Melbourne to the Red Centre: Rainforests & Mountain Ranges

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Overview

Now's the time to explore Australia on your terms with this tour that's affordable for young travellers. Got thirteen days and a thirst for adventure Down Under? Then pack your bags, buddy, because we have a trip through Australia that's calling your name. Explore Melbourne before hitting the Great Ocean Road and cutting through the Outback to the Red Centre where you’ll experience the mysteries of Uluru and gain insight into Aboriginal Australian culture. We've got the travel nitty-gritty taken care of, so all you have to do is buckle in, sit back, and enjoy the ride.

Itinerary

Day 1: Melbourne

Arrive at any time.

Tonight, get to know Melbourne as a group. Spend some time socializing in the rooftop seating area at the Space Hostel where you are staying. Then maybe head to the bar attached to the hostel called Blue Moon Karaoke for some great beer and cheap eats. Make sure you get those vocals ready because someone is getting up and singing before the night is over.

There are no planned activities during the day, so check into the hotel and explore the city. If you arrive early enough, head into the city to take in the 'cultural capital of Australia'. Get lost in the city's famous laneways, go on the hunt for the perfect flat white (hint: Melbourne loves its coffee shops), catch the tram to St. Kilda, or wander around the über-cool Fitzroy neighbourhood.

Day 2: Melbourne/Port Campbell

Say hello to the Great Ocean Road — arguably the most iconic road in all of Australia! You won’t even mind waking up early for views like the ones you’ll see as you drive to Port Campbell. Travel up the famous surf coast visiting quaint towns like Lorne and Apollo Bay en route. Get in touch with nature on an included rainforest walk in Great Otway NP.

Then gaze in wonder and feel the wind whip through your hair as you admire the 12 Apostles, the kind of landmark that somehow finds a way to be more stunning in person than in photos. Try as you might, it may be time to put those cameras down and just enjoy being in the moment.

Includes: Breakfast

Day 3: Port Campbell/Halls Gap

Open your eyes in the laid-back coastal town of Port Campbell and lace up those hiking boots for a visit to the Tower Hill Wildlife Reservation. Walk through the verdant landscape and be on the lookout for the wildlife that has multiplied on the inside of this volcanic crater. Trek through the forest with those cameras at the ready before continuing on to Grampians National Park for your next adventure!

Start the day visiting more attractions of the Great Ocean Road including The Arch and the now broken London Bridge. Visit Tower Hill State Wildlife Reserve for a chance to see animals endemic to Australia such as koalas, emus and kangaroos. Opt to visit an Indigenous Cultural Centre to learn about the significance of the area to the indigenous people. End the day with an evening walk in the Grampians NP.

Includes: Breakfast

Day 4: Halls Gap/Adelaide

Skip sleeping in this morning to get out and about in Grampians National Park. Wander through lush forest, view the craggy sandstone Wonderland range in the distance, and examine impressive Indigenous rock art. Home to some pretty amazing scenic lookouts this national park will grant you with many photo opportunities so make sure those cameras are charged before heading into the thick of it all. Walk to the stunning Balconies for expansive views of the Victoria Valley below, then stop at one of the largest waterfalls in Victoria; Mackenzie Falls and watch the water cascading down cliff faces as it creates rainbows in the air. Close your eyes, breathe in the fresh air, and find peace in the moment. As the day winds down head to Adelaide with the group and find some nightlife to enjoy as the starts fill the sky.

Early start to explore more of Grampians NP. Walk to the stunning Jaws of Death Balconies, visit MacKenzie's Falls, and travel onto Adelaide, the capital of South Australia.

Includes: Breakfast

Day 5: Adelaide

Get ready to stuff your face in the food and wine capital of Australia; Adelaide. Wander the clean laneways and sample your way from place to place as the sun warms your skin. With an emerging art scene, natural beauty, interesting attractions, and incredible restaurants, Adelaide has tons to see and do. Get out and discover the hub of South Australia!

If you're travelling between mid-September to late-April, opt to pre-book the "Dolphin Swim and Cruise" activity on the checkout page, for an epic time!

If you're travelling between mid-September to late-April, opt to pre-book the "Dolphin Swim and Cruise" activity on the checkout page, to include this optional on your tour.

Day 6: Adelaide/Ikara-Flinders Ranges

Hit the road in the morning with your group and admire the scenic views across the Clare Valley. No road trip is complete without a few pit stops; enjoy a local food experience featuring some of Southern Australia’s best regional produce. Then it’s onward to the Ikara-Flinders Ranges, an ancient mountain range that will be your base for the next two nights.

Driving through this region is about as close as any humans can get to navigating the face of Mars. Have your cameras ready as you pass through jaw-dropping landscapes, historic outback towns, and fascinating Indigenous sites.

Includes: Breakfast

Day 7: Ikara-Flinders Ranges

Wake up surrounded by deep red ravines and towering cliffs; sneak in a few pictures, sit back and savour the moment. Then, head to Wilpena Pound for a walk to an 800 million-year-old natural amphitheatre carved out of the mountains in Ikara-Flinders Ranges NP and sacred to the Indigenous Adnyamathana people. Visit these Indigenous art sites and learn more about the art and customs of early settler history and be on the lookout for wildlife like, emus, kangaroos, and wallabies during your visit.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Ikara-Flinders Ranges/Adelaide

Wave farewell to the ancient and rugged mountain landscapes of Ikara-Flinders Ranges NP as the group journeys south again to Adelaide. On the way pass through the historic railway township of Quorn; with its picturesque setting and heritage buildings it has been the set of a few movies. Then, stop for a waterside lunch at Port Pirie with your group where you can grab anything from seafood to curry and sit along the water admiring the day.

Spend an evening out in Adelaide enjoying each other's company before the next adventure begins.

Includes: Breakfast

Day 9: Adelaide/Alice Springs

Rise early and board your flight to Alice Springs, gateway to the Red Centre of Australia. Take advantage of a free afternoon to relax, visit the Royal Flying Doctors Museum, or hike up ANZAC Hill.

Alice Springs is home to some of Australia’s most stirring landscapes from ochre-red gorges to the ghostly white gum tree and is a key place to begin understanding Indigenous Australia and all of its present day challenges. If it’s not too hot and you’re feeling stir crazy hop on a bike and head out to find adventure.

Includes: Breakfast

Day 10: Alice Springs/Kings Creek

Looking for a different perspective? Choose to wake up extra early for a hot air balloon flight over Alice Springs then charge those cameras and hit the road to Kings Canyon. Journey to Australia’s famous Red Centre passing through desert plains, weathered mountain ranges, rocky gorges, and some of the most sacred Indigenous sites in the country. Spend your first night together under the stars in a true Aussie desert swag (padded bed roll) and let the good times roll... no pun intended!

Includes: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 11: Kings Creek/Uluru

Rise early, beat the heat, and embark on a morning walk through the gorges and valleys of Kings Canyon. Take in the spectacular views surrounding you and simply enjoy being in the moment. Then it’s time to hop on the bus and drive to Uluru, where Australia’s most iconic view awaits. Grab a glass of bubbly and enjoy one of the most colourful sunsets of your life as Uluru puts on an unforgettable show in the fading light.

Enjoy the morning taking in the scenery or by going on an optional 6km walk through the gorges and valleys of Kings Canyon of Watarrka National Park.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Uluru

Get in touch with your inner zen as you wake near one of the most spiritual places in Australia. Listen to your peaceful surroundings and reflect before you begin the day. Watch as the sun lights up the sky and changes the landscape before your eyes then visit an Indigenous culture centre with the group and partake in the informative Mala Walk at Uluru.

This walk is perfect if you are looking to see lots of Indigenous rock art and get away from the crowds. Wander between the sheer walls and tranquility of Kantju Gorge as you explore one of Australia’s most recognizable landmarks. See the colours change before your eyes, learn the significance behind this destination for the local people, and let Uluru capture your heart.

This morning, awake before the sun so you can watch it rise over Uluru (Ayers Rock). Then, do the Mala Walk around part of the base of Uluru while learning its significance to the local Indigenous people. Visit the cultural centre to get a better understanding of the area.

Opt to pre-book the "Uluru & Kata Tjuta Helicopter Ride" activity on the checkout page ahead of time, to include this optional on your tour.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 13: Uluru/Alice Springs

The unexplainable energy of the Red Centre will have you itching to head out on another hike. You’re in luck because the group will travel to the Mars-like rock formations of Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) to explore the surrounding area. If the temperature isn’t too unbearable you’ll also get to walk through the Valley of the Winds, which is full of dusty orange rock domes just waiting to be enjoyed. Snap some pics, wander away from everyone and revel in the peaceful atmosphere of the Australian Outback before making the drive back to Alice Springs.

The tour ends on arrival, but you can always extend your trip if you aren’t quite ready to go home.

Travel to the rock formations of Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) and, temperature permitting, walk through the Valley of the Winds to explore the surrounding area before continuing onto Alice Springs.

The tour ends upon arrival to Alice Springs in the evening.

Includes: Breakfast

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