Australia South to North–Melbourne to Darwin
Buses and 4×4s and boats – oh my! Is there a better way to explore somewhere new than from a few different vantage points? We didn’t think so either. This 19-day tour allows you to experience Australia from land, water and even underground. (Seriously! Just wait until you get to Coober Pedy.) From Melbourne to Darwin, your itinerary will include amazing stuff like rainforest walks in Great Otway National Park, wine tasting in Clare Valley, awe-inspiring sunsets at Uluru, and even a crocodile-spotting boat cruise.
Rainforest walk in Great Otway NP. Visit to the 12 Apostles, an Aboriginal centre, Tower Hill Reserve and Coorong NP. Clare Valley wine tasting. Underground mine tour. Champagne sunset viewing of Uluru. Mala walk around Uluru and visit to the culture centre. Hikes at Grampians NP, Kata Tjuta (the Olgas), Kings Canyon. Crocodile-spotting boat cruise. Aboriginal art and craft centre visit. Exploration of Kakadu and Litchfield NPs. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
Learn about creation time stories of the Aborigines, catch the magnificent colours of Uluru, hike through gorgeous natural rock formations in the Red Centre, explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kakadu National Park
1. The itinerary and accommodation in both Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks vary depending on the season. We will visit slightly different attractions depending on the weather conditions.
2. This tour is a combination of several G Adventures tours, and your CEO, fellow passengers or vehicle may change between the individual tour sections.
Group Leader Description
This G Adventures group trip is accompanied by one of our group leaders, otherwise known as a Chief Experience Officer (CEO). The CEO will be the group manager, leader and driver – this person is experienced in the routes travelled and will organize and lead the meal preparations and has experience in cooking a variety of local and international dishes for large groups.
As the group coordinator and manager, the aim of the CEO is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. They will also offer suggestions for things to do and to see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends.
We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting – we think it’s the best of both worlds.
Group Size Notes
Max 20, avg 16
Eating is a big part of traveling. Travelling with G Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is cheap. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other’s company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your CEO will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip.
Please note that most included breakfasts will consist of cereal, milk, bread and spreads, juice, tea and instant coffee. Having a simple breakfast together most days allows us the flexibility to get on the road early and get from point A to B all that much faster.
Private bus, 4×4, boat
About our Transportation
Our vans are mini-coaches. Occasionally with smaller group sizes we will use smaller, equally comfortable 13 seater vehicles. All Mini Coaches tow a trailer for luggage and camping equipment (when needed). All groups have one CEO/Driver.
The vehicles are factory built, with comfortable seats and air-conditioning. They are fitted with seat belts and it is mandatory to wear them.
Hostels (10 nts), swag camping (7 nts), underground hostel (1 nt). All nights multi-share.
Accommodation will be varied throughout your adventure. When camping on this tour, you will be provided with an Aussie ’swag’—a canvas bedroll with built-in padding and perfect for a night under the stars. Towels and soap are not always provided at overnight stops, so it’s best to bring your own for bathing. Bathroom and showering facilities are shared and are very rarely en-suite.
Multi-share accommodation, on a single-sex basis (typically 4-6 people per room), is very common in Australia and is the way you will be spending most of your nights. We have specifically chosen unique accommodations to give local flavour to your trip.
Couples: Please note that due to the types of accommodation used in Australia, couples will likely be split into separate rooms where we use multi-share hostels. Pending availability, couples may be able to pay extra while on tour to have their own room in some destinations.
1. By Taxi: Approximately $70, and it is 35km to the joining hotel.
2. SKYBUS, $16 per person: A 24-hour service from the airport to the Southern Cross train station in the city centre. From here, check in at the Skybus Hotel Transfer Service booth and a SkyBus mini-bus will drop you at the hostel.
Should you need to contact G Adventures during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call our local office in Melbourne. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so we may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Local Office (Melbourne)
During office hours, 9am-5pm Local Time
From outside Australia: +61 3 9413 5820
From within Australia: 03 9413 5820
After office hours emergency number
From outside Australia: +61 432 705 621
From within Australia: 0432 705 621
If you are unable for any reason to contact our local operations manager, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
What to Take
You will be on the move a lot, so our advice is to pack as lightly as possible. We recommend the use of a well-labeled duffel bag, soft bag or backpack (whichever you find easiest to carry). Suitcases or heavy luggage are not recommended for the health of the CEO! A good size day-pack (20-35L) is also essential as you will have the chance to walk and hike in different national parks during these trips. This daypack will be used to carry your personal gear for the day, your lunch and a water bottle.
For days in the outdoors, we recommend the use of lightweight, breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics made of wool or synthetic fibers. Cotton is not recommended for days spent hiking as it does not allow for heat or moisture to enter or escape, and it will not dry easily once wet.
•Passport (with photocopies)
•Travel insurance (with photocopies)
•Airline tickets (with photocopies)
•Credit or debit card (see personal spending money)
•G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and dossier
•Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
-Sleeping bag/sleep sheet
-Travel pillow (optional)
•Light fleece top
•Light windproof/waterproof jacket
•Sturdy walking shoes
•Watch or alarm clock
•Flashlight or headlamp
•Camera, memory card(s) and charger
•Electricity plug adapter
-Camera with extra memory cards and batteries
-Waterproof backpack cover
All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity). Contact your local embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent. It is your own responsibility to have the correct travel documentation. Visa requirements for your trip will vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. We keep the following information up to date as far as possible, but rules do change and sometimes without warning. While we provide the following information in good faith, it is vital that you check the information yourself and understand that you are fully responsible for your own visa requirements.
A valid passport and visa is required. For some nationalities, the visa can be issued by your Travel Agency or the Australian Embassy via Electronic Travel Authority (ETA).
To apply for an ETA online, travellers must hold a passport from one of the following countries:
- Brunei – Darussalam
- Hong Kong
- South Korea
- United States
More information about the ETA and how to apply can be found here:
If you do not hold a passport from any of the above countries, you cannot apply for an ETA online. You may be eligible to apply for an ETA through a travel agent, airline or an Australian visa office. Alternatively, you may be eligible to apply for other types of electronic visitor visas. See: www.immi.gov.au
The Australian currency is the Australian Dollar (AUD).
Credit cards are accepted almost everywhere in Australia and can be used to purchase small and large items. When purchasing products or services with a foreign credit card you may be charged additional fees by your credit card company for foreign purchases.
Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances but you must remember to bring your PIN number (be aware that many ATM machines only accept 4-digit PINs). Both Cirrus and Plus system cards are the most widely accepted debit cards. Both Visa and Master Cards are the most widely accepted credit cards. While ATMs are commonly available, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work check with your bank before you travel. A visit to an ATM can be arranged on Day 1 and other days of the trip.
Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of local currency (preferably smaller bills, 5’s, 10’s and 20’s), traveller’s cheques and credit cards is best. Currency exchange is best obtained prior to travel or at the airport, currency exchange is easy to find in Australia in the gateway cities and most banks do accommodate.
Always take more rather than less, as you don’t want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.
As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com
It is not customary in New Zealand or Australia to tip service providers, but if you do experience outstanding service it is good to do so. Such service would only usually be in places like quality restaurants and it would be very rare that you would tip more than 10%. Unless specifically asked to do so at the time (by your CEO) – do not tip your local guides. Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures Chief Experience Officer did an outstanding job, you may consider a small tip – but it certainly isn’t expected.
OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES ON TOUR
Yarra Valley Wine Tour $110-130
Phillip Island Day Tour $110-140
12 APOSTLES – Great Ocean Road
Helicopter ride = $100
60 min Fixed wing flight over Lake Eyre or the Painted Hills- $150
Camel Rides $15-$20
Harley-Davidson Ride around Uluru w/ photo stops (1 hour tour) – $150.00
Tour including 60 min camel ride (2.5 hrs in total) – $119
Camel Ride (45 mins) – $75
Helicopter Flight w/ a lap around Uluru (15 mins) – $150
Helicopter Flight w/ a lap around Uluru and Kata Tjuta (30 mins) – $285
Helicopter Flight including Kings Creek Station and Kings Canyon (30 mins) – $275.00
Helicopter flight including Kings Creek Station only (5-8 mins) – $60.00
Quad Bike Ride around the Cattle Station (1 hr) – $100.00
Camel Ride (15 min) – $20
Alice Springs Camel Farm – camel ride (30 minute) – $35.00 pp
Royal Flying Doctors Service Museum w/ tour – $12.00
Alice Springs Desert Park. Return transfer w/ A.S accommodation. Includes entry and shows throughout day – $40.00 approx.
All prices are per person, in AUD amounts and are subject to change as services are provided by third party operators. Please note there may be weight restrictions on certain activities (eg skydiving 100 – 110 kg).
Safety and Security
Trip Specific Safety
Between November and March, there is extreme heat with temperatures averaging between 43-46°C in the middle of Australia, especially around Uluru and Kings Canyon. This can lead to heat exhaustion and potentially become very dangerous. Be sure to drink plenty of water and replenish electrolytes by drinking sports drinks, coconut water or water mixed with electrolyte powder packets. Our CEOs have been trained in first aid and are well-versed in the risks associated with this heat.
As a result of this heat some included walks may be closed in the interests of travellers health. Certain walks around central Australia including Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon are closed when weather is forecast to exceed 36°C. During these hot months, we will endeavour to offer all walks early in the day to avoid the heat. Our CEOs will monitor the weather conditions to gauge the safety of any included walks and may need to call off a given day’s walk due to extreme heat.
Our small group adventures bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, as a minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility’ is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travellers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage at a minimum. Travellers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travellers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our CEOs work hard to ensure that all our travellers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day’s activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings in this Trip Details document for more information.
The medical questionnaire can be found online at:
A Couple of Rules
Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation
Travel Forum - The Watering Hole
Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides.
Allow USD345-450 for meals not included.
15 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 6 dinners
PRODUCT_LINE: OAMD, ID: 24389
Terms, conditions and restrictions apply; pricing, availability, and other details subject to change and/ or apply to US or Canadian residents. Please confirm details and booking information with your travel advisor.
Day 1 Melbourne
There are no planned activities during the day, so check into the hotel and explore the city. If you arrive early enough, you’ll have time to head into the city take in the ‘cultural capital of Australia’.
Please try to arrive before 7pm for an important group welcome meeting where you can meet the Chief Experience Officer (CEO) and the other group members.
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Day 2 Melbourne/Port Campbell (1B)
Depart early morning for the journey to Port Campbell. Check out the famous surf towns of Torquay, Bells Beach and Lorne en route. Make a stop at Great Otway NP for an included rainforest walk. Explore the scenic attractions of the Great Ocean Road including the picturesque 12 Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge.
12 Apostles Visit
Loch Ard Gorge Visit
Private Vehicle (5.00 hour(s), 300km)
Day 3 Port Campbell/Halls Gap (1B)
Start the day visiting more attractions of the Great Ocean Road including The Arch and the now broken London Bridge. Visit Tower Hill State Game Reserve for a chance to see animals endemic to Australia such as koalas, emus and kangaroos. Opt to visit an Aboriginal Cultural Centre to learn about the significance of the area to the indigenous people. End the day with an evening walk in the Grampians NP.
London Arch Visit
Tower Hill State Game Reserve Visit
Private Vehicle (3.00 hour(s), 260km)
Day 4 Halls Gap/Mount Gambier (1B)
Early start to explore more of Grampians NP. Walk to the stunning Jaws of Death Balconies, visit MacKenzie’s Falls, and travel onto the country town of Mount Gambier. We stay at a refurbished old English prioson for the night; take a self-guided tour around this historic site.
Grampians National Park Walk
The Balconies (Jaws of Death) Visit
MacKenzie Falls Visit
Private Vehicle (4.00 hour(s), 310km)
Day 5 Mount Gambier/Adelaide (1B)
Stop off at Blue Lake before travelling through Coorong NP. This park is stunning because of its dune systems, lagoons, coastal vegetation and variety of bird life. Continue on to Adelaide.
New travellers may join you for the rest of your adventure. You are welcome to join them at a group meeting this evening, followed by an optional dinner.
Blue Lake Visit
Coorong National Park Visit
Private Vehicle (4.00 hour(s), 330km)
Day 6 Adelaide/Quorn (1B)
Hit the road in the morning. Travel through the Clare Valley wine area, making a stop for a wine tasting to learn about the different grape varietals and the development of the vineyards in the area. Travel to the town of Quorn for the night.
Private Vehicle (4.00 hour(s), 350km)
Day 7 Quorn/Beltana (1B, 1L, 1D)
Take the day to explore the amazing scenery of Flinders Ranges.
Wilpena Pound Hike
Private Vehicle (1.00 hour(s), 50km)
Day 8 Beltana/William Creek (1B, 1L, 1D)
We follow the Oodnadatta Track, strewn with ruins of failed early settler activity, along the route of the equally unsuccessful original Ghan Railway route. Visit the dry salt lake of Lake Eyre and take a dip in the remote thermal springs.
Private Vehicle (3.00 hour(s), 200km)
Day 9 William Creek/Coober Pedy (1B)
Travel to the unique opal mining town of Coober Pedy, where people live underground to avoid the heat. A guided mine tour gives insight to the mining process and the importance of opal to the area. Overnight like the locals by sleeping in an underground hostel, a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Guided Mine Tour
Private Vehicle (3.00 hour(s), 150km)
Day 10 Coober Pedy/Uluru (1B)
Cross the border to the Northern Territory, where Australia’s most iconic view awaits. Experience the colourful sunset at Uluru while enjoying a glass of bubbly. Marvel at the night sky while bunking down in a swag (canvas bedroll) for the night.
Uluru at Sunset
Private Vehicle (9.00 hour(s), 750km)
Day 11 Uluru (1B, 1L, 1D)
The next morning, awake before sunrise to do the Mala Walk around part of the base of Uluru (Ayers Rock) while learning its significance to the local Aborigines. Visit the cultural centre to get a better understanding of the area.
Uluru Mala Walk
Aboriginal Cultural Centre Visit
Day 12 Uluru/Kings Creek (1B, 1L, 1D)
Travel to the rock formations of Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) and, heat permitting, walk through the Valley of the Winds to explore the surrounding area before continuing onto Kings Creek. Enjoy another night under the stars the traditional way, by sleeping in a swag (canvas bedroll).
Opt to take a scenic helicopter flight over the area.
Valley of the Winds Walk
Private Vehicle (5.00 hour(s), 450km)
Day 13 Kings Creek/Alice Springs (1B)
Take in the scenery or go on a 4km (2.5 mi) walk through the gorges and valleys of Kings Canyon of Watarrka National Park. Travel to Alice Springs via the homestead of Erldunda. Spend the night in a centrally-located hostel in Alice Springs.
Private Vehicle (4.50 hour(s), 375km)
Day 14 Alice Springs
Enjoy a free day to explore Alice Springs.
Day 15 Alice Springs/Daly Waters (1L)
Take in the vastness of the Northern Territory and travel north via the Devils Marbles – giant red granite boulders that are a sacred site to Aboriginals. Finish the day at Daly Waters and grab a drink at the local Outback pub teeming with character.
We spend approx 12 hours on the road today, stopping off in Daly Waters for the night. Make sure to grab a drink or two at the famous local pub in this small Outback town.
Private Vehicle (12.00 hour(s), 920km)
Day 16 Daly Waters/Darwin (1B)
Continue north, stopping at beautiful Katherine Gorge for a visit en route to Darwin. Opt to walk the stunning Katherine Gorge or get adventurous with a flat-bottomed boat or helicopter flight over the gorge.
Availability of optional activities may change depending on the season.
Mataranka Hot Springs Visit
Private Vehicle (4.00 hour(s), 300km)
Private Vehicle (4.00 hour(s), 350km)
Day 17 Darwin/Kakadu National Park (1L, 1D)
Continue travelling north, stopping at Edith Falls. Explore the waterfalls, swimming holes and trails of Kakadu National Park—a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Gunlom Falls Visit
4×4 (3.50 hour(s), 250km)
Day 18 Kakadu National Park/Litchfield National Park (1B, 1L, 1D)
Continue exploring Kakadu NP, stopping off at sacred rock art galleries. Head towards Litchfield National Park, stopping to spot crocs on a boat cruise.
We overnight just outside of Kakadu NP. Depending on weather, sleep in a swag under the stars or a hut if raining.
Bowali Visitor Centre Visit
Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre Visit
Ubirr Rock Art
Private Vehicle (3.00 hour(s), 200km)
Day 19 Litchfield National Park/Darwin (1B, 1L)
Guided tour in Litchfield National Park to encounter streams, rock formations and the impressive magnetic termite mounds. Tour ends in Darwin upon arrival in the evening.
Litchfield National Park Visit
Departure Day (Activities)
Crocodile-Spotting Boat Cruise
Private Vehicle (5.00 hour(s), 350km)