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Travel block - Australia

Australia trip - Kings Canyon & Uluru

Highlights

  • Gourmet “Sound of Silence” dinner under the Uluru stars

  • Enjoy a glass of champagne during Uluru’s sunset and sunrise hours

  • Hike the Rim Walk at King Canyon’s edge

  • Four-wheel drive adventure on the Mereenie Loop from Alice Springs to Uluru

  • Discover the real Australian outback — red slopes and authentic adventure

Description

Dry, desolate deserts and tropical, wild vegetation: For some, the outback in central Australia is what defines the continent. Your journey through the heart of Australia, the outback, begins in Alice Springs and continues to Kings Canyon and the legendary Uluru. With an off-road vehicle, you will jet over the MacDonnell Ranges over the red slopes, admire the unique natural wonders of the Northern Territory, and get to know the endless expanses of Australia - a real outback adventure!

Destination

Oceania & South Pacific

Alice Springs - West MacDonnell Ranges National Park – Kings Canyon – Uluru

The best time to travel through the Australian outback is between April and September. It’s not too hot during the day and not too cool in the evening. July and August are delightful months to visit the area.

Welcome to the outback!

Get to know the real Australian outback and visit its destination highlights: Uluru and Kings Canyon.

When you arrive in Alice Springs, you’ll first check into your hotel. There are lots to explore in the city: from the historical telegraph station, where you’ll learn about how Alice Springs arose in the middle of the desert, to the base of the Royal Flying Doctors, where the staff supplies the 16,000 people living around the 1.25 million km² Alice Springs area.

Another highlight is the School of Air. Here, children who live on remote farms learn in virtual classrooms. If you’re interested, you can take a tour and learn more about the great school.

In the evening, you can go to Anzac Hill and enjoy the golden sunset over Alice Springs.

Our tip for the following morning: a hot air balloon ride over the desert (optional). When it’s dark, shortly before 06:00, your adventure will begin. A transfer will pick you up from your accommodation and explain today’s procedure to you on the way to the starting point. When you arrive, you will begin the flight and already see the first rays of sunshine blanket the soft red tones of the MacDonnell Ranges landscapes. Enjoy the stunning surroundings and observe the fascinating animal world, like the famous kangaroos and cattle ranches.

After an hour, you’ll safely land and have a small toast of a successful excursion with sparkling wine. Enjoy a few breakfast snacks before a transfer takes you back to Alice Springs. Don’t forget to bring warm clothes with you since the temperatures are lower in the early morning hours.

1 night at Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia

Today you’ll travel through the West MacDonnell Ranges and its stunning landscapes. Start the day early and experience as much of the region as possible.

The mountain range boasts a unique natural area with gorges, bizarre rock formations, and numerous water sources. Ormiston Gorge is an impressive site created by the Ormiston River — the rock walls shine in different colors because of the high mineral content. Walk to the Ghost Gum viewpoint and soak in magnificent views of the surroundings.

Travel time Alice Springs - Glen Helen Lodge: approx. 6 hours 30 minutes / approx. 133 km

Overnight in West MacDonnell Ranges National Park, Northern Territory, Australia

Continue driving through the Australian outback. We recommend a trip on the Mereenie Loop, a four-wheel-drive route where you will follow the Dirt Road to Kings Canyon. This unpaved red sand road will take you into the real outback for an exciting adventure. You can also reach Kings Canyon with a standard car by driving via the Stuart Highway and Luritja Road to Kings Canyon.

When you arrive at Kings Canyon, you can let the overwhelming nature work its magic on you. The gorge is the largest in Australia and, in some places, up to 250 meters deep. Despite the desert climate, unique flora and fauna have developed since it has permanent water holes and high humidity. Palm ferns, blooming bottle brushes, and fig trees adorn the landscape. You can also spot dingoes, wallabies, reptiles, and more than 80 bird species.

Explore more of the landscape on the gorge’s various hiking trails. Our tip: Kings Canyon at sunset is an unforgettable view.

Driving time Glen Helen Lodge - Kings Canyon: approx. 2 hours 30 minutes / approx. 225 km

Bed and breakfast in Kings Canyon, Northern Territory, Australia

Before continuing toward Uluru, you will start the day with a six-kilometer Rim Walk. The well-marked circular route guides through the upper canyon cliffs’ spectacular rock formations, up some rock stairs to the canyon edge, and to a viewing platform that looks out over the gorge. The hike lasts approximately three to four hours.

After the hike, head to Uluru, formerly known as Ayers Rock, and pass Mount Connor’s rock formations, which look similar to Uluru. However, the mountain is much larger and has a flat plateau.

With your included Piti Pass, you’ll have the opportunity to see the Uluru sunset in the evening. The warm rays of the sun turn the Aborigines’ sacred mountain into a fiery red stone — a sight you’ll never forget. With a guide, hike to the Mutitjulu waterhole, discover numerous cave paintings and learn more about the Dreamtime, the Aborigines’ worldview. Finally, make a sunset toast with a glass of sparkling wine and a few snacks.

Driving time Kings Canyon - Uluru Hotel: approx. 3 hours 30 minutes / 305 kilometers

Overnight at Uluru, Uluru-Kata-Tjuta National Park, Northern Territory, Australia

Head to the Uluru viewpoint Talinguru Nyakunytjaku at dawn and enjoy the best sunrise over the famous red mountain. Experience the first rays of sunshine that fall on Uluru and bathe in soft red tones with a morning coffee or tea. Do you recognize the different colors compared to the sunset last night?

Afterward, you’ll drive with your guide to the dome-shaped 36 mountains of Kata Tjuta, formerly called Olgas. On the way, stop for a view of the southern part of Kata Tjuta. Translated, it means “many heads” because when you look at them, you will notice these so-called heads. Similar to Uluru, the Kata Tjuta rock formations formed around 550 million years ago.

Tonight you’ll dine under a starry sky during the “Sound of Silence” dinner. A storyteller will describe the different star constellations while enjoying a glass of sparkling wine and canapés on a viewing platform. Listen to the magical sounds of the didgeridoo and stories about the Aborigines’ culture and Dreamtime worldview. You will also experience a short dance performance! For dinner, a gourmet BBQ buffet will pamper your palate. Australian specialties, such as kangaroo and crocodile meat, giant perch (barramundi), and some fine wines are on offer. And after the meal, enjoy a delicious dessert served with a glass of port wine, coffee, or tea. Soak in the evening’s absolute tranquility as you get lost in the starry sky.

Overnight at Uluru, Uluru-Kata-Tjuta National Park, Northern Territory, Australia

Today your adventure in the Australian outback ends. However, you can continue the journey to other exciting destinations! Contact your travel consultant to find out what options you have.

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Aurora Alice Springs****, Alice Spings, Northern Territory, Australia

The hotel is an ideal starting point to explore the city and the outback. The on-site restaurant specializes in modern and traditional Australian dishes. In the inner courtyard, you’ll find a pool and wellness area. Parking spaces are also available.

Glen Helen Lodge***, West MacDonnell Ranges National Park, Northern Territory, Australia
Glen Helen Lodge is the only accommodation in Tjoritja West MacDonnell Ranges National Park. There are 25 rooms and an extensive campsite. There’s a restaurant, bar, and bistro that serves meals, cold drinks, and snacks.

Kings Canyon Resort****, Kings Canyon, Northern Territory, Australia
The resort offers two restaurants, two pools, and an on-site gas station. In addition to the hotel building, there’s also a campsite, tennis court, supermarket, and souvenir shop. All rooms are on the ground floor and have air conditioning, tea/coffee making equipment, and insect screens.

Desert Gardens Hotel****, Ayers Rock, Northern Territory, Australia
The hotel nestles in the middle of a natural garden and is only five minutes away from a gorgeous Uluru viewpoint. Bunya Bar offers delicious cocktails, which you can enjoy while relaxing by the pool. Arnguli Grill offers traditional Australian dishes.

The air-conditioned rooms have tea/coffee equipment, a TV, radio, and a minibar.

Closest city: Alice Springs

Closest airport: Alice Springs Airport

Duration of the trip: 6 days / 5 nights

Including

  • 5 nights in the accommodations mentioned above or similar:

    • 1 night at Aurora Alice Springs****, standard room in Alice Springs, Northern Territory

    • 1 night at Glen Helen Lodge*** in the Lodge Room, West MacDonnell Ranges National Park, Northern Territory

    • 1 night at Kings Canyon Resort**** with breakfast in a standard room, Kings Canyon, Northern Territory,

    • 2 nights at the Desert Gardens Resort**** with breakfast in the Garden Room, Ayers Rock, Northern Territory

  • 5 days rental car Toyota RAV4 or similar including unlimited number of kilometers, vehicle insurance without excess, additional vehicle travel liability insurance from HanseMerkur (cover max. 1,000,000 EUR), state taxes (GST), registration fee (Vehicle Registration Recovery Fee), fees for additional drivers, Max Cover

Excluding

  • International and/or domestic flights

  • Rental cars: petrol, tolls, special equipment (e.g., child seats: 16.50 AUD/day — max. 82.50 AUD/rental), any station surcharges (e.g., location fee at airports and other selected rental stations), processing fees (for traffic violations, accidents, and self-inflicted breakdowns), credit card fee (0.88-1.23%)

  • Meals and drinks not mentioned in the scope of services

  • Personal expenses, such as tips, etc.

  • Travel insurance

Rental car

  • Driver & driving license:

    • Minimum age: 21 years (Category. R: 25 years), must have had a driving license for at least 1 year.

    • Drivers between 21-24 years pay a surcharge of 16.50 AUD/day (max. 115.50 AUD per 30 rental days).

    • Additional drivers are free of charge but must be written in the rental agreement.

    • In addition to a valid national driver's license, each driver must have an international driver's license or a certified English-language translation.

  • Deposit

  • When renting a deposit in the additional costs incurred (at least 100 AUD in Zone A or at least 200 AUD in Zone B), it must be paid by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express). The driver must be the credit cardholder.

  • Driving areas & restrictions

  • In the state of Northern Territory, you can drive on the following unpaved roads: Oodnadatta Track, Plenty Highway, Finke Road (between Alice Springs and Oodnadatta), Central Arnhem Road, and Arnhem Land (Group V & R are also allowed on the Mereenie Loop)

Notes

  • We are happy to make you an offer for the trip to be reverse (Uluru to Alice Spings)

  • Surcharges may apply during certain seasons or events

Additional experiences

Southeast Australia Round Trip

  1. 15 days incl. rental car per person from 1.879 € excl. Flight
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