will lead an interpretive cultural walk through the numerous rock galleries, before you climb to the top of a lookout for views over the Nardab floodplain. Tonight, relax by the pool at the Kakadu campground and enjoy a group dinner.
Accommodation
  • Permanent tented camp (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ubirr Rock
  • Kakadu National Park Fee
  • Mary River cruise
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Total driving time: approximately 6.5 hours (approximately 550 km)
Total walking time: approximately 2 hours
This morning you have the option to take a scenic flight over Kakadu (at your own expense). The flight takes in views over the Arnhem Land escarpment, vast flood plains and billabongs. Later spend time exploring Kakadu’s other major Aboriginal rock art site – Nourlangie (Burrunggui), while your guide provides a glimpse into how the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people live. After lunch head south and stop to visit the historic gold-mining centre of Pine Creek. Stop for a quick dip at Maguk or Gunlom Falls, before continuing on to Katherine, where you'll settle in for the night at a private campsite near Nitmiluk National Park (Katherine Gorge).
Accommodation
  • Permanent 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
Special Information
Total driving time: approximately 5.5 hours (approximately 400 km)
Total walking time: approximately 1 hour
Depending on the season, head out on a morning cruise along the inky waters of Katherine Gorge, or canoe between red rock walls that are up to 70 metres high (both of these activities are optional and at your own expense). This 23 million-year-old landscape was formed by the Katherine River, which flows from Arnhem Land out to the Timor Sea. After lunch we head to the beautiful Edith falls for one last refreshing swim in the huge plunge pool before we hit the road back to Darwin, where your adventure comes to an end on arrival.
Included Activities
  • Edith Falls
  • Top Didj Indigenous Experience
Optional Activities
  • Katherine Gorge Scenic Cruise - AUD95
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
Total driving time: approximately 5 hours (approximately 400 km)
Total walking time: approximately 1 hour

Meals

12 breakfasts, 14 lunches, 12 dinners

Transport

private bus, Plane, All Terrain vehicle

Accommodation

Camping (with shared facilities) (9 nights), Dormitory (5 nights), Underground bunkhouse (1 night).

Included activities

  • 12 Apostles & London Bridge
  • Koala spotting - Great Ocean Road
  • Melba Gully Walk - Otway Ranges
  • Swim at Lorne (Summer months)
  • Loch Ard Gorge
  • Brambuk Culture Centre
  • Mackenzie Falls - Grampians
  • Pinnacles Walk - Grampians
  • Reeds Lookout (The Balconies) & Boroka Lookout
  • Wilpena Pound
  • Anna Creek Station
  • Coober Pedy Mine tour
  • Josephine’s Gallery and Kangaroo Orphanage
  • Dingo Fence
  • Uluru & Kata Tjuta National Park Entrance
  • Uluru Base Walk
  • Uluru Cultural Centre
  • Kata Tjuta
  • Maruku Arts cultural experience
  • Watarrka National Park Entry Fees
  • Kings Canyon Rim Walk
  • Litchfield National Park
  • Ubirr Rock
  • Kakadu National Park Fee
  • Mary River cruise
  • Bowali Visitor Centre
  • Pine Creek Gold-Mining Centre
  • Maguk (Barramundi Gorge)
  • Edith Falls
  • Top Didj Indigenous Experience

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Important notes

1. This trip requires a sleeping bag
2. For the Kings Canyon Rim Walk it is a requirement that you have a minimum of 3 litres of water with you. Please consider bringing your own refillable water bottles.
3.The Top End & Kakadu portion of this trip has a strict luggage limit of 10 kg. Excess luggage can not be carried however, it can be stored at Darwin accommodation.
4. Tour commences in Melbourne on Day 1 at 7 am and finishes in Darwin on the last day at approximately 6 pm. Onward travel should be booked the following day (or late that night)

Essential trip information

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