Experience Central Australia, complete, in all its grand and colourful glory

Sharing with the Anangu People, their inseparable connection to country and longest surviving culture in the world.

Immerse yourself in the most ancient of lands, with the natural and cultural, dual World Heritage National Park Uluru - Kata Tjuta at its core.

Visit Uluru, Kata Tjuta, Watarrka (Kings Canyon), Palm Valley, Ormiston Gorge, Rainbow Valley, Chambers Pillar, Hermannsburg, Gaps and Gorges of both East and West MacDonnell Ranges, Desert Gardens and historic sites of Alice Springs  – Experience the Red Centre, comprehensively in 11 days.

2021 departures and prices now available. Register now for your priority reservation and advanced releases.

Note:  We expect our post-Coronavirus touring program under the “new normal” will recommence on August 23, 2020. Until then we are ensuring guests can secure a reservation for any 2020-21 tour without any financial risk of a deposit. Normal pricing and discount offers will remain. Deposits will be requested once restrictions are eased and tours have confirmed access. We expect tours to remain the same. Health authority advices and protocols will apply. Secure your reservation by firstly, enquiring today.

Tour Highlights

Why you'll like this tour

Imagine the spiritual feeling, walking around the base of the great monolith Uluru, clear of invasive crowds, with the rising sun adorning its face.

  • Witness the craggy creation of chasms, gorges and gaps, carved out by ancient rivers
  • Explore the magnificence of Ormiston Gorge and Pound, pausing beneath its contorted, colourful towering walls
  • Stand in awe of the sunset firing up the defiant ramparts of Rainbow Valley
  • Roam the rim of Kings Canyon with is precipitous faces and journey on rugged back tracks to a secluded red amphitheatre crowded with unique cabbage palms
  • Share a full day excursion into the remote desert home lands of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara People, to learn of their culture, songlines and Cave Hill rock art site
  • Experience the Simpson Desert outlier sand ridges as explorers did, drawn to the compelling lure of Chambers Pillar
  • Indulge yourself in a fine-service, sunset and star lit dinner on the desert dunes with the silhouette of Uluru standing sentinel
Enlarge Map
central-australia-tours-red-centre-uluru

Itinerary

Day 1 Discover Alice, the history, desert creatures and spectacular Rainbow Valley

Your tour commences with visitations to special features close to Alice Springs taking in iconic scenery, natural and pioneering history and finally an amazing sunset experience.

Features

  • A 1 hr stroll into a dramatic gorge, home to Black-footed Rock Wallabies and rare plant species, important to the local Arrernte Aboriginal People
  • Roam the grounds and buildings following the story of the 3,200kms Overland Telegraph Line connecting Australia to the world in 1870.
  • Visit the quality wildlife exhibits at the Museum of Central Australia, then the Alice Springs Desert Park carrying David Attenborough’s endorsement “there is no zoo or wildlife park in the world that can match it”
  • Enjoy a late afternoon trail walk toward the sandstone bluffs and ramparts of Rainbow Valley. 350 million year old free standing cliffs, a sacred site to the Southern Arrernte People.
  • Stand in awe as the joints and fractures, dramatic shapes and colouration, fire up in the setting sun. Turn around to witness the Desert Oaks silhouetted against the golden parting glow of the day

Accommodation

Quality en-suite rooms at our tour base, Mercure Resort Alice Springs, for 4 nights

Meals

Cafe style M/Tea, A/Tea and lunch

Restaurant dinner and breakfast at our tour base, Mercure Resort Alice Springs

Travel

Driving:  241 kms in 4 relaxed stages over the full day

Walking:  2 short flat surface walks each approx 2 kms return

Plus extended roaming time at feature Desert Park exhibits

Day 2 Follow the “Caterpillar Dreaming” country to scenic gaps and gorges

A relaxed scenic drive along the East MacDonnell Ranges to visit various gaps and gorges cutting through the range. You’ll end the day with an elevated view of Alice Springs from the town lookout, Anzac Hill.

Features

  • Emily and Jessie Gaps offer intimate scenic viewing and are important spiritual sites to the Eastern Arrernte People
  • Rock paintings depict the Caterpillar Dreaming creation stories and a totem respected widely across Alice Springs, described as “caterpillar country”
  • The grey column of dolomite known as Corroboree Rock was laid down in a salty lake 800 million years ago. Traditional owners regard it as a sacred men’s site for storage of ceremonial objects
  • Trephina Gorge is a paradise of sheer red quartzite cliffs sheltering a delightful sandy watercourse lined with River Red Gums supporting bird and wildlife
  • You’ll visit a wonderful specimen of the classic Australian “Ghost Gum” estimated to be 350-400 years old. We’ll share the significance of Ghost Gums to Aboriginal and other home loving people. The species came to world prominence through the art of Albert Namatjira.
  • Returning to “Alice”, time may permit a short visit the Araluen Art Collection, dedicated to the artists and works of Central Australia

Accommodation

Quality en-suite rooms at our tour base

Meals

Picnic style Tailgate M/Tea, A/Tea and Lunch

Evening restaurant dinner and breakfast

Travel

Driving: 158 kms in 5 relaxed stages throughout the day

Walking: 3 short walks each approx.1.5 kms long to take in the natural beauty

A  2 kms / 1 hr loop walk at Trephina Gorge with a short opening climb

Day 3 Dramatic gorges with delightful waterholes carving through the ancient range

Focus today is on the magnificent West MacDonnell Ranges and a 4 hour walk through Ormiston Pound and Gorge. Returning to “Alice” we’ll include short visits and strolls at 3 other feature locations

Features

  • Ormiston Creek cuts through the 250m high gorge and is a tributary to the ancient Finke River still flowing its original course from 350 million years ago
  • Around you, extraordinary earthly convulsions have heaved and thrust hundreds of metres of quartzite on top of itself in contorted fashion
  • The ancient sandy creek bed is littered with large coloured boulders and a near permanent water hole is 14 metres deep
  • A colourful outcrop of ochre is an important trading resource to the Western Arrernte People. The many colours mixed with animal fats and water are used for ceremonies, medicines and paintings
  • Water charging through the gaps and gorges of the range create picturesque swimming and picnic sites, also calling points sustaining dingoes and other wildlife. You’ll visit the Ellery Creek Big Hole, created thousands of years ago
  • One deep red cleft carving through the range over millions of years is named after the first non-Aboriginal woman to visit the site. So narrow and sheer the chasm is most dramatic when the sun penetrates into the cleft around mid-day

Accommodation

Quality en-suite rooms at our tour base

Meals

Resort restaurant based breakfast and dinner

Walking sustenance

Cafe lunch and tea breaks at Ormiston Gorge

Travel

Driving:  296 kms in 5 relaxed stages throughout the day

Walking: Optional 8.5 kms / 3.5 to 4hr through Ormiston Pound and Gorge with a few short climbs, rock and boulder sections to negotiate. Non-walkers can enjoy passive time free roaming through the delightful gorge.

Day 4 Like the explorers, crossing the desert, drawn to the towering vision of Chambers Pillar

Today we head into the fringes and sand ridge outliers of the Simpson Desert to an iconic landmark that once guided early explorers and settlers, but today few tourists witness - Chambers Pillar.

Features

  • Visit an isolated claypan beside which rust red rock clusters have been engraved with non-representational circles, lines and geometric motifs. They are thought to be up to 40,000 years old. Custodians say the meaning of the petroglyphs is sacred and too dangerous to reveal to non-initiated people.
  • At “Maryvale” Station the Titjikala Art Centre may be open for our visit and a cup of coffee. Your interest may be drawn to the lady artists at work with their “connection to country” dot painting, inspired by the beauty of the arid and colourful landscape you too are experiencing
  • The Pillar beckons from afar during our desert crossing, a towering sandstone plug deposited in the area 350 million years ago. Its isolation, presence, historical and cultural significance can’t be denied
  • For Europeans the pillar is a tangible link to the first sighting by early explorer John McDouall Stuart in his quest to cross Australia south to north, other explorers, surveyors and pastoral settlers

Accommodation

Quality en-suite rooms at our tour base

Meals

Tailgate tea breaks and picnic lunch at the Pillar

Dinner and breakfast at the tour base restaurant

Travel

Driving:  328kms in 4 relaxed stages on back roads and tracks across desert sand ridges

Walking: Relaxed roaming at various feature stops and a short staircase climb up the pedestal of the pillar

Day 5 Historic efforts to save Hermannsburg souls and nearby the ancient Finke River and Palm Valley

A big day ahead as we travel to Hermannsburg and Palm Valley along Larapinta Drive, then on to the Mereenie Loop and journey through Aboriginal Lands to Kings Canyon.

Features

  • Free roam the art galleries, grounds and buildings of the historic Hermannsburg Historic Precinct once a struggling Lutheran Mission determined to advance local Aboriginal lives and souls
  • Albert Namatjira was born at the Mission and his landscape paintings and fame reached all corners of the world. We’ll reflect on the trials and injustices in his life and the Ghost Gums that featured extensively in his works
  • Crossing the dry sandy bed of the Finke River can be deceiving. It has followed this original course for 350million years while the mighty Colorado River in the US is only 21 million years old
  • The Red Cabbage Palms grow only in Palm Valley where a maze of rust red amphitheatres, pinnacle and gorges play host to a diverse range of rare or unique plants
  • Visit the crater site of an enormous comet which impacted the earth 142 million years ago, now a sacred site of the Western Arrernte People
  • The Mereenie Loop road passes through isolated Aboriginal Lands, a wild arid landscape of Spinifex, Desert Oaks and Mulga
  • Kings Canyon Resort sits near the foot of the George Gill Range with the prominent Carmichaels Crag greeting us near the end of the Mereenie Loop. Having 45 min to spare on arrival at the resort, consider the Resort Ridge Walk for a sunset viewing of the main range

Accommodation

Standard ensuite rooms at Kings Canyon Resort  - 2 nights

Meals

Cafe M/Tea &/or lunch at Hermannsburg Historic Precinct

Dinner and breakfast at the resort’s Carmichaels Restaurant

Travel

Driving:  366 kms outback travel in 4 stages on both sealed and “occasionally maintained” bush roads - embrace the adventure!

Walking:  Short roams at various feature stops. Possible 1.5 kms return walk / climb in Palm Valley for an elevated view.

Day 6 “Lost City” and “Garden of Eden”. Rippling waters above a blazing red canyon

A fulfilling time in Watarrka National Park and completion of the Kings Canyon Rim Walk, followed later by a visit to a local Aboriginal community for a special cultural experience.

Features

  • An early start in the cool of the day for the iconic Rim Walk
  • Strange geological formations await
  • There is evidence of an inland sea
  • A descent into the Garden of Eden
  • Enjoy an afternoon visit and connection with the Karrke Aboriginal Cultural Experience

Accommodation

Standard ensuite rooms at Kings Canyon Resort

Meals

Walking sustenance

Restaurant breakfast and dinner

Poolside, light sandwich lunch

Travel

Driving:  Nominal local access only

Walking:  Optional 6kms / 3 to 4 hr Kings Canyon Rim Walk with initial challenging climb on formed stone steps (approx.1000)

Day 7 Journey toward the tourism heart of Central Australia with its iconic monoliths

Today we head to the other highlight destination and tour base at Ayers Rock Resort on the edge of the Uluru / Kata Tjuta National Park

Features

  • The 4 hour travel to Ayers Rock Resort will provide time to brief you on the logistics, geological and cultural experiences to be enjoyed in the days ahead
  • Brief roadside stops will allow you to enjoy views of the Desert Oaks, Mount Conner, red ridges and a salt lake.
  • Your visit to Curtain Springs Station roadhouse should include some backyard viewing of the native bird aviaries.
  • On arrival rest up and make good for the early start and Uluru Base Walk tomorrow. Free time to assimilate this rather expansive resort

Accommodation

Quality ensuite rooms at Desert Gardens - Ayers Rock Resort for 4 nights

Meals

Early cafe M/Tea at Kings Creek Station

Lunch at Curtain Springs Station roadhouse

Travel

Driving:  305 kms in 4 stages on good sealed road to Ayers Rock Resort

Walking:  Roam at various feature stops

Day 8 Connecting with the world’s oldest surviving culture, guided by Tjukurpa

A special day of connection with the natural history, the culture of the Anangu People, Tjukurpa the guiding foundation of their culture, the magnificence and spirit of Uluru.

Features

  • Guided natural history and cultural walk around base of Uluru - 10 kms / 5 to 6 hrs
  • Pre-dawn departure to walk - enjoy a close up sunrise on Uluru
  • Afternoon visit to the Cultural Centre, adjoining Uluru - free time
  • Rest period - prepare for a celebration “Sounds of Silence Dinner”. Coach departure to be advised.

Accommodation

Quality ensuite rooms at Desert Gardens - Ayers Rock Resort

Meals

Continental Breakfast supplied at start of walk to be carried in your day pack,

Lunch at Resort Cafe

Special “Sounds of Silence Dinner” in the desert

Travel

Driving: Nominal local access only

Walking: 10 kms flat walk on easy trail - Uluru Base Walk

Day 9 Walking the trails between the many domes of Kata Tjuta, in awe of the panorama

Plan today for two possible shorter walks at Kata Tjuta followed by some Cultural Centre time, then in the evening a visit to the Field of Light

Features

  • Drive to and enjoy select walk/s at Kata Tjuta
  • Special evening visit to the Field of Light. Coach departure to be advised.
  • Prepare for an early start to the following day - Cave Hill Day Trip

Accommodation

Quality ensuite rooms at Desert Gardens - Ayers Rock Resort

Meals

Resort restaurant dinner

Morning walking sustenance and tailgate M/Tea

Late lunch at resort cafe

Travel

Driving:  Nominal local access travel only

Walking: Guided morning walk options at Kata Tjuta

Valley of the Winds Karingara L/O and rtn  5.4 kms - 2.5 hrs

Walpa Gorge Walk 2.6 kms - 1 hr

Day 10 Insights into desert life, the guardians of Cave Hill, Seven Sisters story and Song Lines

Today we take a desert journey with a partnering operator into restricted access lands of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara People at Cave Hill, located over the NT/SA border

Features

  • Travel deep into the remote and rarely visited Pitjantjatjara Aboriginal Lands for an unparalleled Indigenous cultural experience and insight into Aboriginal desert life.
  • Anangu host will guide you to magnificent cave paintings of the Seven Sisters creation story graphically illustrated on the rock walls and ceiling.
  • Learn about Tjukurpa (dreaming) and the Songlines relevant to Anangu life in the desert.
  • Our Anangu host is expected to be one of the traditional owners of Cave Hill. The traditional owners are responsible for maintaining the chapter of the Song Line that lies within the boundaries of their homeland – a story that has been maintained since the beginning of time.
  • Afterwards a short easy climb to the top of the hill above the cave to take in the view, a 360 degree panorama taking in Uluru (100 kms away), Mt Connor and the imposing Musgrave Ranges.
  • Quiet evening dinner to reflect on journey’s end.

Accommodation

Quality ensuite rooms at Desert Gardens - Ayers Rock Resort

Meals

Early resort breakfast

BBQ Lunch provided in the desert

Restaurant for dinner and breakfast

Travel

Driving: 300 kms approx. return. Sealed highway drive then desert roads and tracks.

Walking:  Short guided walk at Cave Hill

Day 11 Inspired - departing the spiritual heartland, the world heritage legacy of nature and culture

A hearty farewell breakfast, tour wrap and assistance with transfers to the Yulara (Ayers Rock Resort) airport.

Features

  • Be on the alert to view Uluru from the air as your plane departs the Centre

Accommodation

Tour completed

Meals

Breakfast at the resort

Travel

Driving:  Nil

Walking: Nil

Best Value Inclusions

  • All accommodation
  • All meals with breakfast, lunch and 2 course dinner with choices
  • Morning and afternoon teas
  • Glass of wine with dinner if you wish
  • Spontaneous travel treats and refreshments.
  • Tour transport and naturalist guides
  • All National Park entry fees
  • Entry to the Alice Springs Desert Park
  • Fully supported and guided day tour into the Anangu Pitjantjatjara homelands.
  • "Sounds of Silence Dinner" and visit to the "Field of Light" display as available
  • Pre-tour briefing and meet ‘n greet function
  • Local guides and guests, as available
  • Informative travel reference kit
  • Use of on-board reference materials and facilities
  • A meaningful tour memento
  • Personalised pre-tour planning advice to maximise your enjoyment of the experience
  • What we don't include:
    • Expenditure of a personal nature
    • Pre and post tour travel and accommodation arrangements
    • Travel and comprehensive contingency insurance

Pricing & Departure Dates

All Inclusive Prices. Loyalty and Group Discounts apply - enquire

2021 Departures

Departs Concludes Early Bird Offer Regular Price
18 Jun 2021 28 Jun 2021 $8507 pp / twin share $8807 pp / twin share Book Now
05 Jul 2021 15 Jul 2021 $8507 pp / twin share $8807 pp / twin share Book Now
Departs 18 Jun 2021
Concludes 28 Jun 2021
Early Bird Offer $8507 pp / twin share
Regular Price $8807 pp / twin share
Book Now
Departs 05 Jul 2021
Concludes 15 Jul 2021
Early Bird Offer $8507 pp / twin share
Regular Price $8807 pp / twin share
Book Now

WHAT OUR GUESTS SAY


  • Thank you for such a wonderful holiday. I expected the centre of Australia to be vast, but not as ancient. Uluru is a must see for any visitor to your country and your walk around its base wonderful. For me your focus on so many other features down back tracks away from the crowds was a highlight and the colours of the rock walls in the sandy gorges like Ormiston, Kings Canyon and Rainbow Valley, wow! I’d easily recommend this journey to friends and oh those incredible night skies dusted with stars. All up a holiday leaving wonderful memories.
    Audrey (UK)
  • Having made a commitment to learn more about the First Australians and to understand the effects of colonialism on their cultures, languages and lifestyles we spent a lot of time doing the research that led to this tour. It was difficult to find a tour for over 50s that offered what we wanted. From the moment we made contact with John and Ros it felt right. Communication prior to the trip was outstanding. The trip went way beyond our expectations. We learned so much about the environment of Central Australia, the indigenous groups and their cultures. No longer up for camping, we stayed in comfortable accommodation, ate gourmet meals (even for us vegetarians) and did much walking geared to our individual levels of ability. We offer our heartfelt thanks to John and Ros for giving us this once in a lifetime experience.
    Margaret Maguire and Philip Crowe

Have you completed this tour? Click here to submit a review!

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