Meet up with your fellow travellers and Contiki team before heading out to stunning Litchfield National Park. On the way, we stop by the termite mounds, a local natural curiosity. These mounds are up to 4 metres (13ft) high and are literally magnetic - your Tour 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. Head back to Darwin & get ready for a night out on the town.
Today, we hit the Darwin Museum and find out about the past of the Northern Territory's capital. Our included wildlife boat cruise takes us out to spot crocs & learn about the native birdlife in the area. Later, we travel to 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. We get the background on local indigenous culture at the Warradjan Cultural Centre before we explore the “rock galleries” of Ubirr, where time-old paintings line the cave walls. Depending on the season, you can watch the sun set over this stunning site before we head back to the hotel for dinner.
Kick start the day by cooling off in the swimming hole at Edith Falls, deep in the heart of the national park. In the afternoon, we arrive in riverside Katherine. There's an 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. Back in Katherine, your Tour Manager will organise an optional dinner tonight, so you can relax by the pool.
This morning, 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. 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. 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.
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. On the road, we stop by Ti Tree, an Aboriginal community, where there's a chance to pick up authentic artefacts, paintings and didgeridoos at the cute Aboriginal art gallery. We pull into Alice Springs, smack in the middle of Australia and in the middle of nowhere. This original outback town is where your tour ends, so take the time to say goodbye to your new friends & Tour Manager.