Fly over the international date line on your way to Australia.
Check into the Ibis Styles Alice Springs Oasis Hotel & spend the rest of the afternoon exploring Alice Springs.
Meet up with your Contiki this morning then hit 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.eek.
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. Our included boat cruise takes us out onto Yellow Water, a lush inland lagoon. You’ll see some rock art, birdlife and even learn about the Aboriginal history of the area. 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.
Today, we head to stunning Litchfield National Park on our way to Darwin. 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 - 4 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 make our way to Darwin where we maybe try lucking out at the casino or go dancing & party the night away.
Today we crusie around Darwin on a city 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 ot explore Darwin, where you could jump on a relaxing Harbour cruise or if you feel the need for speed, perhaps a Jet Boat ride. Later this evening, we head back to the hotel where your tour ends. Say goodbye to your new friends and Tour Manager.