Lots of our clients say to us “they are leaving Aussie until they are older” – my advice is – don’t! Australia – particularly the Northern Territory and Red Centre is fantastic for the active traveller. Fabulous hiking, camping and activities await you! Kings Canyon was a complete surprise!
We started our Red Centre holiday with a leisurely day and night on the Legendary Ghan Train from Adelaide to Alice Springs. The scenery is pretty constant, you would think it is nothing but desert, but no, it is actually quite bushlike. The Ghan experience was great, excellent food, lazy hours spent in the lounge/bar chatting with other guests and of course the gentle rocking of the train at night which easily sends you off to sleep.
In Alice Springs we rented a car and explored the start of the West MacDonnell ranges. Simpsons Gap and Standleys Chasm were both fantastic and simply inspired us to want to come back and walk the Larapinta trail!
We then drove to Kings Canyon – this is about 5-6 hours of quick easy driving and we arrived in time to do an afternoon walk of Kings Canyon. We spent 3 hours exploring the Canyon and rate it as one of the best walks we have ever done! The scenery is beyond stunning and after a steep climb of around 200 feet, it is an relatively easy walk around the Canyon rim. It was so stunning we got up early in the morning and did the walk again. Definitely better in the afternoon as the setting sun lights up the beautiful red rock – expect to take lots of photos! It can get pretty hot in the middle of the day so hat, sunblock and water are essential!
From here we drove to Ayers Rock (Uluru) another 3 – 4 hours and the highlight was seeing a herd of wild camel on the way. Uluru is without doubt stunning and you can see why it is on every international tourists itinerary! Before visiting Uluru though, we visited The Olgas (Kata Tjuta) and did a walk through “The Valley of the Wind”. The terrain is completely different from Kings Canyon and Uluru and quite unusual. You could easily enjoy a full day exploring The Olgas.
Then it was off to Uluru. From a distance the rock looks very smooth but up close you can see all the valleys and caves that shape it. A walk around the base (10kms) is fantastic. Some people climb Uluru, (much disapproved of by the locals) and I can only imagine how beautiful it is from above. Sunrise provides magnificent colours for the keen photographer, but you need to wrap up warm as in June/July it is seriously cold early in the morning. Most tours will include a champagne sunset tour and many will offer an Outback BBQ under the stars as well.
Ideally it would be great to have 4 – 6 days to explore Alice Springs, Kings Canyon and Ayers Rock and if you are a keen hiker there are lots of “off the beaten track” trails to explore.