ALBURY—SYDNEY – ALICE SPRINGS MONDAY 15TH AUGUST
Welcome! Group to assemble at Albury Airport 5.15am for our flight to Sydney departing 6.35am QF2202—the start of our fabulous tour to the Red Centre of Australia. On arrival in Sydney at 7.50am make our way to the QANTAS Domestic Terminal for our 9.25am QF0790 flight to Alice Springs. Arriving at 12.05pm we are met by our Martins Coach Captain and Coach. From the airport we head into town and arrive at the Royal Flying Doctor Base. This base was established in 1928 by Reverend John Flynn. His vision was to provide a 'mantle of safety' for the isolated communities of inland Australia. Using air links and radio, the service provided medical aid to people living, working and travelling in the outback. Today it operates 21 bases and covers more than 7,150,000 square kilometres. The Alice Springs base was opened in 1939 to provide emergency and preventative medicine to outlying communities and stations throughout Central Australia. We have lunch at the Base Café on arrival, then take a tour of the base. This afternoon we will be introduced to “the Alice” with a stop at ANZAC Hill for some panoramic views of the town and the surrounding area. Next is the Old Telegraph Station and finally we check into our accommodation and have some free time to relax and maybe take a swim in the pool.
Accommodation: Crowne Plaza (3 nights) Alice Springs Ph: 08 8950 7777
WESTERN MACDONNELL RANGES TUESDAY 16TH AUGUST
We have a great day in store, as we explore the majestic Western MacDonnell Ranges. The natural beauty in this area is outstanding! Our first stop this morning is at Simpsons Gap before morning tea at the Hermannsburg Historic Precinct, with time to look through the restored buildings and various artworks on display and for sale. Our touring then takes us past Gosse Bluff, with a stop at the lookout to take in the views below and then onto Glen Helen Homestead Lodge which overlooks the Glen Helen Gorge. This afternoons scenery is breathtaking as we call into Ormiston Gorge and arrive back into Alice Springs to enjoy dinner and complete our sightseeing day of the Western MacDonnell’s.
ALICE SPRINGS WEDNESDAY 17TH AUGUST
There is still a lot to see in this area and our first stop today is at the Alice Springs Desert Park. This is a very special place and as we take the time to walk slowly through the displays we gain a good understanding of this region with its highlights and challenges. Late morning, we arrive at Standley Chasm and take a self-guided walk to appreciate the natural beauty in this part of Australia. We have lunch here and then return to the hotel for some free time to relax. Late afternoon we will be heading to the National Road Transport Hall of Fame. Alice Springs is the traditional birthplace of the roadtrain. Take a history lesson on how Australia's tough terrain broke the best vehicles the world could throw at it; of how war at Australia's doorstep brought mechanisation and development to this nation - and Central Australia in particular; and how a unique breed of road transport pioneer used improvisation, innovation, ingenuity, common sense and sheer will to carve a road transport network from stark wilderness and to give us an industry that has been the nucleus and backbone of Australia's development.
Our dinner tonight is something a little different and very unique to the Outback. Just 15 minutes out of Alice is The Earth Sanctuary – a World Nature Centre at Quandong Homestead. Tonight we enjoy a mouth-watering bush BBQ with music and entertainment to experience the spirit of the outback through stories of the aboriginal dreamtime. We even learn how to cook a swagman’s damper!
ALICE SPRINGS – KINGS CANYON THURSDAY 18TH AUGUST
We have a relaxed breakfast before departing alice springs mid-morning. At Erldunda Roadhouse we have an early lunch before making our way to Kings Canyon in the Watarrka National Park. Watarrka is an aboriginal word that refers to the umbrella bush that is abundant here. The spectacular scenery, a permanent waterhole surrounded by palms known as the Garden of Eden and the Lost City combine to make Kings Canyon a most remarkable place.
Accommodation: Kings Canyon Resort Ph: 08 8956 7442
KINGS CANYON – ULURU FRIDAY 19TH AUGUST
An early start today as we head into Kings Canyon for a walk. The more energetic of us can explore the Canyon on the Ridge Top Walk or those of us who prefer a less active time can take the shorter walk into the floor of the canyon. We enjoy a light lunch at Kings Creek Station, before continuing to Uluru. As we travel west through the desert country, dotted with spinifex and desert oaks, Mt Conner will be on our left. This sandstone mesa is often confused with Ayers Rock. Arrive into Yulara and check into our accommodation with some free time to relax and enjoy the facilities. This evening prior to sunset, we are in for a special treat, a unique outback experience. We will be seeing internationally acclaimed artist Bruce Munro’s once in a lifetime staging of The Field of Light. This is the biggest Field of Light exhibition to date and is held at Uluru, where we have the chance to wander through 50,000 slender stems crowned with frosted-glass spheres that will bloom as darkness falls over Australia’s spiritual heartland. This display is for a limited time, making the experience that much more memorable. Take in the sunset viewing of Ayers Rock first whilst having a drink and canapes, then enjoy this special experience before returning to the resort for slightly later dinner.
Accommodation: Desert Gardens Hotel (2 nights) Ayers Rock Resort Ph: 02 8957 7714
MORE OF ULURU SATURDAY 20TH AUGUST
For the very early risers, at around 6.00am the coach will depart for the Sunrise Viewing Area to experience the first glimpse of the day and some brilliant photo opportunities. For those not wanting such an early morning, there will be breakfast at the resort restaurant. Mid-morning we return to the National Park and arrive at the rock for the Ranger-Guided Mala Walk. Learn about Aboriginal perceptions of Uluru, its powerful spiritual significance and how Anangu Traditional Owners and Rangers are looking after the Park together. We can enjoy some free time back at the resort to purchase lunch, then this afternoon head straight to the Olgas, called by the Aboriginal people, ‘Kata Tjuta’ or ‘place of many domes’. There are excellent views from an observation deck then plenty of time for a walk among the ancient domes. Once at the Valley of the Winds lookout, we take some time to gaze out over the central valley of Kata Tjuta before returning to the Ayers Rock Resort.
YULARA – COOBER PEDY SUNDAY 21ST AUGUST
Our destination today is Coober Pedy – the well known opal town in the far north of South Australia. We make our way back to ‘the track” (Stuart Highway) and head south.
Late afternoon we arrive at Coober Pedy. This will be our base for the next 2 nights, as we discover this fascinating and remote opal mining town.
Accommodation: The Desert Cave Hotel Coober Pedy Ph: 08 8672 5688
EXPLORING COOBER PEDY MONDAY 22ND AUGUST
First time visitors to Coober Pedy will be fascinated. About 80% of the population lives underground. Outside temperature can rise to 50°C in summer—and has been known to rise to 60°C! To most outsiders the idea of living underground sounds terribly primitive. In fact the houses here, which have been built underground, are as good as any built above ground. The floors are tiled and the mechanical equipment which digs out the rooms, leave attractive patterns in the red and white walls which are sealed to prevent dust and decay. There is certainly no likelihood of a sudden cave-in. A good, new underground house in Coober Pedy with five rooms can be constructed by a tunnelling machine for around $25,000. Our host from the Umoona Opal Mine and Museum will show us around today. Highlights of the day will be an opal cutting demonstration, the tour of an underground house and a mine tour. From the Big Winch Lookout we will enjoy some sensational views of Coober Pedy. We will call at an underground church, see the Coober Pedy Golf Course (the only one in the world with reciprocal rights to Saint Andrews in Scotland!) and visit the stunning Breakaways.
COOBER PEDY – PORT AUGUSTA TUESDAY 23RD AUGUST
After an early breakfast drive south through Glendambo to Pimba and Woomera just 90 kms south of the huge mining operation at Olympic Dam. The Woomera Rocket Range carried out 3,000 missile and rocket launches during its 30 years of operation. Since its beginning in 1947 undoubtedly the most ambitious and probably most expensive project was sponsored by the European Launcher Development Organisation which, amongst other things, was to place European communication satellites into orbit making Woomera a household name. On arrival we enjoy lunch at the Woomera Heritage Centre, which will give us a fascinating insight into the Woomera Rocket Range. This afternoon we continue to Port Augusta at the head of the Spencer Gulf.
Accommodation: Standpipe Golf Motor Inn Port Augusta Ph: 08 8642 4033
PORT AUGUSTA – WENTWORTH WEDNESDAY 24TH AUGUST
From Port Augusta we follow the Spencer Gulf south to Port Pirie, then head inland to Burra for our morning stop. Here we can stretch our legs and purchase some morning tea from one of the bakeries in town. This afternoon sees us crossing the Murray River several times throughout the South Australian Riverland region before we arrive in Wentworth for our final night stay.
Accommodation: Wentworth Grande Resort Wentworth Ph: 03 5027 2225
After breakfast this morning start our journey home. Travel via the Sturt Highway to Euston and Balranald, then continue to Moulamein stopping enroute for lunch break and comfort stops. For our last leg of our tour return to our home destination with memories of the Red Centre and new friends to complete a sensational tour.B
$5825.00 Per Person Twin/Double Share
$7078.00 Single Supplement
B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner
$5825.00 Per Person Twin/Double Share
$7078.00 Single Supplement
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