Adelaide to Alice Springs Overland
Travel into Australia’s magnificent Red Centre on this Overland journey from Adelaide. From the orange-rock spires of Warren Gorge, to the underground mining town of Coober Pedy and the towering domes of Kata Tjuta, make your way through some iconic Outback sights on your way to Alice Springs. See opal-cutting demonstrations, meet the furry residents of a kangaroo orphanage, and learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander spiritual beliefs on a guided walk at Uluru as you discover more about this breathtaking Australian region.
Finish: Alice Springs
Ages: 18 - 99
Theme: Explorer, Overland
Accommodation: Hotel (2 nights), Underground Multishare (1 night), Permanent Tented camp with shared facilities (3 nights)
Destination: Alice Springs
Welcome to South Australia, where your adventure begins. You’ll be picked up from the YHA Adelaide at 8.30 am and head to the culinary epicentre of the State’s capital, the Adelaide Central Market. We’ll meander through the markets to collect some local produce to enjoy a little later in the day. Next, visit Australia’s Aboriginal Cultural Institute, Tandanya. The First Nation precinct provides a wonderful opportunity to experience both traditional and contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art. Leave South Australia’s capital behind and head north to the Clare Valley, home to some of the country’s best wines. Perhaps purchase a bottle (or two!) and pair it with your delicious lunch. After lunch enjoy expansive views of the Flinders Ranges as you drive towards Wilpena Pound, a natural amphitheatre of rocky mountains. Experience the sunset at Wilpena Pound before settling into your accommodation for the night.
It’s an early (but worthwhile) start this morning as you enjoy a short and leisurely walk along one of the many tracks in Flinders National Park. Spanning a massive 450 km, you won’t be able to cover it all, but your guide will choose the best trail for your group, depending on the time of year. Travel to the site of the Yourambulla Caves where you’ll have the opportunity to view some Aboriginal rock art before stopping for lunch at Quorn. Spend the afternoon enjoying a couple of walks. Warren Gorge provides stunning ochre rock faces that complement the blue skies. Keep your eyes peeled for the very well camouflaged local rock wallabies. Tonight, you’ll stay in the quintessential South Australian town of Quorn.
Leave Quorn in the rearview mirror and head to Coober Pedy, the ‘opal capital of the world’. Due to extremely hot temperatures in the area most of the town is constructed underground, with residents living in homes carved into the hillsides. Upon arrival take a guided tour of the town, an underground house and the opal mine (with n opal-cutting demonstration). The rest of the afternoon is free to explore. You may even like to try your hand at 'noodling' (fossicking) for opals. End the day with some rescued joeys at Josephine’s Gallery and Kangaroo Orphanage. Tonight, stay in a multi-share underground bunkhouse in Coober Pedy.
We’ll be honest, there’s a fair bit of driving today. From Coober Pedy travel past the Dingo Fence and Breakaways Reserve, and into the Northern Territory. Be prepared to ‘hold on’ as your guide hits the indicator on the vehicle for the first time, leaving the Stuart Highway and turning left onto the Lasseter Highway towards Uluru. Make sure you have your phone fully charged and your neck cushion handy!
Rise early this morning and be rewarded with a glorious Uluru sunrise. While the day is still fresh, enjoy a walk around the base of this incredible sandstone formation, which is of great spiritual significance to the Anangu people. Walk to the cave paintings near Mutitjulu Waterhole at the base of Uluru where you will be in the hands of an Anangu guide who will share the stories of this unique landscape. This exclusive experience will give you an insight to the meaning behind Anangu art and traditional culture. The onsite Cultural Centre also houses an extensive collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and crafts for you to browse. Head back to camp for lunch.
Today, explore one of the Red Centre's greatest treasures, Kata Tjuta, a group of domed red rocks rising spectacularly out of the desert. Like Uluru, they’re sacred to the Anangu people and are believed to be 600 million years old. Return to camp for lunch before travelling to Watarrka National Park (Kings Canyon). Spend the night in an exclusive campsite inside the park.
With its 300-metre high sandstone walls, hidden waterholes, fern forests, chasms, canyons and caverns, Watarrka National Park is central Australia’s answer to an oasis. The highlight attractions here are the Garden of Eden, the Amphitheatre and the Lost City – all sites you’ll get to visit on the Rim Walk. Following lunch, it’s back on the road for the onward drive to Alice Springs, where this adventure concludes.
- Kings Canyon Rim Walk
YHA Adelaide departing 06.30am
135 Waymouth Street
Central Alice Springs accommodation
To get the most out of this trip you need to be prepared for walks of between 3-9 km on some days. This may be on rough ground and perhaps getting feet wet in rivers and creeks. From Oct to March in the Red Centre, West Coast, and South of Australia you will experience temperatures of over 35 degrees Celsius (and sometimes well into the 40’s) so be prepared to endure extra physical stress due to the heat at these times, especially while on walks. In the Top End of Australia (Kimberley and Kakadu) temperatures in the shoulder months of April, May and September, October humidity levels can be high and sometimes slightly uncomfortable.
These extreme outside temperatures can also place stress on the air-conditioning units within our vehicles which can make travelling uncomfortable. Your tour guide will assist with regular breaks and information to assist in keeping well hydrated.
1. Tour commences in Adelaide on day 1 at 8.30 am from Adelaide Central YHA (135 Waymouth St)
2. For the Kings Canyon Rim Walk it is a requirement that you have a minimum of 3 litres of water with you. Please consider bringing your own refillable water bottles.
3. Tour finishes in Alice Springs on Day 7 at approximately 6 pm. All onward travel must be booked for the following day.
4. A strict luggage limit of 15 kg applies.
5. A single supplement is available for this trip. It excludes Day 3 in Coober Pedy which is mixed gender multishare accommodation.
All group trips are accompanied by a group leader. In Australia your group leader is also your driver, taking you from start to finish in a specialised vehicle. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Yor leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, organise the camp and cooking for camp or kitchen cooked meals (though passengers are required to help out) as well as recommend great local eating venues. They will also introduce you to our local friends along the way. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the areas visited on the trip, including historical, environmental, cultural and social aspects.
REMOTE AREA TRAVEL:
We carry a satellite phone on all of our remote/overland trips to be used by our leaders in the event of an emergency and for your safety. In addition, all of our leaders are First Aid trained and certified.
Daytime temperatures can be extreme from Oct to March with temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius. Please bring a large refillable water bottle. We strongly recommend the use of dehydration salts and sports drinks as a way to combat dehydration during times of extreme heat.
Rip currents are the leading surf hazard for all beach users. They can occur at any beach, and can sweep even the strongest swimmer out to sea. Rip currents are responsible for around 15,000 beach rescues and up to 120 people being drowned each year in Australia (source: Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA).
To enjoy Australia's beaches safely, take the following simple precautions:
* Always swim between the red and yellow flags, as these indicate it is a supervised location where a lifesaving service is currently on duty.
* Do not swim at unsupervised locations.
* Observe and obey safety signage, which indicates current and typical hazards for that location.
* Ask a lifeguard or lifesaver for advice on conditions; they are there to make your experience safer and more enjoyable.
* Always swim with a friend; never swim alone.
* If you get into trouble, stay calm and signal for help by calling and waving your arm above your head.
Be aware of your own limitations in terms of your physical health and your swimming ability in the given conditions. Never swim while, or after, consuming alcohol.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.
All travellers, except New Zealand citizens, must obtain a visa or travel authority before travelling to Australia. Failure to do so means you may not be allowed to board your flight to Australia. Most nationalities can obtain an Electronic Travel Authority via the internet before arrival. Please check the following website or with your relevant Australian visa issuing office for your nationalities requirements. http://www.eta.immi.gov.au/
Why we love it
Discover the real southern and central Australia on an epic road trip. Like a true Australian drover, spend your nights camping in a swag under the southern sky.
Immerse yourself in First Nations cultures with experiences including witnessing cave paintings near Mutitjulu Waterhole at the base of Uluru and viewing Aboriginal rock art at Yourambulla Caves.
See the best of Australia’s iconic Red Centre on guided walks around Uluru, Kings Canyon and the ancient red domes of Kata Tjuta.
Journey into the heart of the stunning Flinders Ranges and take an easy hike around Wilpena Pound, a natural amphitheatre of rocky mountains.
'Noodle' for opals, hang out with some rescued joeys and spend the night in a subterranean bunker in the Outback town of Coober Pedy.
Is this trip right for you
Temperatures in the Red Centre can be extreme. During the day the weather can be very hot (and the Australian sun is very strong) so please bring appropriate clothing, use sun protection and drink plenty of water. In the evenings temperatures really drop, so bring base layers and warm clothing.
This trip requires a moderate level of fitness as it involves a lot of walking, allowing you to really get among nature. Please bring sturdy, comfortable walking shoes and comfortable clothing.
On most days of the trip, you’ll spend several hours driving through very sparse areas of desert. Crank up the tunes and sit back to enjoy landscapes that you would miss in any other form of travel.
When you stay underground in Coober Pedy the accommodation may be mixed-gender multishare.
Group participation makes up a lot of this trip, so you'll be required to help with preparation of meals and cleaning up. These are the kind of tasks that bring a group closer together.
All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
Food and dietary requirements
On most days, breakfast, lunch and dinner will be included.
Our tours are activity and participation based. During your travels with us you will have the opportunity to assist with daily activities such as setting up camp, helping prepare meals and clearing dishes. None of this is difficult however many hands make light work and any assistance provided to crew is always much appreciated. Most people agree that this type of activity helps you feel like less of a tourist and more of an explorer.
All food for this trip is purchased and packed prior to your group leaving on day one. After we’ve left town it can be very difficult to source special dietary requests.
Travellers with special dietary requirements or food allergies are required to advise us at the time of booking.
You may be asked to pay for any additional food if you have not advised us of any special dietary requirements. Due to the often remote nature of our trips, food is basic but plentiful and delicious.
The below dietary needs can be easily catered for.
Dairy Free (soy available )
Please bring your own staples (nuts, bars, snacks) if you require a diet differing from the above.
* Religious and more specific dietary requirements are generally unable to be catered for on these trips.
NOTE: For those passengers commencing their trip in Yulara, lunch will not be provided on day one.
When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).
Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.
What to take
What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances.
Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, camera, and jacket etc. when you’re exploring during the day.
Please keep your luggage to a minimum. Due to limited space and strictly enforced road laws regarding weight limits, Intrepid travellers can carry a maximum of 15 kg. One small soft-sided bag plus a day pack is essential. We recommend against bringing hard/externally framed suitcases as they are difficult to store and can damage equipment and other travellers' belongings. If your trip is beginning and ending at the same location, excess luggage can usually be stored at your arrival/departure hotel and can be collected after your trip. If your trip does not return to the same starting point we suggest you look at freighting your excess luggage. One option is with greyhound: http://www.greyhoundfreight.com.au/
Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. For the Kings Canyon Rim Walk it is a requirement that you have a minimum of 3 litres of water with you.The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments.
SLEEPING BAG & MAT:
Comfortable sleeping mats are provided when camping.
If you are travelling on a Basix style trip please bring a travel pillow and sleeping bag or pre-purchase a sleeping bag from us. If you do not wish to keep your sleeping bag we will return them to our Operations Department, where they will be washed and donated to local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
If you are travelling on an Original style trip all linen and bedding is provided, so no sleeping bag is required.
Below are some ideas and helpful tips on what you specifically need for this trip.
Below are some ideas and helpful tips on what you specifically need for this trip.
- Lightweight clothing. You will need to bring a mixture of lightweight clothing and layers. Long shirts and pants are useful to protect against the harsh Australian sun. Clothes should be easy to wash and dry.
- During the winter months of June / July / August temperatures in the Red Centre can drop to 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit) overnight so it’s important to also have some warm layers
- Comfortable closed-in shoes will help to protect your feet from cuts and scratches when walking through bush/grass-lands, and will also act as a barrier protection in rare cases against bites or stings.
- Sun protection - hat, sunscreen, sunglasses
- Personal medical kit. A larger kit will be on hand with your guide, but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes, Band-Aids and insect repellent.
- Water bottle. We recommend at least a 1.5litre capacity.
- A headlamp or torch is recommended for around your accommodation at night.
- Camera with spare batteries.
- Sleep sheet. If you are travelling during the hot season you may wish to pack a sleep sheet so you will be comfortable no matter what the weather.
- Ear plugs
- A good book, a journal and music player
Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables. We strongly recommend that you photocopy all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary.
Most of our trips have access to power to recharge batteries for phones and cameras every couple of days. We always recommend that you carry an extra battery for your camera just in case. Your vehicle will be equipped with a 12 volt “cigarette lighter” socket which may be used at the crew’s discretion, however, do bear in mind that only one piece of equipment can be charged at a time and it will not be allowed if there is a risk of running the vehicle’s batteries low. Batteries may also be recharged from hotel room wall sockets. Hotels and many campsites have electricity and charging of batteries is advised before checking out the following day.
If you need some further tips for packing, you can always check out our ultimate packing list.
Climate and seasonal
Please note that some of our planned activities are contingent on seasonal conditions. We will arrange alternative activities if this is the case. This is a flexible itinerary and may be altered to allow for better times to view certain inclusions depending on sunset/sunrise and weather conditions.
From October to March it is likely that you will experience temperatures of over 35 degrees Celsius, and sometimes well into the 40’s. Be prepared to endure extra physical stress due to the heat at these times, especially while on walks. These extreme temperatures can also place stress on the air-conditioning units within our vehicles which can make travelling uncomfortable. Your tour guide will assist with regular breaks and information to assist keeping hydrated. In July and August, very cold temperatures can be experienced in the outback, especially overnight. Please come prepared for all extremes.
The Oodnadatta Track is an unsealed dirt road, and conditions of the track depend heavily on weather. In the case that the road is deemed unsafe to drive on, or there is a possibility that sections of the track will close after we have commenced driving on the track, our Operations team reserves the right to alter the itinerary and take a different route. If, for safety reasons, the decision is made not to travel on the track, days 2 and 3 will be a variation of the below:
Day 2 – Parachina Gorge | Hawker | Flinders Ranges Hike | overnight Quorn multishare (BLD)
Day 3 – Port Augusta | Coober Pedy via Stuart Highway | Josephine’s Gallery | Coober Pedy town and underground tour, noodling for opals, opal cutting demonstration | overnight underground bunkhouse multishare (BLD)
A couple of rules
Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden.
Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking, and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption.
The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips.
By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. Your group leader has the right to remove any member of the group for breaking any of these rules, with no right of refund.
If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.
RED CENTRE: In the case of a genuine emergency, or concerns about a missed pick-up on the day of departure please contact your local ground operator on 1800 883 355. For all other enquiries please contact our reservations team on 1300 654 604.
GENERAL ISSUES ON YOUR TRIP
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers and staff are trained on these principles, and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel.
Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting:
BASIX accommodation is available on this trip. Basix accommodation consists of simple permanent twin share tents with single sleeping platforms. Each sleeping platform has a rubber sleeping mat, we also have swags (Aussie bed rolls) available at our campsites if you would like to experience sleeping in a swag. You will need to bring your own sleeping bag or pre-purchase one from us. Please also provide your own pillow if you wish. In Coober Pedy we offer multishare mixed gender accommodation (underground bunkhouse). Families with children under the age of 18 will stay in a private room in Coober Pedy.
PAASE7 - Basix Trip
Night 1: Wilpena Pound - Camping with basic facilities
Night 2: William Creek - Camping with basic facilities
Night 3: Coober Pedy - Underground multishare bunkhouse
Nights 4 & 5: Yulara - Simple permanent tents
Night 6: Kings Canyon - Simple permanent tents
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
Australians are not required to be covered for hospital care due to being covered by Medicare. However we strongly recommend that Australians have a domestic travel insurance policy which covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. It is also strongly advisable that Australians have current ambulance cover in the case of emergency evacuation or incidents requiring ambulance transportation.
Travel insurance is compulsory for all international travellers and should be taken out at the time of booking. Your travel insurance must provide cover against personal accident, death, medical expenses and emergency repatriation with a recommended minimum coverage of US$200,000 for each of the categories of cover. We also strongly recommend it covers cancellation, curtailment, personal liability and loss of luggage and personal effects. You must provide proof of your travel insurance on the first day of your trip; you will not be able to join the trip without it. If you obtain travel insurance through us you acknowledge that you are satisfied with the level of insurance we have arranged.
Your fellow travellers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.
Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Essential Trip Information. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
The relationship between ATA and Intrepid Australia
For over 25 years, Intrepid Travel and Adventure Tours Australia have been leading brands in the adventure travel business. With Intrepid’s global product range and Adventure Tours’ local knowledge, the two brands joined force in 2011 to provide the ultimate range of Australian product with Intrepid running all of it’s local trips under the Adventure Tours Australia name. Today we’re proud to bring Aussie-made trips to the world, both here with Adventure Tours and overseas through the Intrepid brand, so no matter which brand you have booked through, you’re travelling with the best.
Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour.
ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER CULTURAL EXPERIENCES & COMMUNITIES:
Please note due to cultural sensitivities, entry to particular parts of local First Nations communities may be unavailable. Where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander guides are unavailable in the Red Centre an Intrepid guide will lead the interpretive cultural walk. Top End cultural experiences are only available during the dry season (May-Oct) as site is subject to flooding (contact our customer service team for availability). Participants may be absent due to cultural commitments with minimal prior notification and Intrepid reserves the right to amend the itinerary in these circumstances with no obligation to refund.
Hotel (2 nights),Underground Multishare (1 night),Permanent Tented camp with shared facilities (3 nights)
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FINISH: Alice Springs