to the HEART OF AUSTRALIA
This is our year for immersing ourselves in our continent. For stepping out, wide-eyed; learning it with a new appreciation.
And to do this, I’m taking travellers with me to the Heart of Australia.
I’ve worked with my trusted friends and partners Imagine Holidays to develop a trip to stimulate and educate — and with a bit of luxury and some relaxation thrown in, of course.
It’s been a pleasure working with Imagine’s managing director for Australasia, Alex Sirman, personally to refine and add to the trip, to make it’s as special as any big overseas journey.
We will come to understand more of the contemporary and indigenous cultural story of Alice Springs. We’ll visit including Tjanpi Desert Weavers, Mbantua Aboriginal Art Gallery and Iltja Ntjarra Many Hands Art Centre and see some brilliant Aboriginal art.
We’ll visit Alice Springs Desert Park and Olive Pink Botanical Garden.
We’ll walk in Kings Canyon and see Uluru at both sunrise and sunset, showing its many colours. We’ll visit Kata Tjuta, and hear the stories of the Ananju people.
We’ll go to a Sounds of Silence gala dinner.
We’ll stay in comfort at Crowne Plaza Alice Springs Lasseters Hotel, Kings Canyon Resort and Sails in the Desert Hotel.
And through it all, I’ll add story and narrative — a deeper feel and view of the Heart of Australia, in this place I want to share.
It is a one-off tour in October which I have no plans to repeat. (We have recently put on a second departure for other tours because they’ve sold out so quickly, but not with this one.)
Before we go, I’ll have a pre-departure event, to brief travellers, and so that we can all get to know each other a little.
DAY 1, Sunday October 3
Direct flight from Perth to Alice Springs. We’ll be picked up at the airport and do a half-day Town Like Alice Tour, and check in for our two nights Crowne Plaza Lasseters Hotel, with breakfast daily.
We dig deep into Alice Springs, visiting art galleries and botanical gardens. A packed lunch is included.
It’s going to be a great day in the Red Centre landscape, as we do one of my favourite drives anywhere — from Alice Springs to Kings Canyon via Standley Chasm and Tjoritja-West MacDonnell Ranges. Admission and lunch is included.
We’ll visit Standley Chasm, known traditionally as Angkerle Atwatye (meaning “Gap of Water”). It’s a 3m wide, 80m high gorge in the West MacDonnell Ranges and sacred to the women’s dreaming of the Arrernte people. It is owned and operated by the local Arrernte community. Admission and lunch are included.
Kings Canyon is the deepest gorge in the Red Centre. It’s magnificent. Waterholes on the canyon floor never completely dry up, and foster lush growth, including palms of ancient biological origin. A path to the rim of the gorge leads to the Lost City, where the rock has worn away to resemble ruins. High in the canyon and very difficult to reach is the Garden of Eden, an oasis of waterholes and plant life.
And then we are checking in to Kings Canyon Resort for the night, with breakfast.
We have a morning guided walk of Kings Canyon Watarrka National Park. The Kings Canyon Rim Walk is the most popular walk at Kings Canyon and suitable for people with good level of fitness and comfortable walking on uneven surfaces. It’s optional, of course (!) The walk takes three to four hours. First up, the track gains 90 vertical metres quite quickly. This ascent normally takes 25 minutes or so, with great views and lots of photos to take. Kings Canyon is best viewed from the top. To reach the plateau and the head of the canyon, we take the marked path that starts at the car park. Highlights of the walk are the spectacular views, walking through beehive domes and the waterhole at the Garden of Eden.
For this those not up to doing the Rim Walk, there’s the shorter Creek Walk. It’s about 1.5km, meandering up the centre of the canyon to a lookout on the left hand side of the valley. There’s a view of the sheer cliff face at the end of the canyon.
We then drive to Ayers Rock Resort for check in, to stay three nights at the five star Sails in the Desert hotel, with breakfast daily.
The remainder of the late afternoon and evening is free, at leisure.
We have a coach and driver to take us to view sunrise, with the early light on Uluru. It’s an early start (probably 4.30am), but includes tea and coffee. We then head back to Sails in the Desert for breakfast.
After breakfast, we re-board the coach to go to Kata Tjuta (the Olgas). These are 36 massive domes of conglomerate rock. In the local Indigenous language, “kata tjuta” means “many heads”. There will be time to walk into the Walpa Gorge. We then visit the Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre before returning back to Sails in the Desert.
We’ve got the “afternoon off”, with plenty of free things to do round the resort — and a nice swimming pool. In the evening, we head off by coach to the Sounds of Silence dinner.
We have free time to enjoy the resort and its free activities, but we can also advise on other activities to book. Then, late in the afternoon, we travel by coach to the Uluru sunset viewing area. We’ll enjoy nibbles and a complimentary glass of wine as the sun sinks over the western horizon and the evening sky brings out the many shades of colour for which Uluru is famous.
Return to Sails in the Desert after sunset.
A nice, leisurely breakfast (included). Later we will transfer to Yulara airport for the return flight home from Ayres Rock to Perth via Alice Springs.
$3999 per person twin share, $4999 for solo.
- All flights, taxes and transfers.
- Two night stay at Crowne Plaza Alice Springs Lasseters Hotel.
- One night stay at Kings Canyon Resort.
- Three night stay at Sails in the Desert Hotel.
- Six breakfasts, two lunches, one dinner.
- Full details and itinerary: westtravelclub.com.au/tours
- Call 6319 0207 or email email@example.com
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