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hannareid Jan 4th, 2012 06:25 AM

The Outback
I will be travelling from Darwin to Adelaide in May (I don't know how yet!)and would like to experience 'the outback'. Is there a simple way to do this, maybe in a group? I could just get on a bus and follow the highway but I would really like to experience being out in the landscape far from all signs of civilisation.

JoanneH Jan 4th, 2012 01:01 PM

There are several tours that go the Stuart highway from Adelaide to Alice Springs. We drove from Alice Springs to Perth last year parts of the drive were great parts pretty dull. Time is also a factor.
Google tours Stuart Highway and tours Darwin to Alice Springs

AlanJG Jan 4th, 2012 02:07 PM

If you just get on a bus and follow the highway you would really experience being out in the landscape far from all signs of civilisation.

But really it would be best to have some one to interpret the landscape for you. Why not try one of the Aboriginal guiding companies?

Bokhara2 Jan 4th, 2012 03:34 PM

That's right, Alan. Without someone to interpret the landscape & point out flora & fauna, landmarks etc., it's easy to think there is "miles & miles of nothing".

Hannareid, you may be able to find a small group tour that goes from Darwin to Adelaide and just do one leg of that.

Here's one I found just by Googling:

Alternatively, you could do a 3 or 4 day tour from Darwin. You're so close to Kakadu, Litchfield & other wonderful National Parks in that area, it would be a great opportunity to do something really special.

Or just a 1 day tour if your time is limited. There's almost certainly something that will suit your time & budget.

FWIW, I think the $ spent on going with someone who knows the country is repaid a hundredfold.

Diamantina Jan 5th, 2012 12:44 AM

I think Bokhara2 offers a great suggestion of doing a several day trip out of Darwin with a group. You can probably sign up for something when you get there as Darwin is really set up for outback tourism, though booking ahead is a good idea, too. The surrounding area is incredible, Aboriginal culture abounds, the vegetation will be lush and green at that time of year (May is a great time to be there, after the wet season but still green), you will see heaps of wildlife, the landscapes of Kakadu and Litchfield are amazing. Katharine is supposed to be interesting, too, though I never made it there.

My husband, who is originally from Florida, said the Kakadu reminded him of a cross between the Everglades and the red rock country of the American Southwest, only with crocodiles, monitor lizards, kangaroos, wallabies, cockatoos, and jabirus. Darwin is also interesting and unique. It is most definitely Australian but also influenced by the cultures of immigrants from Southeast Asia. It is an attractive, leisurely seaside city with interesting cultural attractions.

qwovadis Jan 5th, 2012 02:36 AM

Fly into Alice Springs then awesome forme in the past. Also many bush tours in the area. hotels
not too cheap.

dottyp Jan 5th, 2012 11:13 AM

We did a day tour from Darwin to Litchfield National Park with an Indigenous Tour company based in Darwin. Very informative tour. Tess takes you to places that other tours don't go. We drove through Kakadu ourselves but there are certainly plenty of one or several day tours. We drove (tour report on Litchfield, Kakadu, Katherine, Alice Springs to be finished in the next two days!) as far as Daly Waters - definitely another interesting place in the middle of nowhere, then back to Katherine. It's a great place. Do spend some days in Alice - there is so much to see and do there before heading to Kings Canyon - a must, and Uluru - another must.

northie Jan 5th, 2012 12:45 PM

you could also do The Ghan which is the train going from Darwin to Adelaide . It makes stops at Katherine and Alice Springs which allows you to do different trips from the train at each stop.It's a long and sometimes boring trip but with stop offs and some tours out of Darwin could satisfy your requirements

Bokhara2 Jan 5th, 2012 12:46 PM

Hanna, if you give us an idea of the time you have available, we will be able to give you a much better guide as to where to go, what to see, etc.

Thank you, Dotty! I LOVE to see people endorsing Alice Springs as the interesting place it is. So many skip past/through it to Uluru and miss out on what I think is one of our gems, both in its own right and as a centre from which to do day trips.

Looking forward to the remainder of your trip report.

BigRuss Jan 6th, 2012 10:47 AM

Fly from Darwin to Uluru or Alice Springs (dunno if there are direct flights from Darwin to Uluru) and book tours from there. No need to trek over land down the whole Stuart Highway. You can take a variety of day trips to Kakadu or Litchfield or similar from Darwin.

And there's a LOT of Outback and the terrain varies so you need to be more specific. The Alice Springs to Uluru area is The Red Centre, which is fantastic and it is vastly different from the northern NT and from the Outback in Western Australia or Queensland.

RalphR Jan 7th, 2012 09:00 AM

Not yet mentioned, another highlight of the Stuart Hwy trip would be a day or two in the opal mining town of Coober Pedy, roughly halfway between Alice and Adelaide. A lot of the town - homes, hotels, churches, etc - is built underground. Some starkly beautiful scenery nearby, like the Breakaways and Moon Plain which have served as backdrops in movies, most notably Mad Max.

The town is also accessible from the Ghan, which has a stop about 40 km (25 miles) away.

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