Meet your Contiki crew and go on a tour of the Outback's unofficial capital, 'The Alice', famous for its remote location, its Aussie characters & its reputation as the national hub for Aboriginal art. Visit ANZAC Hill lookout, Alice Springs Reptile Center, the important Aboriginal cultural site of Simpson's Gap & West MacDonnell National Park. You'll also get to see Alice Springs Telegraph Station. We kick off the afternoon with a hand on expereince at the Alice Springs Reptile Center where you hear about some of Australia's the unique Outback reptiles, and if your brave enough, hold a python. Tonight you'll get to know your fellow travellers over dinner
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.
Get above it all in an optional hot air balloon ride over the red MacDonnell Ranges at dawn this morning. Enjoy a bird's eye view over these stunning, massive rock formations. 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. 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. 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.
This morning, our included boat cruise takes us out to spot some crocs & native birdlife Then we head to Darwin! Cruise around the city on a sightseeing tour before we hit the Darwin Museum and find out about the unlucky past of the Northern Territory's capital. This afternoon enjoy some free time to explore Darwin, where you could jump on a relaxing harbour cruise.
Today, we head to 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 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. This evening, we head back to the hotel where your tour ends. Say goodbye to your new friends and Tour Manager in Darwin where we maybe try lucking out at the casino or go dancing & party the night away.