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12 Day Top End and Red Centre Tour


Day 1 (L,D)

You will be collected from your Darwin accommodation at 7.30am for your private 12 day tour through the Top End and Red Centre.

Today is spent swimming and exploring beautiful Litchfield National Park.

Florance Falls in LitchfieldWe view the amazing magnetic and cathedral termite mounds and have a swim at Wangi Falls, Florence Falls and Buley Rockholes, which are a series of small waterfalls that are a great place to sit and relax. There is also a lovely hike along the riverbank from Florence Falls to Buley Rockholes.

Late this afternoon, we depart Litchfield and make our way to this evenings accommodation at Mt Bundy Station. The station has an interesting history and is set in a picturesque bush setting.

There should be time this evening for a walk around the station, a swim in the pool or you can visit the station animals.

Overnight accommodation- Mt Bundy Station. A range of accommodation options are available.

Day 2 (B,L)

Today we make our way into World Heritage Listed Kakadu National Park. Kakadu is the largest National Park in Australia, has some of the worlds finest rock art and a variety of habitats, including floodplains and savannah woodlands.

En-route, we pass through the wetlands region and have a look at Fogg DamEstuarine Crocodile (saltie) Conservation Reserve. These wetlands have international significance because of their beauty and natural ecosystems. A great variety of fauna can be found here throughout the year as well as a huge variety of bird life.

At 11a,. you'll join a Jumping Crocodile Cruise on the Adelaide River. Watch these amazing creatures leap up for a feed, from the safety of your boat. It's quite a sight !

After lunch, we'll continue into Kakadu and our first stop within the park is Ubirr, where we walk through galleries of ancient Aboriginal rock art, which your guide will interpret. Also learn about bush tuckers and bush medicines before reaching the top of the plateau, where you can relax and enjoy the spectacular view over the floodplain and the Arnhemland escarpment.

Overnight accommodation- in Jabiru (Northern Kakadu). A variety of options are available

Day 3 (B,L)

Rock art at Nourlangie RockAfter breakfast we make our way to Nourlangie Rock, an ancient Aboriginal shelter, where we explore the area and the rock art. Your guide will lead you on an interpretive walk around the site, followed by Nawalandja Lookout and the beautiful Anbangbang Billabong. The short hike to the lookout is rewarded by a magnificent view over the Arnhemland escarpment.

After lunch we'll drive to Maguk (Barramundi Gorge and falls). Termite mounds are abundant along the dirt road that takes us to the car park and from there, we take a walk through a paperbark forest to reach the gorge. Once we reach the gorge and waterfall, we can have a refreshing swim in the plungepool.

Overnight accommodation- Cooinda Lodge in Central Kakadu

Day 4 (B,L)

An early start this morning (but well worth it !) on the 6.45am sunrise Yellow Waters cruise. Yellow Water Billabong is located at the end of Jim Jim Creek, a tributary of the South Alligator River. This is the largest river Jabiru at Yellow Waters Billabongsystem in Kakadu and contains extensive wetlands, including river channels, floodplains and backwater swamps. About one third of Australia's bird species are represented in Kakadu, with at least 60 species found in these wetlands. There are also plenty of crocodiles in their natural habitat and buffalo on the floodplain.

After the cruise, we go back to the lodge for breakfast, check out and then we drive to Gunlom (Waterfall Creek) in the very south of the park. Gunlom is accessed along a scenic dirt road and once we reach the falls, we can have a swim in the large plunge pool at the base of the falls. There is also an optional hike to the top of the falls, where pristine rockpools and a fantastic view await you.

Departing Kakadu by the southern entrance, we now drive to tonights accommodation in Pine Creek

Overnight accommodation-  Motel or cabin in Pine Creek

Day 5 (B,L)

Today we drive south, towards the township of Katherine. En-route we call into Leilyn (Edit Falls), part of Nitmiluk National Park and well Hands on Aboriginal culture tourknown for it's picturesque waterfalls and pools. Here we can have a swim at the large pool at the base of the falls.

We reach Katherine and visit the Top Didj Art Gallery for a hands on cultural experience. Activities on offer include sitting down with resident artist, Manual, who will tell you tales of tribal life, language, the hunting and gathering techniques, ceremony, weapons used and Aboriginal contemporary life. Experience your own Raark painting with Manual and you will also have an opportunity to participate in one of the traditional hunting activities (firelighting, spear throwing etc.).

This evening, you have a choice of accommodation options - fixed safari tents or cabins at Nitmiluk Gorge or motel rooms in Katherine township.

Day 6 (B,L)

We start today at Nitmiluk Gorge (Katherine Gorge), home to 13 spectacular gorges,Nitmiluk Gorge by Charles Carmichael carved out of the rock rock by torrential summer rains,  over millions of years. Here, we cruise for 2 hours, viewing the beautiful scenery and discovering the customs of the traditional owners, the Jawoyn people.

Departing Katherine, we head south to Tennant Creek, the hub of the sprawling Barkley Tablelands, an area of open grass plains and home to some of the worlds largest cattle stations, which run east from Tennant Creek to the Queensland border and west into the Tanami Desert.

Overnight accommodation- motel rooms with en-suites, in Tennant Creek

Day 7 (B,L)

Our first stop today is the Devil's Marbles Conservation Reserve (Karlu Karlu), for some great photo opportunities. The Devi's Marbles are approximately 1 hour south of Tennant Creek and are a collection of gigantic rounded boulders, many of which are precariously balanced on top of one another. Scattered heaps of these "marbles" occur across a wide, shallow valley.

We continue to Alice Springs, the heart of the Red Centre and you'll have some free time this afternoon to look around the town, while your driver guide restocks supplies and refuels. Among Alice Springs many attractions is the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the Reptile Centre.

Overnight accommodation- your choice of accommodation in Alice Springs

Day 8 (B,L)

This morning we re-join the Stuart Highway and begin our drive south to the Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park. The park is world heritage listed for the importance of it's natural phenomena and it's cultural significance.

Kata Tjuta (The Olga's)

Turning off onto the Lassiter Highway, we stop to view Mt Connor (Artila), which is situated on Curtin Springs cattle station and is a 244m high  mesa, or isolated table-top mountain.

We reach Yulara, check into our accommodation and then depart for Kata Tjuta meaning "many heads". The enormous domes, 36 in total, rose out of the sand and weathered over millions of years, they are now rounded peaks. The tallest, Mt Olga, is higher than Uluru !

The Walpa Gorge walk is a rocky track that gently rises to stream, passing rare plants and ending at a grove of spearwood. Walk within the sheer walls and experience this amazing landscape.

This evening we'll have our first opportunity to view the world famous Uluru sunset. Enjoy champagne and nibbles as you watch the remarkable changing colours of Uluru as the sun sets over the desert landscape. Reflections from the rock and clouds in the sky, enhance the vivid colours.

Overnight accommodation –your choice of accommodation at the Ayers Rock Resort (2 night stay)

Day 9 (B,L) 

After breakfast we make our way out to Uluru, where you'll take a guided walk around the base (9km or part thereof) which includes the Mala walk and Mutitjulu waterhole, home of a wanampi, an ancestral watersnake.

Uluru

After your walk, we visit the cultural centre, which will introduce you to the foundation of the Anangu, the Tjukurpa, the traditional law that guides Anangu daily life.

This afternoon there is a range of optional activities for you to enjoy or simply relax at your accommodation. Activities that incur an extra charge include helicopter flights, camel rides, Harley Rides and Aboriginal cultural tours. There are also free activities offered by the resort, which vary daily.

This evening, we have another opportunity to see the Uluru sunset or you may like to take  the Sounds of Silence dinner experience.

Overnight accommodation – Ayers Rock Resort

Day 10 (B,L) 

This morning we have a leisurely start and head north on the Luritja road towards Kings Canyon. Black footed rock wallaby

The rest of this afternoon is free for you to relax or take an optional tour such as a helicopter flight. Or you may like to take a walk to the lookout for sunset (if we stay at Kings Canyon Resort)

Overnight accommodation – fixed safari tents at Kings Creek Station or en-suite motel room at Kings Canyon Resort

 

Day 11 (B,L)

This morning we travel to Watarrka National Park (Kings Canyon). The sheer red rock face of Kings Canyon soars over 100 metres above dense forests of palms, ferns and cycads, sheltering them from the surrounding desert conditions. The rim walk takes in magnificent views of the Canyon rim, the weathered, buttressed domes of "The Lost City" and the "Garden of Eden"- a sheltered valley with permanent waterholes and lush vegetation. An alternative option is the shorter and easier Kings Creek walk, leading into the centre of the Canyon OR the Southern Rim Return Walk which takes you along part of the Rim Walk.

After Kings Canyon, we join the unsealed Mereenie Loop road to the Western MCdonnell Ranges. The trip along this road is an adventure in itself and is a lovely drive through some beautiful desert country. Keep your eye out for wildlife too.

We check into our accommodation at Glen Helen Wilderness Resort and then you have the option of taking a short walk down to Glen Helen Gorge for a swim.

Overnight accommodation –Glen Helen Wilderness Resort in motel rooms with en-suites

Day 12 (B,L)

Today we explore the magnificent Tjoritja (West McDonnell Ranges), including Ormiston Gorge, Ellery Creek Bighole, Standley Chasm and Simpsons Gap.

Ormiston Gorge showcases the spectacular geology and landforms of the MacDonnell Ranges. The gorge has a near permanent waterhole, estimated to be up to 14 metres deep at it's southern end. We can have a swim here or take the 40 minute return Ghost Gum Lookout walk.Standley Chasm

Ellery Creek Bighole is a spectacular waterhole in the mighty Ellery Creek, which cuts through a gorge in the ranges. Thousands of years of massive floods have carved out this beautiful waterhole and unlocked some amazing geology. It's also a great place for a swim!

Aboriginal owned Angkerle (Standley Chasm) had been gouged from tough sandstone by the floods that, over untold millions of years, have surged down a narrow tributary of the Finke River system. The result is a deep red cleft, with slopes on either side rising 80 metres above the floor that are most dramatic in the early afternoon, when the chasm is drenched in a shower of brilliant red light, the sheer walls glowing from the reflected sunlight.

Our final stop is Simpsons Gap, one of the most prominent waterholes in the region and home to the Black-footed Rock wallaby. The area around Simpsons Gap is a major stronghold for some of the rare and relict plants of the region , large stands of Mulga and ghost gums.

We return to Alice Springs at approximately 5.30pm and you will be dropped off at your accommodation.

END ITINERARY

B = Breakfast / L = Lunch / D = Dinner

**this tour can be reversed to start in Alice Springs and finish in Darwin. Extra activities and days can be added, to suit you **

This tour is only operated as a private charter (sole use of vehicle and driver guide), and is valid for travel year-round - please enquire for prices and further details.

The above itinerary is only a guide to what we can offer.

Inclusions:

Kings Canyon. Photo courtesy of Robert Thompson

• Sole use of 4WD tour vehicle with professional driver guide
• Meals as stated

• Accommodation

Uluru / Kata Tjuta and Kakadu National Park entry tickets

Yellow Waters cruise

Jumping Crocodile cruise

Nitmiluk Gorge (Katherine Gorge) cruise

• Mereenie Loop Pass

• Standley Chasm Entry Fee

Exclusions:

• Post tour accommodation in Alice Springs
• Travel insurance

Arrival / departure flights

• Alcohol of soft drinks

• Optional activities such as helicopter flights, Harley rides, camel rides and Sounds of silence dinner experience