Driving Distances: Adelaide - Alice Springs 1530 km
Alice Springs - Darwin 1498 km
  To travel this iconic Australian tourist route, is to experience the real 'Outback' and one of the seven natural wonders of the World: Uluru. The brief description below is meant to give you an overview of the places and attractions you can see and experience along the route. This is a fabulous journey to take in a RV, Campervan or Motorhome, with the flexibility to change your plans and stay longer in places that particularly appeal to you.
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Although Adelaide is more the size and has the ambience of a large country town, it lacks nothing in cultural sophistication and diversity. Visitors wanting a slower, more relaxed pace to explore the many galleries, museums, cafes, restaurants, theatres, parks and gardens, will find Adelaide very pleasant. It's a good place to spend a couple of days looking around, familiarising yourself with your vehicle and preparing for your trip into the 'outback'. For information on additional trips out from Adelaide, 'click' here
The Barossa Valley, the Clare Valley and the Adelaide hills are amongst the oldest wine regions in Australia. Established in the 1840's they are rich in European heritage, culture and tradition. These regions produce some of the finest wines and cheeses in the World. They are very pretty places to visit with friendly, hospitable people, and talented artists and craftspeople. Great places to visit, taste wine and savour the culinary delights. The Barossa Valley is only a one hour drive north of Adelaide.

Port Augusta is 322 km north of Adelaide and is at the crossroads for tourist decisions. You can head off north-east into the Flinders Ranges or north-west on the Sturt Highway towards Alice Springs. Port Augusta is a major port at the tip of the Spencer Gulf, surrounded by spectacular mountain ranges and deserts. It is the the gateway to the Australian 'outback' and a good place to stock-up on fresh food and groceries. The Wadlata Outback Centre is an excellent tourist information centre and offers a wonderful opportunity to experience what lies ahead.

Flinders Ranges. A trip into the Flinders Ranges is to experience the the real Australian 'Outback'. First time visitors to the 'Outback' are usually stunned by the sheer beauty of the landscape and the lack of pollution. And the colour of the sky, the earth and trees is so vivid, it's almost surreal. A popular destination is Wilpena Pound: a truly remarkable natural amphitheater, ringed by mountains, with the appearance of a giant crater. This part of the trip is an introduction to Aboriginal culture and their art.

Woomera is a famous outback township which, from the mid 1940s, was the centre of Australian and British rocket launching experiments. Today, although the population is much less, NASA continues to launch research rockets into space. For tourists, the main attraction is the excellent Woomera Aircraft and Missile Park and the Woomera Heritage Centre. Apart from the display of well preserved rockets which were launched at Woomera, the centre has a superb collection of Aboriginal artifacts from the area.

Coober Pedy would have to be one of the most unusual and fascinating towns in Australia. It's a opal mining town where the majority of residents live underground to escape the severe summer heat. It looks more like a moonscape than a town. Even the golf course is grassless. The town has a character all of its own and a town full of characters. Take a bust tour around town and be enthralled by the commentary and places to visit like the the town's famous Underground Church.
Alice Springs is Australia's most famous 'Outback' town and a great place to experience the outback spirit, character and Aussie personalities. Often referred to as the red centre, visitors are amazed by the vivid colours of the outback. One can see how this has influenced and inspired the Aboriginal people to paint. Alice has many galleries exhibiting indigenous art. Of course the greatest attraction is the stunning Uluru, and the MacDonnell Ranges that surround Alice. Uluru, also known as Ayres Rock, is simply breathtaking, especially at sunrise and sunset. Watching Uluru, as the sun sets, is a memorable experience and a dream for photographers. Regarded as one of the 'Natural Wonders of the World', this massive monolith stands, majestically, 348 metres high. Any wonder that it is has great cultural significance and considered a sacred site by its indigenous land owners. As one of Australia's greatest tourist attractions and World Heritage listed, it is a "must see".

  The Olgas. 40 kilometres to the west of Uluru, are the equally awesome rock formations, Kata Tjuta - 'many-heads' - in traditional Aboriginal language. Mt Olga is the tallest of the 36 domes and is 200 metres higher than Uluru. It is believed that the Aboriginal people have lived in this area for at least 22,000 years. Visiting both Uluru and Kata Tjuta, one can sense the spiritual nature of these places and better understand why the Aboriginal people consider them to be sacred.

Kings Canyon. Yet another spectacular natural attraction, Kings Canyon is in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta region and well worth a visit. For the hikers, there are four main walking tracks through the Watarrka National Park that vary in distance and degree of difficulty and fitness. The views from the canyon rim are magnificent. A feature of the Park is the unique native flora and fauna, including over 600 different plant species. Stark Ghost Gums against the ochre coloured canyon walls create beautiful photographs.

Palm Valley is located in the Finke Gorge National Park and is truly an oasis in the desert. Here you will find clusters of rare cabbage palms; the species surviving millions of years from when this area was lush tropical forests. The greens and yellows of the foliage contrast beautifully with the ochre walls of the gorge and the deep blue sky. Palm valley is only accessible by 4x4 wheel drive vehicles, so unless you have hired a 4wd motorhome, then book a tour from Alice Springs. Don't miss out on seeing this.

MacDonnell Ranges. Surrounding Alice are the MacDonnell Ranges. Just west of town, Larapinta Drive and Namatjira Drive take you out through the West MacDonnell Ranges to Glen Helen, on the Finke River, 133km from Alice Springs. This is a major tourist route as it goes past some of the most fantastic natural attractions to be seen in Central Australia. Where to begin and how long have you got? It can be done in one day; but you have to start early. Two days are better and more if you really want to explore the region. It's like being a child in a chocolate factory; so many good things to try. If you intend to return to Alice for the night, we recommend you head out early to Glen Helen and then make your way back exploring each attraction along the way. The first thing you will notice, is that because there is no pollution, you can clearly see all the way to the horizon. Mountain ranges, 100km away, seem very close.
Glen Helen Gorge was formed by millions of years of erosion, caused by the Fink River. The locally Aboriginal people call the Fink Larapinta which means 'serpent'. It is a beautiful place with ghost gums, a permanent waterhole and a colony of black-footed rock wallabies.
Ormiston Gorge and Pound National Park feature spectacular scenery. The gorge is so beautiful that it was the subject of a number of paintings by Australia's best known Aboriginal artist: Albert Namatjirai.
Ochre Pits. Past generations of Aboriginal artists used this place to extract ochre pigments from the rock walls for their paintings and ceremonial body decoration. Those raw colours, synonymous with Central Australia, are still dominant in indigenous art.
Serpentine Gorge. As the name implies, the gorge is narrow and winding with semi-permanent waterholes at either end. You have to be prepared for a cold swim to get to the most beautiful area.
Ellery Creek Big Hole is a popular spot for a swim and a picnic. The large waterhole is surrounded by steep cliff walls and the sandy creek bed is great for just lying around, soaking up the sun. Be warned; the water can be very cold yet very refreshing on a hot day.
Standley Chasm is at its stunning best when the midday sun lights up the 80 metre high walls of this very narrow chasm. The intensity and variety of colours in the rock walls has to be seen to be believed.
Simpsons Gap is the closest natural attraction to Alice Springs and well worth visiting around sunset, when the rock walls turn red like Uluru and the black-footed rock wallabies, appear inquisitively from behind rocky outcrops. There is also a bicycle path from Alice Springs.
Trephina Gorge. The East MacDonnell Ranges, while not having as many natural attractions as the West, do have some equally beautiful places to visit, explore, swim and have a picnic. Trephina Gorge is best known for its sheer quartzite cliffs, River Red gums, sandy creek beds and a good place to spot the uncommon black flanked rock wallaby.
Wauchope - Devils Marbles. 400 km north of Alice Springs are a cluster of gigantic granite boulders, considered by the local Aborigines to have been eggs laid by the Rainbow Serpent during the Dreamtime. The Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve is a sacred site to the Aborigines. As with many rock formations in the outback, their colour intensifies to a deep red around sunset and contrasts magnificently against the deep blue sky. Wauchope is a small service town, 10km south of the Devils Marbles.

An hours drive north of the Devils Marbles and 1000 km south of Darwin, Tennant Creek is the only town of any size in the centre of the Northern Territory. Servicing an area roughly the same size as the U.K. or New Zealand, the Barkly Region consists largely of open grass plains with scattered cattle stations, mines and aboriginal communities. Tennant Creek is rich in the history of early explorers; in the construction of the Overland Telegraph Line; and of the 1930's gold rush; but equally rich in Aboriginal culture. The Nyinkka Nyunyu Culture Centre is an award-winning attraction that showcases the Aboriginal people's stories and art.
Katherine is a town steeped in the history and early settlement of the Northern Territory. Today Katherine is a modern town servicing the region, and for tourists using it as a base from which to experience the magic of the 'Top End'. There are a number of attractions in and around town worth visiting such as: the Katherine Museum, Old Train Station, School of the Air and Springvale Homestead. Just out of town are the Cutta Cutta Caves; a limestone formation and home to the almost extinct Golden Horseshoe Bat.

  Katherine Gorge in Nitmiluk National Park. Just 32km out of Katherine is the impressive and very popular Katherine Gorge. It would be more correct to call it Katherine Gorges as it comprises 13 gorges separated by rocks and boulders that become more exposed towards the end of the dry season. The Gorge can be best viewed by cruise boat or by canoe; a quiet way to observe, without disturbing, the wildlife. There are walking trails in the park and lots of spots for a picnic and refreshing swim.

Litchfield National Park is an easy one and a half hours drive from Darwin, with all the major attractions, including 3 major waterfalls, being accessible by sealed roads. These waterfalls are spectacular in the wet season and provide wonderful waterholes, in which to swim, in in the dry season. Other attractions include lush monsoon forests, termite mounds, unusual rock formations, walking trails and shady picnic spots.

Kakadu National Park is almost 20,000 square kilometres in size and is World Heritage listed. This place is of great significance to the Aboriginal people as they believe it was created by their ancestors. It is believed that the Aboriginal people have lived in Kakadu continuously for at least 50,000 years. There are places in the park where you feel this 'spirit'. Walking around the base of Nourlangie Rock can be quite eerie. It's like walking into an empty cathedral - it should be respected by visitors. At the end of the walk is the most staggering cave paintings believed to be amongst the oldest rock paintings in the world. Travelling around Kakadu you can see why it has become one of Australia's top tourist destinations. It is a place of immense natural beauty; teaming with wildlife and plant species. A boat tour on Yellow Waters Billabong is the perfect way to view the amazing number and variety of birds, and to spot saltwater crocodiles. Sunsets from the viewing platform are a photographers dream. There are lots of fantastic, escorted tours from Jabiru; such as 4wd tours to the spectacular Jim Jim Falls and Twin Falls.

Darwin. Having survived devastating cyclones and bombing during World War 2, Darwin emerged as a city with great character and great characters. Darwin still has that energy of a 'frontier' town, yet has a 'laid-back', tropical, 'always-on-holiday' feel. Darwin is a wonderful mixture of indigenous and Asian cultures, evident in the arts, crafts and especially food; all of which can be sampled at the Mindle Beach night markets. No matter whether Darwin is the starting point or end point for your holiday, you need to spend a couple of days here soaking up the tropical atmosphere, visiting museums, galleries; or just having a cold beer in one of Darwin's pubs, getting to know the locals.

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