Europeans first traversed Central Australia during the early 1860s with the first permanent non-Aboriginal presence established in 1871 in the form of a telegraph line now known as the Overland Telegraph Line. It was a member of the survey party who re-named the sacred site Athereyurre, Alice Spring. Confusion between the town of Stuart and the Telegraph Station, located next to the Alice Spring, led to the re-naming of the town as Alice Springs in 1933. It became a major centre during the Second World War and has continued to grow since, now a thriving town servicing the tourism, mining and pastoral industries. It is also a regional centre for outlying communities.
Film makers and tourists are drawn to Alice Springs by the area's remote and magnificent landscape. One of the first feature films shot near Alice Springs was The Overlanders in 1945. The memorable Jedda was also filmed there in 1953 and the mini series A Town Like Alice drew national attention in 1956. More recently, Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Dead Heart have been shot in Alice Springs and the region.
Sydney to Nyngan
Depart Sydney and begin this exciting, long-distance tour by crossing over the Blue Mountains and heading to Nyngan through Bathurst, Orange and Dubbo.
Nyngan to Broken Hill
We make an early start from Nyngan and tour west along the Barrier Highway stopping at Cobar which owes its prosperity and fame to copper mining. We also visit Wilcannia, now a small community, but once the "Queen city of the west" and an important Darling River port town.
Then it is off to Broken Hill, the largest regional centre in the Western half of New South Wales. An outback town of New South Wales and lying close to the South Australian border, Broken Hill is famous for its silver, lead and zinc mines that have been worked for over a century. The Pasminco Broken Hill Mine is the only mine still operating although that too is expected to cease operations in a few years time.
Overnight: Broken Hill
Broken Hill to Port Augusta
After two days and two nights heading west we continue along the Barrier Highway and cross the South Australian border down to Petersborough where we turn off to take a detour through the towns of Orroro and Wilmington.
Then we head down to Port Augusta, a bustling city that was discovered by Matthew Flinders in 1802. The town was not established until 50 years later when it became the major government and commercial centre for the far north of South Australia. Enjoy a tour of the town and visit the Wadlata Outback Centre, an interpretive centre that brings the outback to life, before checking in for the night.
Overnight: Port August
Port Augusta to Coober Pedy
Our tour today will take us into the putback of South Australia as we head north up the Sturt Highway to Woomera. A well deserved morning tea break will be hosted at the Woomera Heritage Centre where you will enjoy a history brief on this small town established in 1947 as a testing station for the British rocket program.
Glendambo is our next destination followed by the famous underground opal-mining town of Coober Pedy where we will dine and rest for the night.
Overnight: Cooper Pedy
Coober Pedy to Alice Springs
This morning we continue north along the Sturt Highway and pass Marla Bore and Kulgera on the Northern Territory border before arriving in the enchanting outback town of Alice Springs, our resting place for the next three nights.
Overnight: Alice Springs
Alice Springs – Attractions and Desert Park
Today we make an early start and drive to Anzac Hill War Memorial lookout for superb panoramic views of Alice Springs in the early morning light. We then visit the famous Telegraph Station Historical Reserve and Museum and continue on a short distance to the new Alice Springs Desert Park. The park showcases the landscapes, animals and plants of Australia’s deserts and their traditional use and management by Aboringinal people. Enjoy The Big Picture, a short documentary showing in the theatrette at the Visitors Centre or take a walk through the Nocturnal House and watch the birds of prey being fed while you enjoy your own lunch. The afternoon offers a leisurely time for you to indulge in your own private explorations of Alice Springs.
Overnight: Alice Springs
The Macdonnell Ranges & Alice Springs attractions
We really get out into the red earth country when we explore sections of the Western Macdonnells. See Simpsons Gap and walk through Stanley Chasm with its colourful and towering walls. We visit Namatjira’s Ghost Gums Park and stop at Flynn’s Memorial Grave Site on our return back to Alice Springs for lunch.
After lunch we visit the famous Royal Flying Doctor Service and learn more about Aboriginal lifestyle and culture in the red centre through the Strehlow Research Centre, now a part of the Museum of Central Australia. Then after a long fulfilling day dinner will be served at our motel.
Overnight: Alice Springs
Alice Springs to Ayers Rock via Kings Canyon
We have a long and interesting tour today which requires an early departure from Alice Springs. Travelling south of Alice Springs, about 90 kms to Noel Fullerton’s Camel Farm, you have the opportunity of taking a camel ride, so don’t forget your cameras and of course your padding! Following the breathtaking ride and the bumps and bruises we tour further south over the old Finke River and then head west out to Kings Canyon. Surrounded by the magnificent canyon with its 300 metre towering walls we absorb the atmosphere and enjoy a picnic lunch.
The trip to Ayers Rock is then via the George Gill Range and pass Angas Downs and Curtin Springs. A well earned dinner and the fabulous Ayers Rock Resort awaits us on our arrival into Ayers Rock where we will spend the next two evenings.
Overnight: Ayers Rock Resort, Uluru
Uluru National Park, Ayers Rock & The Olgas
For those wishing to photograph the sunrise or climb Ayers Rock an early rise is in store. We visit the Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre and the Maruku Arts & Crafts Gallery before touring the base of the rock and viewing some Aboriginal rock paintings. Maggie Springs follows and then it is out to The Olgas, a series of 36 coloured rock domes, the largest of these Mt Olga. We return to the Ayres Rock Resort in plenty of time to enjoy a swim and prepare for dinner and another brilliant sunset.
Overnight: Ayers Rock Resort, Uluru
Uluru to Coober Pedy
As we make our return back to the East Coast of Australia, we depart Uluru National Park and first head South touring through outback cattle properties, via Eridunda, Kulgera and Marla Bore and back down to the opal town of Coober Pedy.
Overnight: Coober Pedy
Coober Pedy to Port Augusta
During an early morning guided tour of Coober Pedy we see opal cutting and polishing and visit an underground church and mine. A chance to buy opals at factory prices awaits! We then tour South past salt pans and skirt the Woomera Rocket Range before arriving in Port Augusta.
Overnight: Port Augusta
Port Augusta to Mildura
This morning we tour South and pass Port Pirie with its giant smelters used for Broken Hill silver, lead and zinc deposits. We then head East to Crystal Brook and travel via Spalding to Burra for our morning tea break followed by a tour of this old copper town. Our tour East continues through Morgan and Renmark to Mildura where we stay the night.
Mildura to Wagga Wagga
It is back on to the Sturt Highway all the way to Wagga Wagga. On the way we will pass through Balranald and Hay, a town that has been a welcome stop for travellers since the days of Cobb & Co. We then continue on to the Riverina area and Narrandera and finally to the city of Wagga Wagga for our last night on tour. There we enjoy a delicious dinner.
Overnight: Wagga Wagga
Wagga Wagga to Sydney
Departing Wagga Wagga we join the Hume Highway and tour north to Yass for our morning tea break at Peter Crisp’s Art Glass and Lavender Farm. See the glass artisans at work and enjoy a visit to their antique show rooms.
Then we move on to Goulburn for lunch at the famous Old Goulburn Brewery and after lunch enjoy a tour of this oldest surviving Australian brewery and industrial complex. A tasting of some of the fine old malts is of course on the agenda to celebrate a fantastic fourteen day journey to the centre of Australia and back.
Inclusions: 13 nts twin share accommodation as per itinerary, morning tea daily, admissions as per Itinerary.