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Settle into the comforts of The Ghan, relax in your cabin or mingle with fellow travellers in the Outback Explorer Lounge. Enjoy lunch ahead of your Off Train Excursion in Katherine. In a region renowned for jaw-dropping natural assets, Katherine boasts one of the Top End’s best – the incredible Nitmiluk Gorge.
OVERNIGHT: 1 night The Ghan (L,D)
Your arrival into Alice Springs provides you with a full day to explore the iconic town in the red heart of Australia on one of your included off train excursions. After returning with the group to the train station, you farewell your fellow travellers and will be transferred to your hotel at 4pm. This evening is free to relax and ready yourself for your adventure tomorrow.
OVERNIGHT: Crowne Plaza Alice Springs Lasseters (B)
Enjoy an early breakfast before you travel from Alice Springs to Uluṟu (Ayers Rock) aboard a luxury coach. Take in the rugged desert landscapes of the region, passing through the beautiful MacDonnell Ranges. While travelling through this remote country, your friendly Driver/Guide will provide an informative and entertaining commentary. Learn the natural and geological history of the region, as well as the unique Australian desert flora and fauna such as the Perentie monitor lizard, the thorny devil and the red kangaroo. Also hear about the traditional customs and beliefs of the local Aboriginals. There is time for a stop at a local Roadhouse for a quick break then view flat-topped Attila (Mt. Conner) in the distance before arriving at Ayers Rock Resort rested, relaxed and ready to explore the amazing World Heritage-listed Uluṟu – Kata Tjuṯa National Park.
This afternoon enjoy a leisurely drive out to Kata Tjuṯa (the Olgas) for one of our favourite sunset experiences in Central Australia. Along the way your Driver Guide will explain the geological and cultural history of the area. Marvel at the unique flora and admire the view of the central valley of the domes of Kata Tjuṯa while you take in a magnificent outback sunset with gourmet canapés and Australian wine.
OVERNIGHT: 4 nights Sails in the Desert, Ayers Rock (B)
A very early rise this morning to travel to the Uluṟu sunrise viewing area. Watch the first rays of the sun set the Red Centre alight while enjoying a warming cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate. After sunrise travel to the mystical domes of Kata Tjuṯa. On the way enjoy panoramic views of the southern side of Kata Tjuṯa before arriving at Walpa Gorge to take a walk that follows the natural creek-bed between two of the main domes.
This evening dine under a million stars at the award winning Sounds of Silence dinner. Enjoy a gourmet buffet of Australian delicacies accompanied by fine Australian wines, then sit back and relax as an astronomer takes you on a tour of the southern night skies (weather permitting). (D)
Today you’ll travel from Ayers Rock Resort to Kings Canyon, stopping for breakfast at Kings Creek Station along the way. Originally vacant crown land, the station now runs cattle and is the largest exporter of wild camels in Australia. Learn the intriguing story of owners, Ian and Lynn Conway and their dedication to Aboriginal children in the region’s remote communities. Now get ready for a hike to remember! Make the steep rocky climb to the rim of the Kings Canyon for spectacular views of Watarrka National Park. Follow the rim of the canyon stopping to look down into the canyon gorge from a series of look-out points along the way. Time permitting, your Guide may take you to the green oasis of the’Garden of Eden’ waterhole. The rim walk takes approximately 3 hours to complete and is rocky and steep in parts. It is recommended for those with a good level of fitness. If you wish to take an easier, shorter walk instead, you will explore the boulder strewn canyon floor, getting up close to the native plants and birdlife that call this part of the world home.
After lunch (own expense), return to Ayers Rock Resort. (B)
Please ensure you have a minimum of 3 litres of water with you for the Rim Walk.
Visit Uluṟu – Kata Tjuṯa Cultural Centre where there is time to purchase some locally made Aboriginal art and learn more about the Western Desert region.
Later travel around the base of Uluṟu with a local Driver Guide. Learn about the native flora, fauna and intriguing cultural traditions of traditional owners, the Anangu, and discover an array of fascinating sacred sites. Join your Driver Guide for a walk to Mutitjulu Waterhole. You’ll explore a number of caves and view Aboriginal rock paintings as your Guide interprets their meaning and significance.
Travel to the Uluṟu sunset viewing area, ‘Sunset Strip’ and relax with a glass of wine and Nibbles as the sun sets over the western horizon and the evening sky brings out the many shades of colour for which Uluṟu is renowned.
Please ensure you have a minimum of 1 litre of water with you for your walk.
After sunset your guide will transfer you to the site for your barbecue dinner. The site is within the Uluṟu National Park, adjacent to Uluṟu – Kata Tjuṯa Cultural Centre set amongst red sand dunes and desert oak trees providing a peaceful desert setting. The site is located far enough away from the resort lights to provide a clear view of the stars in the southern sky (weather permitting). Once at the site, you will enjoy a variety of Australian meats and salads, accompanied by a glass of wine, beer or orange juice (menus are subject to change). After dinner, tea, coffee and dessert will be served and your guide will conduct a tour of the night sky, describing and pointing out some of the visible constellations with the assistance of a high beam spotlight (weather permitting). The guide will also explain some Aboriginal stories that relate to the stars before you return to Ayers Rock Resort. (D)
This morning you will be picked up at your accommodation in a luxury coach to be taken the very short distance to the exclusive Field of Light location. With just enough time for some background commentary on the internationally renowned artist Bruce Monroe, you will arrive very excited to see his latest artistic endeavour. Arriving in complete darkness, you will be able to enjoy the 50,000 globes of light in the desert, before making your way up the hill to the Field of Light sunrise viewing platform where you will be served tea, coffee or hot chocolate.
You can enjoy your beverage as the sun starts to creep light throughout the sky and then watch in awe as it pops up in the distance behind Uluṟu, flooding the landscape, including Kata Tjuṯa behind you, with light. As the natural light brightens the landscape, the Field of Light will dim for the day. Enjoy some amazing photos from this unique raised location that allows you to view both Kata Tjuṯa and Uluṟu in all their natural glory.
This afternoon, travel through desert scenery on your way to Alice Springs. Your Driver Guide will provide comprehensive commentary as you pass through the beautiful rugged scenery of the outback. View Attila (Mt. Conner). Stop at the Erldunda Roadhouse where you may purchase afternoon tea (own expense). Travel along the Stuart Highway before arriving in Alice Springs. You will be dropped off at your Alice Springs hotel.
Today is free for you to further explore Alice and her surrounds, or simply relax and recharge as you enjoy the facilities of your hotel.
Outback Cycling Velo Excursion tour $160 per person
Travelling by bicycle, you will immerse yourself in all the diversity that Alice Springs has to offer. Enjoy a picturesque 3km bike ride alongside the dry Todd River bed into the National Park. On this route you’ll experience the unique terrain of this classic outback town. Upon arrival of your first destination, you will learn about the original town settlement at the Alice Springs Telegraph Station. Here, you can enjoy a complimentary NT roasted barista coffee and cake from the Trail Station Cafe. Next, your guide will lead you to a local art gallery, where original and contemporary Indigenous artworks are showcased. Regularly, Indigenous artists are painting in residence.
Enjoy a leisurely morning, checking out after breakfast. You have some free time to explore Alice Springs before returning to your hotel to meet your 2.30pm transfer to the train station.
Check in, settle into your cabin and prepare to depart with your new travelling companions to your evening dinner function, where you’ll dine under a million stars. (B,D)
When you disembark in remote Manguri, you’ll enjoy a full day exploring the amazing opal mining township of Coober Pedy. (B,L,D)
After completing the famous north-south crossing of the interior you will arrive into Adelaide. (B)
The Blue Mountains track is currently closed due to a landslide, resulting in a diversion to Sydney and regrettably no Blue Mountains excursion until March 2 for east-bound Indian Pacific guests.