G’day and welcome to your trip with Topdeck! Your adventure begins with a short drive down the famous Stuart Highway and into Litchfield National Park. Greeted by the picturesque Florence Falls the walk to the swimming holes are certainly worth the rewards. A quick dip here, then venture over to the Buley Rock Hole for another soaking! After some lunch, our day of adventuring the spectacular Northern Territory takes us into the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Kakadu National Park for the next 2 nights. Year round Kakadu is home to phenomenal wildlife, scenery and of course local Indigenous Culture, all of which we will be sure to take in. Our afternoon drive allows us to check out the changing landscape and a couple of interesting yet very cool stops along the way before we check into our accommodation, with its very tropical setting, our evening BBQ really highlights the way people live up here in the tropics. **Wet season itineraries Nov– May: will vary on this day beginning from Darwin spending a longer amount of time in Litchfield National Park and staying overnight at the Batchelor Motel then moving into Kakadu National Park on Day 2 for 1 night only. Wet Season OVERNIGHT Batchelor Resort Litchfield (shared facilities)
Aboriginal Rock Art sites are high on the list for today, as our Kakadu National Park exploring continues. This morning we venture to Nourlangie Rock, where you are sure to recognize some of the most famous Australian Indigenous art works. Then we head north to the border of the National Park and Arnhemland for our East Alligator River cruise. We actually are privileged to step into Arnhem Land for a look into the Aboriginal lifestyles and have the opportunity to practice our spear throwing. All the while keeping our eyes peeled on the water to see how many crocs we can spot. With our local Indigenous guide hosting our trip we delve into the culture, local mythology, the river’s abundant food chain, and learn traditional uses for many of the plants and animals. Topdeck have gained special permission from the local custodians allowing us to disembark on the Arnhem Land side of the river for a walk into Arnhem Land. Enjoy the unique opportunity to immerse yourself in ancient Aboriginal culture during a display of traditional hunting and gathering techniques before heading downstream, this cruise will certainly ensure an intimate and personalised cultural experience.
Discover ancient Aboriginal rock art at Ubirr before you climb to the top of a rocky lookout for beautiful views over the Nardab floodplain, enjoying the sunset with the camera’s working overtime! You’ll be asleep in no time once we arrive back at our lodge. **Wet season itineraries Nov– May :will vary on this day with most of today’s content visited on the day prior. Today the trip will journey out of Kakadu National Park towards Litchfield where we have Accommodation at Batchelor Motel. Wet Season OVERNIGHT Batchelor Resort Litchfield (shared facilities)
Time this morning to check out the Bowali Visitors Centre or even take in a scenic flight* over the Escarpment that borders Kakadu and Arnhemland. Our afternoon drive allows us access to a perfect place for a swim in Kakadu National Park - Gunlom Falls, the world’s most picturesque natural infinity pools. After a picnic lunch to refuel, we have a steep walk to the top of the waterfall, but it is all very well worth it, with sweeping views of the southern end of Kakadu you will enjoy a relaxing dip in the crystal clear waters– what a great cover photo this will be! Cooled off and refreshed we are on the road again and headed for Katherine where a comfy night stay is guaranteed! **Wet season itineraries Nov– May : will vary on this day with an exclusion of Gunlom Falls, replaced with other Kakadu sites (written in for Day 2) which are accessible in the Tropical wet season.
Paddling on a river is without doubt one of the best environmentally low-impact activities, and it is so quiet and unobtrusive that you can often see wildlife that would otherwise flee. Katherine Gorge is well known as a superb canoeing spot, and that is exactly what we have lined up for you this morning. With its dramatic cliffs plunging down to the pandanus-lined Katherine River, the gorge is all yours to explore. Paddling not your game - then you may wish to upgrade to a 3 gorge cruise (seasonal) to venture even further. Pick up some lunch in town as we head to one of the NT's best picnic spots and swimming places, the magic Edith Falls. Take a short walk around the falls for some secret spots then follow up with a swim in the fresh sweet waters, a great place to clear out the red dirt from the Centre and gain our swimming legs ready for the Top End.
Day 5:Tennant Creek
Mataranka lies in the heart of the Never-Never and you'll feel a million miles from anywhere as you soak in the steamy thermal springs - this is the last swimming hole in our Top End section of our trip as we prepare for the rusty sand to fill our shoes in the Red Centre. No visit to the Northern Territory would be complete without a stop at the famed Daly Waters Pub, one of Australia's best known Pubs. The classic construction of corrugated iron dates from 1934 and began as a service to Qantas customers on the nearby runway and terminal loved by travellers from around the globe. What a perfect place for that brilliant Pub lunch - maybe even a swim in the pub's pool. From here pretty much straight line to our overnight motel in Tennant Creek (the cross roads of Australia!)
Day 6:Alice Springs
Our morning unfolds with a stroll in a fascinating location. Precariously balanced on their rocky perch the Rainbow Serpent's eggs fossilised and became what Aborigines now call Karlu Karlu (Devils Marbles), a site sacred to its traditional owners. These rocks of volcanic origin have eroded over thousands of years to the form the shapes they are today, some of the boulders are up to 7 meters in diameters. Next down the highway is the Barrow Creek Pub, home to a telegraph station, where you can catch a glimpse of what outback telecommunication used to be like - how did they live without Facebook! Some crazy outback places out here and we will stop off at a classic Aussie Roadhouse for a bite to eat before we pass over the Tropic of Capricorn destined for our welcoming hotel in the heart of Australia Alice Springs.
Day 7:Alice Springs
We slow down the pace today, it's your chance to regroup before we continue our adventure North through to the Top End. Enjoy the tranquil setting of this remote city, affectionately known as"Alice". There is heaps to check out, from the Royal Flying Doctor Museum to the Desert Park Gardens or perhaps you'd prefer to get up close and cuddly with the residents at the Alice Springs Reptile Centre - maybe catch up on emails, laze by the pool, or indulge in a spot of shopping for that special souvenir - it's entirely up to you! Refreshed from your free day, why not take the opportunity to meet the locals over a drink this evening at one of the infamous Alice bars?
Your Red Centre component begins with a visit to an outback camel farm before arriving at Yulara (the gateway resort to Uluru) for lunch. This afternoon you will marvel at the natural wonder that is Uluru (Ayres Rock) as we enjoy an informative walk around a section of its base. You will then get an insight to the local Aboriginal culture from your guide before watching in awe as the desert sunset, as if by magic, changes the colour of Uluru right before your eyes. With a glass of bubbles in hand and new mates to chat with– this is sure to make the best cover photo ever! After such a jam-packed first day on our NT travels it is time for a filling feast and maybe even a‘coldie’ at the local bar.
It's an early start today as we make our way back to the natural wonder and famous Australian Icon that is Ayres Rock to witness a magical Uluru sunrise - we challenge you to find a more stunning way to start the day! The morning allows time for a full base walk of the rock or perhaps the view from a Harley Ride or Scenic Flight is more your style. After we break for lunch back in the village, there's an opportunity to wander through the local Aboriginal Art markets. You may even choose to try your hand at a dot painting class to create that perfect take home souvenir. This afternoon take in a performance from the Cultural Dance group for an authentic insight into this important part of Aboriginal culture. Grab a bite to eat from a choice of menus on offer in the Resort. Out here in the Red Centre is the perfect place for a little star gazing! Once the night sky is upon us you can venture not too far from your room to experience the glory on offer peeping into the far outer layers of the Southern night sky. Crank your neck back and check out what is all on display right above your head, finding some famous star formations and you may even spot some of the nearby planets; some are visible with the naked eye.
Day 10:Kings Canyon
After a hearty breakfast, we spend a few hours back in the National Park this time bound for Kata-Tjuta (The Olgas). Here we explore the magnificent and very different features of this ancient geological formation on a hike through the“Valley of the Winds”. Take some time out with lunch before we make our journey across the dessert plains and into the Watarrka National Park, the home of the mighty Kings Canyon. Afterwards, an evening dinner under the stars and around the campfire with some special treats is the perfect way to end the day. Bed down tonight in a great Aussie Swag and drift off to sleep, and perhaps even spot a shooting star or that favourite constellation you found last night! Rest up, for the morning hike into the magic Kings Canyon is certainly worth the effort.
Day 11:Alice Springs
We start today by exploring the spectacular landscape that is Kings Canyon– this will certainly be a highlight of your central Australia adventure. The Rim Walk skirts the edge of the canyon, allowing you to peer over into the sandstone gorge below. Also we come across age-old cycads, a mini version of the Bungle Bungles of eroded dome shapes and an oasis as we reach the Garden of Eden, which has the all important shade, a permanent waterhole. Up some more stairs and across to the south edge, views taking in the breathtaking North Walls and the many sandstone colours are on offer. You will soon discover exactly why Kings Canyon is a favourite among Topdeck guides! We call back in to the Kings Creek Station for a lunch (maybe even try a Camel Burger) before tracking our afternoon drive, returning to the central Australian metropolis of Alice Springs. We hope you have enjoyed the past 11 Days travelling with Topdeck and we look forward to seeing you on one of our great trips again soon. If you are looking to travel further afield Down Under, Topdeck also have trips on offer throughout South Australia& Victoria, the East Coast and then even across the Tasman in New Zealand!