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.
As we leave the site of Australia's last gold rush, we're on to Karlu Karlu (the Devils Marbles). This afternoon we arrive in Alice Springs for a visit to the Alice Springs Reptile Centre where you hear about some of Australia's the unique outback reptiles, and if you're brave enough, hold a python!
Jump start the day by learning about surviving in the bush with our included Aboriginal 'Bushtucker' tour. Our expert Aboriginal Guide will fill you in on the dos and don'ts of life in the bush, and you'll even get to taste insects and plants if you're adventurous. Next up, Kings Creek Station. This working camel & cattle station serves up a real outback experience. Tonight, 'go bush' and sleep under the open sky at our overnight bush camp where you'll see the desert sky light up with thousands of stars.
Today we make tracks to Ulu?u! We drive by ancient (700 million years old!) Mt. Connor for 360° views over the red desert and take a walk through Ulu?u's neighbour - Kata Tju?a, or 'The Olgas' - before arriving at Yulara Resort. This environmentally designed resort is all about the outback and has a pool for you to cool off in after the drive.
Start off the morning nice and early and watch the sun rise over this iconic natural wonder from the viewing area. Get familiar with Ulu?u when your Tour Manager takes you around its base and gives you the background of the spiritual significance of this site for Aboriginal people. For something different, choose an optional Harley Davidson ride or scenic flight. Tonight, catch the sun set over the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Ulu?u (Ayers Rock), and grab some nibbles and bubbly to toast this amazing view.
It's an easy-going start to the day today. Your Tour Manager will cook up a storm for breakfast, so load up on bacon & eggs! We swing by a traditional Australian roadhouse, and then pull back into Alice Springs. Tonight, join the group for an optional dinner at the Overlander Steakhouse, where you can try out kangaroo, crocodile, camel & steak while listening to Aussie folk songs.
Start your last day on tour with an unforgettable experience. Get above it all in an optional hot air balloon ride over the red MacDonnell Ranges at dawn. Enjoy a bird's eye view over these stunning, massive rock formations. Our tour ends after breakfast and it's time to say goodbye to your new friends and Contiki crew.