• Sydney Australia - credit Jackie Appleton

Top End

Posted on:
Posted by:

Avatar

 

Explore the tropical ‘Top End’ of Australia beginning in Darwin. The perfect time to visit the Top End is in our summer and this itinerary combines beautifully with an extended holiday through the Kimberley and Bungle Bungles

[wptabs style=”wpui-dark” mode=”horizontal”]

[wptabtitle] Summary[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent]

Top End

The perfect time to visit the Top End is in our summer and this itinerary combines beautifully with an extended holiday through the Kimberley and Bungle Bungles.  It could also link to a rail journey on the Ghan.

Day 1: Darwin
Day 2: Kakadu Adventure
Day 4: Darwin
Day 5 Bamarru Plains
Day 7 Darwin

[/wptabcontent]

[wptabtitle] Description [/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent]

Description

Here is a suggestion for a week’s itinerary that may be added on to the Red Centre – link by the Ghan Train or by air

Day 1: Darwin
Darwin is a small but sprawling city with bags of character. Take a town tour, or ride the Tourist Tub, but however you get around, ensure that you are on a harbour cruise as the sun goes down. The Top End is famous for its sunsets – the colours of the after glow are spectacular.
Darwin 1 night

Day 2: Kakadu Adventure
An early start this morning for the start of your Kakadu adventure. Here we suggest a two night camping tour but longer options are possible. The first day takes you into the Kakadu National Park, visiting the rock art site at Ubirr, before taking a leisurely cruise on the Yellow Water Wetlands – you will almost certainly see your first crocodile here, to say nothing of the wide variety of birdlife and your first taste of the paperbark swamp. Whilst enjoying the cruise, your guide will have stoked up the campfire and have dinner on the go ready for your return.

Day 3: Kakadu Adventure
After a hearty cooked breakfast, break camp and head on to Nourlangie for a morning walk. Here, again, you will see examples of rock art – your guide will walk with you and explain and interpret these fascinating sites. A quick visit to the excellent interpretation centre near Cooinda and then head south to Gunlom Falls. The road roughly follows the line of the Escarpment and as you head south he scenery becomes more rugged and dramatic. Your overnight camp is at Gunlom. For the energetic a climb up a steep rock path brings you to an idyllic pool – ideal for an early evening swim. Dinner around the campfire before retiring to your tent for the night.

Day 4: Darwin
Break camp again this morning after breakfast – there may be time for another swim before leaving the Kakadu Park behind. Longer tours may include Katherine Gorge and/or the Litchfield Park; this tour takes you to the small mining town or Pine Creek and Adelaide River before finally returning to Darwin in the early evening.
Darwin 1 night

Day 5 Bamarru Plains
After breakfast, depart by road, or light aircraft to your luxury lodge home for the next two nights. A low swoop over the airfield clears any wildlife grazing the edges of the runway before the little plane touches down. A bus will be waiting to whisk you away to your wilderness lodge. Fine food, a well stocked wine cellar, a welcoming and shady pool and exquisite views across the sparkling water await. The lodge offers guided walks and safaris for the adventurous, fishing trips or simple relaxation in beautiful surroundings. 2 nights is lovely, 3 even better
Bamarru Plains 2 nights

Day 7 Darwin
Light aircraft or road transfer back to Darwin and civilisation before continuing your travels…

Photographs Tourism Australia Copyright

NT Kakadu

[/wptabcontent]

[wptabtitle] Little Gems[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent]

Little Gems

For a luxurious interlude in this adventure, do plan a stay at the Wild Bush Luxury Lodge at Bamurru Plains.  In their words… Bamurru Plains is located just to the west of Kakadu National Park on the Mary River floodplains. A profusion of bird and wildlife are on the doorstep of a unique bush lodge that exudes ‘Wild Bush Luxury’ and brings a touch of style to the discovery of a remote and beautiful wilderness.

[/wptabcontent]

[wptabtitle] What our clients say[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent]

Client Feedback

Content coming soon

[/wptabcontent]

[/wptabs]

The Red Centre

Posted on:
Posted by:

Avatar

 

Picture courtesy of Australia Tourism. Whether you arrive by rail or air, your first impression of the Red Centre will be awesome; a vast area of arid outback, punctuated by strangely shaped rocks and small hills that change in colours according to the time of day. A short itinerary incorporating Uluru (Ayers Rock), Kings Canyon and Alice Springs

[wptabs style=”wpui-dark” mode=”horizontal”]

[wptabtitle] Summary[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent]

The Red Centre

Uluru/Ayers Rock was originally named by the Pitjantjatjara people and subsequently by surveyor William Gosse in 1873, but it is only since 1993 that the feature was officially given its dual name.  It is, none the less, not only one of the major attractions of the Red Centre and Northern Territories, but of the whole vast continent of Australia.

Day 1: Alice Springs

Day 2: Glen Helen

Day 3: Kings Canyon

Day 4: Uluru (Ayers Rock)

[/wptabcontent]

[wptabtitle] Description [/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent]

Description

 

Whether you arrive by rail or air, your first impression of the Red Centre will be awesome; a vast area of arid outback, punctuated by strangely shaped rocks and small hills that change in colours according to the time of day. This itinerary offers a four wheel drive self drive itinerary following the Mereenie Loop Road…

Day 1: Alice Springs
Pick up your 4WD and spend the first night in Alice Springs itself. This little town nestles at the base of the MacDonnell Ranges, and formed a vital link in the laying of the Telegraph line from the new lands of Australia to England. A visit to the Telegraph Station gives an impression of the original settlement, before the centre of the town grew on its current site. Visit the School of the Air and the Flying Doctor base.
Alice Springs 1 night

Day 2: Alice Springs to Glen Helen
Today’s drive takes you through the West MacDonnells to Glen Helen – a drive of a little over 100km as the crow flies. Along the way, you may linger at the many chasms, gorges and creeks clearly marked from the main road.
Glen Helen 1 night

Day 3: Kings Canyon
Your entire journey today will be on the gravel road, joining the Mereenie Loop Road. The scenery will change dramatically from the rugged hills of the West MacDonnells to the flatter scrub of the desert. Gosse Bluff should not be missed; allegedly a crater formed by a meteorite crashing to ground and with spiritual significance for the indigenous people. Arrive at Kings Canyon in time for an evening walk in the base of the canyon.
Kings Canyon 1 night

Day 4: Uluru (Ayers Rock)
Rise early to walk along the canyon rim – about 6 km of spectacular scenery but not for the faint hearted as the first stage involves a steep climb. Today’s drive takes you to Uluru. You will be rewarded with your first sight of the Rock itself – inspirational, eerie, quiet – decide for yourself. Two nights at Ayers Rock Resort will give you time to visit Uluru at dawn and dusk, visit Kata Tjuta (The Olgas), take part in the Sounds of Silence dinner, or sunrise breakfast. Finally, drop your car at Ayers Rock Airport before continuing your adventure…
Two nights Uluru (Ayers Rock)

All photographs: Tourism Australia Copyright

Canoeing on Katherine Gorge      Kings Canyon

[/wptabcontent]

[wptabtitle] Little Gems[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent]

Little Gems

The true spirit of the outback is the ice cold ‘stubbie’ thrust in your hand as a welcome to Glen Helen – before you’ve even checked in!

[/wptabcontent]

[wptabtitle] What our clients say[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent]

Client Feedback

 

Well, where do we start? The itinerary you devised for us could not have been better. Everything worked out so well and the accommodation was great, although when you said that Glen Helen was rather basic, you were not wrong! We were glad it was only the one night, but the staff were friendly and helpful enough and the food was good. It all added to the ‘experience’! So, all in all, we couldn’t fault any of the accommodation you booked for us. All the flights (all nine of them!) worked out fine, the worst delay was San Francisco to Honolulu where we were delayed by only around 50 minutes! Ayers Rock was a fantastic spectacle. 43 degrees and billions of flies! It’s a not-to-be-missed sight, one of those ‘icon’ destinations.

[/wptabcontent]

[/wptabs]

Sydney, Rock and Reef

Posted on:
Posted by:

Avatar

 

For those with limited time, this itinerary covers three iconic attractions of Australia.

[wptabs style=”wpui-dark” mode=”horizontal”]

[wptabtitle] Summary[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent]

Sydney, Rock & Reef

For many first time visitors, the triangular route of the iconic city of Sydney, the magical Red Centre and magnificent Great Barrier Reef is a must.  Here is our version, with a difference!

Day 1: Sydney
Day 4: Alice Springs
Day 6: Glen Helen
Day 7: Kings Canyon
Day 8: Uluru – Ayers Rock
Day 9: Port Douglas
Day 10: Cape Tribulation
Day 12: Palm Cove
Day 15: Cairns

[/wptabcontent]

[wptabtitle] Description [/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent]

Description

Australia is a vast country and if visiting for a limited time, domestic flights are likely to be the best way to get around. This itinerary gives just one option, but the possibilities here are almost endless…

Day 1: Sydney
Arrive into Sydney today for a 3 night stay. With its compact city centre and efficient public transport, Sydney is an easily accessible city with many of the main attractions close by. Enjoy a morning harbour cruise, a concert at the Opera House and blow away the cobwebs doing the Bridge Climb. Visit Bondi Beach and watch the surfers on the waves, shop in Paddington’s markets, enjoy a stroll around the Rocks and Circular Quay, or head out to glamorous Double Bay for designer shopping.

Three nights Sydney
You could choose to add in a little extra time in Sydney and take a day or overnight trip to the Blue Mountains or the Hunter Valley.

Day 4: Alice Springs
Fly to Alice Springs in the Red Centre today for a 2 night stay, collecting a four-wheel drive vehicle on arrival. This little town nestles at the base of the MacDonnell Ranges, and formed a vital link in the laying of the Telegraph line from the new lands of Australia to England. A visit to the Telegraph Station gives an impression of the original settlement, before the centre of the town grew on its current site. Visit also the School of the Air and the Flying Doctor base.

Two nights in Alice Springs

Day 6: Glen Helen
Your drive today takes you through the West MacDonnells to Glen Helen – a drive of a little over 100km as the crow flies. Along the way, you may linger at the many chasms, gorges and creeks clearly marked from the main road.

One night at Glen Helen

Day 7: Kings Canyon
Your entire journey today will be on the gravel road – joining the Mereenie Loop Road. The scenery will change dramatically from the rugged hills of the West MacDonnells to the flatter scrub of the desert. Gosse Bluff should not be missed – allegedly a crater formed by a meteorite crashing to ground, and with spiritual significance for the traditional people.

One night at Kings Canyon

Day 8: Uluru – Ayers Rock
Get up early this morning and take time to walk the canyon rim – about 6 km of spectacular scenery – not for the faint hearted as the first stage involves a steep climb. As you leave Kings Canyon, you will re-join the sealed road as you head towards Uluru. You will be rewarded with your first sight of the Rock itself – inspirational, eerie, quiet – decide for yourself. Visit Uluru at dawn and dusk, visit Kata Tjuta (The Olgas), take part in the Sounds of Silence dinner, or sunrise breakfast.

One night at Ayers Rock

Day 9: Port Douglas
Drop your hire car at the airport, and fly to Cairns in northern Queensland. Collect a second hire car and head north. Stay overnight in Port Douglas – a pretty little town with an attractive marina, good shopping and home of the Iron Bar on Macrossan Street!

One night at Port Douglas

Day 10: Cape Tribulation
Take a full day drive north to the Daintree and on to Cape Tribulation. See the perfect white sandy beaches as Captain Cook saw them many years before. Stop at the one of the many excellent ‘boardwalk’ trails into the Rain Forest, or climb the observation tower giving you fabulous views over the canopy.

Two nights at Cape Tribulation

Day 12: Palm Cove
Return south to Palm Cove for three nights. Treat yourself a little at one of our favourite colonial style hotels on the esplanade. Palm Cove is the perfect base from which to take a day trip to the Great Barrier Reef – your boat will take you to the pontoon where you will have the opportunity to dive, snorkel or view this amazing living garden from the underwater observation decks. From Palm Cove you could also take a journey on the Kuranda Skyrail.

Three nights at Palm Cove

Day 15: Cairns
Drive the short distance back to Cairns today, dropping off the hire car and checking in for the onward or homeward flight.

Photographs courtesy of Australia Tourism

Ayers Rock      Cape Tribulation

 

Great Barrier Reef      Sydney Australia Tourism

[/wptabcontent]

[wptabtitle] Little Gems[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent]

Little Gems

Difficult to know where to start on this itinerary, there are so many Little Gems which might include a night at the Opera in Sydney, a picture from the top of the bridge of the perfect underwater shot at the Great Barrier Reef, but for a true Aussie outback experience, there is little the beat the cold ‘stubbie’ that will be thrust in your hand before you have even checked in at your accommodation at Glen Helen – one very good reason to drive the Red Centre!

[/wptabcontent]

[wptabtitle] What our clients say[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent]

Client Feedback

Content coming soon

[/wptabcontent]

[/wptabs]

Region: Northern Territories

Posted on:
Posted by:

Avatar

 

With Darwin as the only major gateway city, the Northern Territories can often be overlooked as a stand alone holiday state.  But think again.  Uluru (Ayers Rock) in the Red Centre and near Alice Springs, is perhaps the most famous icon, the extraordinary vista of this dome shaped mountain in the middle of the desert is a sight that everyone should experience, but remember also the Kakadu and Arnhemland in the north, the Tiwi Islands and Cobourg Peninsular, Katherine Gorge and the Litchfield National Park.  Darwin is also the end of the road (or the beginning) for the Ghan train as it wends its way south through the arid Outback.  There is more to the Northern Territories than meets the eye.

Ayers Rock and 4x4 Northern Territories

Credit Jackie Appleton


Northern Territories - NT Cobourg Peninsular

Credit Jackie Appleton


Northern Territories - NT Kakadu

Credit Jackie Appleton

            

 

Iconic Trains of Australia

Posted on:
Posted by:

Avatar

 

The vast country of Australia can be explored using various different means – by road, by air, by sea or by rail. Often, a combination of these is preferable, either to see more of the country in a limited timeframe, or to enjoy different experiences and landscapes along the way.

There are a number of iconic trains of Australia, which were built to transport goods as well as to provide a lifeline to many of the remote outback communities found there. Taking one or more of these rail journeys provides a chance to meet the locals, realise the sheer vastness of the country and to enjoy the varied and beautiful landscapes at leisure.

The Ghan

Originally named the ‘Afghan Express’, the route took its name from the migrant cameleers that created a trail into the Red Centre over 150 years ago. The first Ghan train departed from Adelaide in 1929, bound for Stuart (now called Alice Springs). In 1980, a new standard gauge rail track was opened alongside the now obsolete original narrow gauge track. In 2004, the link from Alice Springs to Darwin was completed, and it became possible to travel length of the country by rail. Taking three nights and four days, covering 2979 kilometres, the Ghan now runs from Darwin in the north of the country to Adelaide in the South. With stops in Katherine, Alice Springs and Coober Pedy it is possible to take the whole journey or just a section of it.

There are three key classes of travel to choose between – Red Service, Gold Service and Platinum Service. For those on a budget, Red Service offers a reclining seat and communal facilities. However, if the budget allows our recommendation would be to opt for Gold or Platinum Service. Gold Service offers a private cabin with upper and lower berths, en suite facilities, meals, selected drinks and off-train excursions included. Almost twice the size of the Gold Service Cabin, and in addition to the Gold inclusions, a Platinum Service Cabin provides ample space to relax in, double or twin beds, transfers at the start and end of your rail journey, in-cabin breakfast and access to the Platinum Lounge.

A journey on the Ghan can be easily combined with a self-drive itinerary between Adelaide and Melbourne (taking in Kangaroo Island, the Grampians and the Great Ocean Road), or from Alice Springs to Kings Canyon and Ayers Rock to explore the Red Centre.

Trains of Australia

Picture courtesy of Great Southern Rail

Indian Pacific

As the name suggest, this rail route links the Indian Ocean in the west with the Pacific Ocean in the east. The route began with two separate routes – one from Perth to Kalgoorlie and one from Port Augusta to Sydney but in order to improve accessibility to the remote colonies of the west, it was determined that a track be run between Kalgoorlie and Port Augusta to complete the route. In 1917, the middle section was completed enabling the west and the east to be connected. Originally, passengers had to change train at least five times between Perth and Sydney due to different rail gauges but in 1969 this changed, and it was finally possible to travel from the breadth of the country uninterrupted. The Indian Pacific train took its first journey from Sydney in 1970. Taking three nights and four days, covering 4352 kilometres, the Indian Pacific runs from Perth in the west of the country to Sydney in the east. With stops in Kalgoorlie, Adelaide and Broken Hill en route, it is possible to take the whole journey or just a section of it.

As with the Ghan, the same three key classes of travel are available – Red Service, Gold Service and Platinum Service. A journey on the Indian Pacific works perfectly dove-tailed with a self-drive itinerary at either end, or perhaps alight in Adelaide and explore South Australia.

Trains of Australia

Picture courtesy of Great Southern Rail

Queensland Rail

In Queensland, there are a number of iconic train journeys to consider. These include:

  • The Spirit of Queensland runs from Brisbane to Cairns covering 1681 kilometres in 24 hours
  • The Tilt Train connects Brisbane with Bundaberg and Rockhampton, taking 4.5 hours for the former and 7.5 hours for the latter.
  • The Spirit of the Outback takes passengers from Brisbane to Longreach – connecting the coast with the outback. It covers 1325 kilometres in approximately 24-26 hours.

Other routes include The Westlander, The Inlander, The Kuranda Scenic Railway, The Gulflander and The Savannahlander. Whichever route you choose in Queensland, there are a number of classes of travel to choose from, as well as beautiful scenery to enjoy. These can be easily combined with a self-drive in Queensland or New South Wales.

In summary, Australia offers a fantastic range of beautiful rail journeys – to include one or more in your Australia holiday will enhance your experience and is easily combined with travel by road and by air.

img.centered { display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; }

Newsletter

To receive all the latest tips an advice enter your email address below

 

CLICK HERE >>> to see Newsletter Archives.

Follow Us

 

Experience Holidays is fully bonded under the Civil Aviation Authority ATOL scheme and is a member of the Worldchoice Consortium.
All the flights and flight-inclusive holidays sold by us on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotels and other services) is listed on it. Please see our booking conditions for further information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.caa.co.uk
Book your holiday with confidence, safe in the knowledge that your money is protected and your holiday is in safe hands.

Not all holiday or travel services offered on this website will be protected by the ATOL scheme. Those package arrangements which do not include any flights and therefore not protected by our ATOL are covered by TRIP. See TRIP statement here.