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15 Day AAT Kings Outback Adventure 2023

15 days 14 nights
Adelaide to Darwin
from NZD$10,480pp
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How do you condense South Australia and the Northern Territory into two weeks? With the kind of skill that comes from operating in Australia for more than a century. This epic exploration traverses record-breaking canyons and gorges, national parks and World Heritage Sites. It’s nature writ large – small wonder TV and movie directors find inspiration here, as you will, too. And then there are the cities, from multicultural Adelaide and the wine country it covets, to steamy Darwin, where sunsets are as brash as the characters that call it home.

Wildlife & nature

This Tour Also Features

  • Arrernte People indigenous cultural experience
  • Yellow Water Cruise
  • Wilpena Creek walk
  • Walpa Gorge Walk
  • Wadlata Outback Centre
  • School of the Air visit
  • Uluru sunset experience
  • Town Tour of Alice Springs
  • Royal Flying Doctor Service tourist facility
  • Mutitjulu Waterhole guided walk
  • Litchfield National Park
  • Knappstein Enterprise Winery wine tasting
  • Jeff Morgan Gallery
  • Darwin Harbour Cruise
  • Coober Pedy underground tour and opal demonstration
  • Be My Guest BBQ Dinner
  • Adelaide Central Market Tour
  • Meals included: 14 breakfasts, 9 dinners, 1 special dinner
Tour full itinerary
Itinerary
Day One - Welcome to Adelaide
Tour day 1
Sunset in Adelaide

At once sophisticated and cultured, yet cool and casual, Adelaide attracts foodies, historians, art aficionados and sports fanatics in equal measure. Multicultural restaurants abound, as do pretty sandstone churches. Explore them at your leisure, before meeting a local gourmand to tour the city’s legendary Central Market. This place has been selling cheese, green ant gin, flowers and artisan bread for 140-plus years. It’s tempting to overindulge – save space for your Welcome Reception & Dinner.

Staying in:

  • Crowne Plaza Adelaide (1 night)
Meals included: Dinner

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Day Two - Adelaide - Flinders Ranges
Tour day 2
View of Flinders Ranges

One of Australia’s oldest wine regions, the Clare Valley is all wide, open skies, rounded hills, rippling grape vines and native forest. It’s a postcard-perfect setting for historic Knappstein Enterprise Winery, producing sweet-scented rieslings and mineral-rich reds. The route north lands you at Hawker – it may be the gateway to the Flinders Ranges, but there are plenty of reasons to linger, including well-preserved heritage buildings and the Jeff Morgan Gallery. Jeff’s enormous panoramas capture the SA outback in a frame; he also collects rocks, model cars and random memorabilia. The best is still to come, as you arrive at Wilpena Pound Resort in the shadows of a staggering natural amphitheatre.

Staying in:

  • Wilpena Pound Resort (1 night)
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

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Day Three - Flinders Ranges - Port Augusta
Tour day 3
Pichi Richi Pass

The soaring river red gums that envelop the restored Hills Homestead will leave you lost for words; equally mesmerising is the display inside the property, revealing the hardships of early settlers in this part of the state. You get here on a leisurely walk along Wilpena Creek and continue to Wangarra Hill Lookout for seemingly endless views over the pound’s rippling peaks and sweeping curves. The drama is echoed as you climb to Pichi Richi Pass – spare a thought for the workers who built the train line here in the 1870s, through deep rock that provides a snapshot of Flinders Ranges geology. Ease into Port Augusta, where more stories of yesteryear await at Wadlata Outback Centre.

Staying in:

  • Majestic Oasis Apartments (1 night)
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

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Day Four - Port Augusta - Coober Pedy
Tour day 4
Aerial View of Port Augusta

With Port Augusta in the rear-view mirror, your journey continues into space. Well, sort of. The main attraction in Woomera is a former rocket-testing site, today stocked with rockets and missiles tested over the past 60 years. Speaking of space, you may will think you’ve landed on the moon as you travel through sun-baked country to isolated Coober Pedy, known as ‘the opal capital of the world’. Things get deep as you travel underground with a local to see how these gleaming gems are mined, and visit the town’s head-scratching subterranean facilities, from churches to schools and hotels.

Staying in:

  • Desert Cave Hotel (1 night)
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

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Day Five - Coober Pedy - Uluru
Tour day 5
Coober Pedy Opal

After a hearty breakfast, prepare to stay goodbye to South Australia as you cross the border into the Northern Territory and arrive at Australia’s spiritual heart, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park – it has World Heritage status for a reason. Under the gaze of the world’s mightiest monolith, toast the end of the day with a glass of bubbles and a camera full of sunset photos, the countryside transforming from ochre and orange to bruised purples and maroon with every ‘click’ of your camera.

Staying in:

  • Desert Gardens Hotel (1 night)
Meals included: Breakfast

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Day Six - Uluru Sunrise & Kata Tjuta
Tour day 6
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

Pre-dawn wake-up calls are worth it when you get to see an equally dazzling Red Centre colour transformation at sunrise. Marvel at the majesty of ‘the Rock’ as you circumnavigate its 11-kilometre base or join a guided walk to Mutitjulu Waterhole. This living cultural landscape takes you back to the beginning of time. Small wonder it’s a sacred place for eons of Anangu people. Over the millennia, they left behind rock art and snacked on native plants, with bush plums, tomatoes and figs, all still in abundance. More soul-salving landscapes spread before you at Kata Tjuta, cool relief found as you walk amid its domes to Walpa Gorge. If your SD card isn’t full of sunset photos yet, it will be after tonight’s dazzling display.

Staying in:

  • Desert Gardens Hotel (1 night)
Meals included: Breakfast

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Day Seven - Uluru - Kings Canyon
Tour day 7
Camels in Northern Teritory

Another Uluru sunrise excursion awaits (should you wish), with this morning’s optional tour taking you to artist Bruce Munro’s Uluru Field of Light – a blanket of 50,000 glowing bulbs. What a way to start the day. There are so many record-breaking rock attractions in this part of the country that you may not have heard of Attila (Mt. Conner) before – but once you’ve glimpsed the table-like formation, you certainly won’t forget it. Stretch your legs again at Kings Creek Station, the largest exporter of wild camels in Australia. All your senses will be activated on the Kings Canyon rim walk, 440-million years in the making and forged through layers of sandstone and hard shale creating soaring domes and plateaus that plummet to an oasis of natural rock pools. It’s hard to gauge the immensity when you’re wandering, until you reach a lookout that is…

Staying in:

  • Kings Canyon Resort (1 night)
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

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Day Eight - Kings Canyon - Alice Springs
Tour day 8
Thorny Devil Lizard in Outback Australia

Things are bigger in the NT outback, from the cattle stations the size of a small country to the MacDonnell Ranges, which stretch like a dinosaur spine toward the character-filled town of Alice Springs. Aside from its plethora of Aboriginal galleries and art stores, Alice makes Australian history for her 1872 Telegraph Station, one of 12 along the Overland Telegraph Line that traverses a whopping 3,200 kilometres between Adelaide and Darwin. Glimpse it up close, then from afar as you ascend Anzac Hill for panoramic views that inspired many of those paintings in Alice’s galleries.

Staying in:

  • Doubletree by Hilton Alice Springs (1 night)
Meals included: Breakfast

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Day Nine - Alice Springs
Tour day 9
Milky Way Stargazing in Outback Australia

Aboriginal culture is strong in Alice Springs, as you’ll fast find on a tour revealing the history of the Arrernte people. The other thing that’s strong is community spirit – it has to be when there are so few people scattered over such a vast area of land. Enter the Royal Flying Doctor Service, its base a museum of sorts that goes behind the scenes of the life-saving health services it delivers to people living in remote realms. One of the benefits of being this far-flung is the lack of light pollution. And at Earth Sanctuary World Nature Centre, this equates to epic stargazing. Your BBQ dinner here with the Falzon family is enlightening and uplifting – think stories of self-sufficient living, astronomy and even a tune or two on the didgeridoo.

Staying in:

  • Doubletree by Hilton Alice Springs (1 night)
Meals included: Breakfast, Speciality Dinner

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Day Ten - Alice Springs - Tennant Creek
Tour day 10
Devil's Marbles - Karlu Karlu

1.3 million square kilometres – that’s the eye-watering distance the School of Air’s lessons are broadcast across daily. Watch a live session with kids who would otherwise have no access to public education. It doesn’t matter how knowledgeable you are, you might just believe in aliens when you pass Wycliffe Well, the self-proclaimed ‘UFO capital’ of Australia. But it’s the devil that awaits (well, his marbles) at Karlu Karlu, where precariously balanced boulders appear to have been superglued together. The most prized rock found in this part of the world is, however, gold, which is why your base for the night, Tennant Creek, exists.

Staying in:

  • Bluestone Motor Inn (1 night)
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

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Day Eleven - Tennant Creek - Katherine
Tour day 11
On the Road in Northern Territory

Since the 1930s, the time-tested Daly Waters Historic Pub has been dishing up schnitzel's, barramundi burgers and hearty steaks. The walls here are lined with treasures that passers-by leave behind, from bras to boots. What can you contribute over lunch? ‘Land of the Never Never’ awaits at Mataranka. Yes, you can visit a replica of the Elsey Homestead, used in the filming of 1982 Aussie drama We of the Never Never, an autobiographical flick about life in the outback. Or wander palm-lined walkways to take a dip in the region’s steamy thermal springs – the ultimate antidote to weary limbs before arriving in Katherine.

Staying in:

  • Contour Hotel Katherine (1 night)
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

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Day Twelve - Katherine - Kakadu
Tour day 12
Brolgas in National Park

The Jawoyn have called Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge home for millennia. You can feel their presence while cruising this mighty waterway that’s home to more than a few resident crocs. This is not the last time these scaly creatures will be in your company – they’ll make another appearance on your Kakadu tour, when you jump in yet another boat for a Yellow Water Billabong cruise. You don’t need binoculars to spot the sea eagles, brolgas and kingfishers that colour this part of the Top End; they’re everywhere you look.

Staying in:

  • Mercure Kakadu Crocodile Hotel (1 night)
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

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Day Thirteen - Kakadu - Darwin
Tour day 13
Aboriginal Rock Art in Kakadu National Park

Decisions, decisions: optional morning flight over Kakadu and Arnhem Land, or a sleep in. We vote for the former, to get some perspective before you venture toward Ubirr and its astounding ancient Aboriginal rock art. Scamper to the top of the rocky outcrop for seemingly endless views over floodplains backdropped by sheer escarpments. If it looks familiar, that’s because it played a starring role in 1986 Aussie film, Crocodile Dundee. The night is yours in steamy Darwin, where the characters are as large as the shadows cast at sunset. First stop: the Mindil Beach Sunset Market for dinner with your feet in the sand.

Staying in:

  • DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Darwin (1 night)
Meals included: Breakfast

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Day Fourteen - Litchfield National Park
Tour day 14
Litchfield National Park

Nature rules today, your explorations into Litchfield National Park revealing magnetic termite mounds standing up to two metres tall. And then there are the waterfalls: Florence Falls, for its dreamy cascades among monsoon forest; and Wangi Falls, where you can cool off in the crystal-clear waterhole before heading back to Darwin. See the NT capital in a new light when you venture out on a Darwin Harbour Cruise, your champagne glass full to toast your last evening on this epic adventure.

Staying in:

  • DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Darwin (1 night)
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

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Day Fifteen - Farewell from Darwin
Tour day 15
View of Darwin

Time to bid adieu and head home to sort through all those photos. Perhaps even better – and longer lasting – are the memories; two weeks of wild outback adventures.

Meals included: Breakfast

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Jun 13, 2023
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