This trip is for the outback adventurer looking to embrace the ruggedness of camping with a few creature comforts! Could this be you?
It’s a great opportunity to make new friends in a small group environment. This adventure is about making connections; connections with the local area, to the local people and culture, to the stunning natural landscapes, to your fellow adventurers and maybe even to yourself as you take on new challenges and experiences.
Don’t worry, it isn’t all go-go-go, there will be downtime to relax and get to know your fellow travellers.
Our trips are about filling your life with experiences. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show.
Starting at Alice Springs in an authentic bush camp far from the crowds sleeping under 5 billion stars each one of them close enough to touch and finishing under the comfort of 5 stars of Sails in the Desert enjoying the Sound of Silence dinner serenaded by a digeridoo.
We rely on the goodwill of all guests to make this tour a success. This includes your assistance in the prep of meals, washing up, gathering firewood and loading/unloading vehicles.
The Tour itinerary may change due to cultural reasons, seasonal changes, operational logistics and accessibility.
Indigenous experiences cannot always be guaranteed for cultural reasons, in the event of a location or host not being available, alternative experiences of a similar nature will first be sought and failing this, refunds will be offered for this component only.
Due to limited space on the vehicle please restrict luggage to one day pack and one soft overnight bag/backpack with the items you require for 5 days packed inside. Excess Luggage can be stored at the resort.
Alice Springs or Alice Springs Airport
Ayers Rock Resort or Ayers Rock Airport
29 May – 5 June 2022
From her starting position as tea lady, a job she took way too seriously (trust us, tea is something of an obsession with her), she wins the gold star for giving everything a go.
As a former police officer, Suzanne joined the ICON team with not only a can-do attitude but also a bloody-well-will-do attitude too. If she’s in charge of a tour or helping to organise independent travel for you, you can be rest-assured it will be like her tea, done to the highest and most meticulous standard.
Meet the group at 10am in Alice Springs or 10.30am at Alice Springs Airport (ask for assistance with booking flights or pre-tour accommodation).
We’ll load up the 4WD vehicle and take an hour drive west. On arrival at Standley Chasm, we’ll have a guided walk with commentary on geology, flora, fauna, bush medicine, bush tucker and weaponry. Gain insight into the cultural history and discover what makes this place so special.
Then we’ll participate in a guided dialogue about traditional and contemporary Aboriginal society and how we can continue to preserve indigenous culture. Later, craft your own souvenir in the dot painting workshop. Learn the traditional techniques and significance behind them in Western Arrernte artwork.
We finish the afternoon at our remote bush camp. Sleep tonight under the clearest skies with no light pollution. You will think that you can almost touch the stars.
O/N Authenitc bushcamp in permanent tents (no showers), or choose to use a swag if you prefer
Today we rise early and get the heart pumping and legs muscles warmed up as we head to the spectacular western half of the Larapinta Trail and onto a 13.4km section of the Larapinta Trail that is only suitable for well-prepared and experienced walkers with a good level of fitness.
This walk offers exhilarating views of the high quartzite ridgelines that typify the West MacDonnell Ranges, including Haasts Bluff and Mt Zeil (the highest point in the Northern Territory).
In the afternoon we’ll head to Ellery Creek Big Hole for a cleansing dip/wash in the cool gorge waters.
O/N Bushcamp in permanent tents (no showers)
Regarded by many as the ‘primo’ small walk at the West Macdonnell Ranges. The Ormiston Pound Walk is full of wow factor, wildlife and flora. Technically this trail is an add-on to the Larapinta Trail and not part of the official trail and therefore missed by many. But not us, as we are in-the-know!
We finish at the large ghost gum at the edge of Ormiston Gorge and have the option of a swim in the rock pool. Be warned this water is cool (read freezing!)
From here we take a scenic 4WD road to Tyler’s Pass, which presents majestic 360 degree views of this stunning landscape. You will see views of Tnorala (Gosses Bluff crater) a sacred site that scientists believe to be the remnants of an object from space, believed to be a comet, that crashed to earth around 142.5 million years ago. Tyler’s Pass on the famous Mereenie Loop road presents a great opportunity to spot some native wildlife amongst amazing scenery.
Late afternoon we arrive at Kings Creek Station to a private campground on the station. You’ll even get to experience a donkey shower (ask a bushy if you’re not sure what this is).
O/N Kings Creek Station (hot showers & flushing toilets)
Today we head off to Watarrka (Kings Canyon) for a mind-blowing 6km walk through the towering walls, crevices and plateaus of Watarrka. Starting at Heart Attack Hill – but don’t let that name put you off!
We will visit the Amphitheatre, Lost City and the tranquil ‘Garden of Eden’. Afterwards, we travel a short distance to enjoy a well-earned lunch followed by a unique and inspiring Aboriginal cultural experience.
After nearly 5 years of operation, Karkke has fast become a must-do cultural immersion including a “welcome to country”, bush tucker, bush stories and a greater overall appreciation and understanding of the world’s longest surviving culture.
Later we return for our second nights camp at Kings Creek Cattle Station, once again an open fire to keep us warm, all the while the stars glistening above keeping us company. The sheer magnitude of the Central Australian night sky has to be seen and contemplated.
O/N Kings Creek Station (hot showers & flushing toilets)
From Kings Creek Station we’ll drive to Kata Tjuta (The Olgas). We will be mindful of the weather before deciding which walk is appropriate to do at Kata Tjuta.
The afternoon is dedicated to exploring the extraordinary monolith which is Uluru. Starting with an interpretive walk led by our guide, who will explain the Aboriginal law and religion (Tjukurpa).
You will also learn about the art and culture of the local custodians, the Anangu people, and visit the acclaimed Cultural Centre where you can explore the displays and learn of the flora and fauna unique to this area.
Experience the famous changing colours of Uluru at sunset complete with sparkling wine and nibbles and plenty of photo opportunities. This is a great time to kick back and contemplate the vastness of the desert.
Afterwards settle in at our private camp, complete with our signature Endless Star dining experience before retiring to your final night of camping.
O/N Yalara Campsite (lots of toilets and showers)
Rise before dawn today to watch sunrise over Uluru and Kata Tjuta. Rug up warm as this is the coldest part of the day, but so very worth it.
After sunrise we’ll return to camp for a casual breakfast and final pack-up. It’s time to say farewell to our wonderful guide who will have looked after us so well over the last 6 days.
A short drive and we reduce our sleeping star rating from 5 billion to just 5 as we check into Ayers Rock Resort mid-morning, staying at the exclusive Sails in the Desert Hotel.
There are plenty of activities to keep us occupied until our rooms are ready in the afternoon.
Then as darkness falls join us for drinks and Canapés as Uluru is thrown into a silhouette and the Field of Light illuminates. As far as the eye can see gentle rhythms of colour light up the desert.
The critically acclaimed Field of Light Uluru by the internationally celebrated artist Bruce Munro is yours to watch from above then wander down to feel the energy around you.
The exhibition, aptly named Tili Wiru Tjuta Nyakutjaku or ‘looking at lots of beautiful lights’ in local Pitjantjatjara is Munro’s largest work to date. Overwhelming in size, covering more than seven football fields, it invites immersion in its fantasy garden of 50,000 spindles of light, the stems breathing and swaying through a sympathetic desert spectrum of ochre, deep violet, blue and gentle white.
O/N Sails in the Desert, Ayers Rock Resort
Today we take it easy . . . or not. Your choice. Included in your tour are a number of included activities for you to choose from, you can choose the ones that interest you, or do them all!
Activities on offer to you are listening to Bush Yarns, Bush Food Experience, Didgeridoo Workshop, Guided Garden Walk or just discovering the local indigenous art on display and for sale.
Optional extras we can arrange for you: Dot Painting Workshop, Fixed Wing Flights, Helicopter Flights, Camel Rides, Uluru Base Walk or Segway Tour Around Uluru. Speak with us any time to help you to decide.
Whatever you choose to do, be ready by 5pm for our grand finale. Your Sounds of Silence experience begins with canapes and chilled sparkling wine upon a dune top overlooking the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. As the sun sets and darkness falls, listen to the sound of a didgeridoo and join your table of fellow travellers for an unforgettable dining experience.
The staff will offer a selection of Australian wine and beer while the first course is served at your table. As the night sky twinkles to life, you will be welcomed to an interactive chef’s station where you will be served your choice from our freshly prepared, bush tucker inspired menu incorporating native bush ingredients.
Settle back and listen to our resident star talker decode the southern night sky. Locate the Southern Cross, the signs of the zodiac, the Milky Way, as well as planets and galaxies that are visible due to the exceptional clarity of the atmosphere.
O/N Sails in the Desert, Ayers Rock Resort
If you are flying home this morning, your transport to the airport will be arranged in time to catch your departing flight home.
If you wish to stay on in the NT, speak to us about add-on options