Meet up with your Contiki this morning then hit the road! 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.
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.
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. First up it's Nourlangie Rock with impressive rock art dating back thousands of years. Next we get the background on local indigenous culture at the Warradjan Cultural Centre before our included wildlife boat cruise takes us out to spot crocs & learn about the native birdlife in the area. There may be time to explore the “rock galleries” of Ubirr, where time-old paintings line the cave walls before we head back to the hotel for dinner.
Today, we head to Darwin via stunning Litchfield National Park. We stop by the termite mounds, a local natural curiosity, which are up to 4 metres high and are literally magnetic - your Trip Manager will fill you in on the details. Then we hit the famous falls that make up the park - four 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 head into Darwin for your last night with the group. Prepare for a big night dancing & partying the night away.
Today we head out on a Darwin City tour. You'll visit the East Point Military Reserve and Darwin Museum to find out about the history of the Northern Territory's capital. Later you have the chance to come face to face with a 5m crocodile. This is Australia's only crocodile dive where you are safely housed in a perspex cage while a crocodile lazes, swims and even feeds just inches away. Say goodbye to your new friends and Trip Manager this afternoon as your tour finishes.