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Melbourne to Darwin Overland Adventure

17 Days
Prices From:
US$ 2,908

Thought you knew what an epic Aussie road trip is? Think again! Crank the tunes and leave the big cities behind on this ultimate 17-day Outback adventure through Victoria, South Australia, and the Northern Territory. Drive the Great Ocean Road, gaze upon Uluru at sunrise, and cruise the waterways of Kakadu National Park.

This 17-day Australian vacation takes you on an epic adventure from Melbourne along the Great Ocean Road to Adelaide and through the Northern Territory finally ending in Darwin and the Top End. It features budget accommodations in camps and backpacker dorms, group tours, and is a perfect adventure through Australia for 18-to-30 somethings.

Your journey begins in Melbourne, where you’ll meet your group and head through Geelong to Torquay, at the beginning of the Great Ocean Road, Australia’s premiere road trip. Drive along the coastline and stop off for a hike in the temperate rainforest of the Otways before gazing upon the Twelve Apostles, stunning rock formations off the coast. Pass into Grampians National Park and hike through the rugged, rocky landscape before climbing up to the Pinnacles to enjoy breathtaking views of the region. Continue west and hike to the base of McKenzie Falls, the highest waterfall in the Grampians, before heading to Adelaide, the capital of South Australia.

You’ll have a morning to visit a few landmarks, including the Adelaide Central Market and the Aboriginal Cultural Institute before you pass into the Clare Valley to enjoy some wine in one of the country’s most celebrated wine regions. That evening, cross into the Flinders Ranges and reach the natural amphitheatre of Wilpena Pound, where you’ll watch the sunset over the massive rock walls. Spend a day hiking through Flinders Ranges National Park. See the Aboriginal rock art of Yourambulla Caves and hike alongside the ochre rocks of Warren George, keeping your eyes peeled for rock wallabies hiding along the cliffs. Reach Coober Pedy and explore the opal mining capital of the world, where over half of the town’s population lives in underground homes and old mine shafts. You can learn about opal mining and try your hand at mining for yourself before you leave the Stuart Highway behind and pass into the Northern Territory.

Rise before dawn in the Red Centre and head on a walk around the base of mighty Uluru/Ayers Rock at sunrise, watching the sun crest over the red sandstone of this sacred monolith. You’ll meet the Anangu people, who are the traditional caretakers of the land, and see cave paintings at Mutitjulu Waterhole. Explore the nearby landmark of Kata Tjuta/The Olgas, another collection of sacred sandstone formations, before continuing to Watarrka National Park/Kings Canyon, where you’ll have some time to explore an oasis in the Outback. Reach Alice Springs, the quintessential Outback town, where you can visit the Reptile Centre to see bearded lizards and other Outback reptiles or hike the nearby West MacDonnell Ranges.

Fly to Darwin at the Top End of the Northern Territory and spend a day in the territorial capital. You can spend time along the waterfront, visit the Darwin Botanic Gardens, or admire Aboriginal art at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. Head into Litchfield National Park to hike alongside Florence Falls and Wangi Falls before cooling off with a swim in a local waterhole. Pass into Wulna Country and meet the local Aboriginal people who will share some traditional practices with you such as digeridoo and bush tracking. Connect into Kakadu National Park, the largest national park in Australia, and cruise along the waterways to spot saltwater crocodiles and colourful birds. You’ll also see ancient rock art at Ubirr and Nourlangie, and visit the gold mining colony of Pine Creek before reaching Katherine Gorge.

On your final morning, head on a cruise through Katherine Gorge before spending a moment alongside Edith Falls before returning to Darwin to end your adventure.


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17 Days
Prices From:
US$ 2,908

Itinerary View Trip Map

Day 1

The Great Ocean Road

Get road tripping! Departing Melbourne, hit the road west to Geelong and the chilled-out surf town of Torquay. From there, begin the journey along one of Australia's most beautiful and famous drives - the Great Ocean Road. This coast road at points is the only barrier between the lush forests of Victoria's southwest and the cliffs down to the Bass Strait. Along the way, experience a guided walk through an ancient and rare temperate rainforest in the Otways, checking out the enormous trees that are native to the area. Stop for some koala spotting in Kennett River, then break for lunch in seaside Apollo Bay. In the afternoon, continue on to the Twelve Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge - these rocky landscapes braving the southern oceans are a sight to behold. Continue on your drive for another hour or so, spending the night in Warrnambool.

Meal Plan Lunch
Duration1 Night

Warrnambool Beach Backpackers

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    Warrnambool Beach Backpackers

    Warrnambool Beach Backpackers' two 16 bed dormitories are ideal for larger groups, while couples and singles alike enjoy the respite of the double rooms with ensuite also 6 and 8 bed dorms are available. Whether it's a weeklong stay or an overnight reprieve, it is …

    Warrnambool Beach Backpackers' two 16 bed dormitories are ideal for larger groups, while couples and singles alike enjoy the respite of the double rooms with ensuite also 6 and 8 bed dorms are available.
    Whether it's a weeklong stay or an overnight reprieve, it is all covered - and there is no need to come equipped with your trusty sleeping bag, the hostel prides itself on cleanliness and provides all guests with the luxury of quilts and doonas.
    Home to more than 12000 guests a year, both young and old choose to stay at the homely establishment.
    Off street parking is available onsite if needed.


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Day 2

The Grampians

Begin the day checking out more of the Great Ocean Road's natural wonder on the Warrnambool foreshore, then take a drive into the Grampians National Park - an area full of rugged rock landscapes, scenic lookouts and rich in First Nations culture. During the day, you will visit the Brambuk Aboriginal Culture Centre to learn about an important period of this ancient culture known as the Dreaming, then hike up to the Pinnacles for impressive views across the Grampians. Keep an eye out for any native flora or wildlife that may pass you by as you walk. Tonight, head to Halls Gap for the evening, enjoying a traditional Aussie-style barbecue with your small group. Overnight in a hostel.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Day 3

The Grampians to Adelaide

This morning, hike to the base of McKenzie Falls - the highest and arguably most impressive waterfalls in the Grampians - and check out other sites such as The Balconies and Reeds Lookout. Leaving the Grampians, pass through the town of Horsham and the enchanting Loch Lel - also known as the Pink Lake - before crossing the mighty Murray River and making your last leg of the journey into Adelaide. Most of the afternoon is taken up by the drive, but you will arrive in Adelaide around 7:30 pm, in time for an optional celebratory dinner with your group. There is no accommodation planned for tonight, but if you would like to spend more time in Adelaide, we'll be happy to organize additional accommodation (subject to availability). Overnight in a hostel.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 4

Flinders Ranges

Welcome to South Australia, where your adventure begins. You will be picked up from the YHA Adelaide at 8:30 am and head to the culinary epicenter of the State's capital, the Adelaide Central Market. 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 amphitheater of rocky mountains. Experience the sunset at Wilpena Pound before settling into your accommodation for the night in a tent.

Meal Plan Lunch and Dinner
Day 5


It is 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 will not 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 will 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. Overnight in a tent.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 6

Coober Pedy

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 opalcutting 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.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Duration3 Days
Day 7

Coober Pedy/Yulara

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! Overnight in a tent.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 8


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. Overnight in a tent.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 9

Uluru/Kings Canyon

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 are 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.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 10

Kings Canyon/ Alice Springs

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 will get to visit on the Rim Walk. Following lunch, it is back on the road for the onward drive to Alice Springs, where this adventure concludes. Overnight in a tent.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Lunch
Day 11

Alice Springs

Today is free for you to do as you wish in and around Alice Springs. You may have bid some of your travel crew farewell last night, so now it is time for you to make your own fun! There is a heap to see and do in Alice Springs town, including checking out what is on display at the Araulean Cultural Precinct, visiting the Reptile Centre or walking up ANZAC Hill to see a stunning sunset over the city. A little bit further out, hire a bike and take a ride out to Simpsons Gap - a gorge between the towering cliffs of the West MacDonnell Ranges. Otherwise, you could get active and head on a steep hike up to the top of Mt Gillen for some epic views over the arid countryside.

Duration1 Night

Alice Springs YHA

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    Alice Springs YHA

    Alice Springs YHA is built within the grounds of an historic outdoor movie theatre, in a great location in the centre of this atmospheric outback town. The hostel has a big outdoor movie screen showing movies nightly under the stars. Base yourself in this centrally …

    Alice Springs YHA is built within the grounds of an historic outdoor movie theatre, in a great location in the centre of this atmospheric outback town. The hostel has a big outdoor movie screen showing movies nightly under the stars. Base yourself in this centrally located hostel and explore Australia's famous outback.


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Day 12

Alice Springs to Darwin

Today, skip the 1,500km of driving which is about 24 hours by road, and fly from Alice Springs to Darwin with Qantas (QF). Qantas is Australia's first commercial airline and is now recognized as one of the world's best International airlines.
Your air tickets will be arranged and issued a couple of weeks prior to your departure.

Meal Plan Lunch and Dinner
Duration2 Nights

Youth Shack

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    Youth Shack

    The Youth Shack Set is an excellent choice for those who look for affordable accommodation.

Day 13


Today is as clear as the blue skies in the Northern Territory for you to choose your own adventure. With the whole day at your leisure in Darwin, you might like to take a swim at the recreational lagoon or wave pool in the Waterfront Precinct, check out the varied range of native and tropical flora at the Darwin Botanic Gardens, discover more about the region at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, or have a walk along Mindil Beach and catch an incredible Top End sunset over the ocean. The best thing is, you have got the power to decide! Keep in mind that you will have an early start tomorrow, so feel free to chill out with a good book today.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Duration1 Night
Day 14

Darwin to Mary River via Litchfield National Park

Welcome to the Northern Territory! Your adventure begins in the tropical city of Darwin. Set off from Darwin and head south to Lichfield National Park, a huge sandstone plateau with dozens of waterfalls. Explore Florence Falls, Wangi Falls and the Buley Rockholes. After a picnic lunch, stroll through steamy rainforests and cool off with a dip in one of Litchfield's picturesque swimming holes. We then hit the road to Wulna Country, where your Limilngan-Wulna hosts - the land's Traditional Owners - will greet you with a Cul Cul or 'Welcome to Country'. Learn about their culture during bush tucker talks and didgeridoo and basket weaving demonstrations. Enjoy a camp dinner before climbing into bed at private campsite in the Mary River region. Overnight in a tent.

Meal Plan Lunch and Dinner
Day 15

Kakadu National Park: Ubirr and Barramundi GorgeMinh

After breakfast this morning, head to onto the water on a wildlife cruise in the Mary River Wetlands, a network of waterways home to crocodiles and native bird species. Kakadu National Park and discover ancient Aboriginal rock art in Ubirr. Your guide will lead an interpretive cultural walk through the numerous rock galleries, before you climb to the top of a lookout for views over the Nardab floodplain. Tonight, relax by the pool at the Kakadu campground and enjoy a group dinner. Overnight in a tent.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 16

Kakadu to Katherine

This morning you have the option to take a scenic flight over Kakadu (at your own expense). The flight takes in views over the Arnhem Land escarpment, vast flood plains and billabongs. Later spend time exploring Kakadu's other major Aboriginal rock art site - Nourlangie (Burrunggui), while your guide provides a glimpse into how the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people live. After lunch head south and stop to visit the historic gold-mining centre of Pine Creek. Stop for a quick dip at Maguk or Gunlom Falls, before continuing on to Katherine, where you'll settle in for the night at a private campsite near Nitmiluk National Park (Katherine Gorge).

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 17

Katherine Gorge to Darwin

Depending on the season, head out on a morning cruise along the inky waters of Katherine Gorge, or canoe between red rock walls that are up to 70 metres high (both of these activities are optional and at your own expense). This 23 million-year-old landscape was formed by the Katherine River, which flows from Arnhem Land out to the Timor Sea. After lunch head to the beautiful Edith falls for one last refreshing swim in the huge plunge pool before hitting the road back to Darwin, where your adventure comes to an end on arrival.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Lunch

Other Information


2022: To be advised


  • 12 breakfasts, 14 lunches, 12 dinners
  • Transport: Private Bus, Plane, All Terrain vehicle
  • Accommodation: Camping with shared facilities, Dormitory and Underground bunkhouse
  • Activities:
    • 12 Apostles and London Bridge
    • Koala spotting - Great Ocean Road
    • Melba Gully Walk - Otway Ranges
    • Swim at Lorne (Summer months)
    • Loch Ard Gorge
    • Brambuk Culture Centre
    • Mackenzie Falls - Grampians
    • Pinnacles Walk - Grampians
    • Reeds Lookout (The Balconies) and Boroka Lookout
    • Wilpena Pound
    • Anna Creek Station
    • Coober Pedy Mine tour
    • Josephine's Gallery and Kangaroo Orphanage
    • Dingo Fence
    • Uluru and Kata Tjuta National Park Entrance
    • Uluru Base Walk
    • Uluru Cultural Centre
    • Kata Tjuta
    • Maruku Arts cultural experience
    • Watarrka National Park Entry Fees
    • Kings Canyon Rim Walk
    • Litchfield National Park
    • Ubirr Rock
    • Kakadu National Park Fee
    • Mary River cruise
    • Bowali Visitor Centre
    • Pine Creek Gold-Mining Centre
    • Maguk (Barramundi Gorge)
    • Edith Falls
    • Top Didj Indigenous Experience


  • Travel insurance
  • International and domestic airfare & airfare taxes
  • Visa fees if applicable
  • Meals and beverages not mentioned
  • Gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature


Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request - please inquire.

10 Oct 2021
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