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6 day outback cultural experience Experience the ancient culture of the Red Centre

This memorable six-day tour of the Red Centre takes you to some of Australia’s premier cultural sites. You’ll create your own dot painting, experience a sunset over Uluru, hit the road for some outback driving, explore the inimitable Kings Canyon, go on a private tour of the East MacDonnell Ranges and much more.

Your cultural tour of the Red Centre

The Red Centre of Australia is alive with incredible stories, cultural sites, arts and crafts. To find the best of the best, you just need to know where to look.

Book yourself a comfortable hire car, prepare an inspirational playlist of tunes to accompany you on your drive, and get ready to hit the road for the trip of a lifetime.

Day 1

Land in the spiritual heart of Australia

As your flight descends into the desert town of Yulara – which is the nearest town to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park – see if you can spot the most iconic rock in all of Australia. Uluru is clearly visible from Yulara and a spectacular sight to see from the air – its first sight is sure to stir up excitement about the cultural tour of the Red Centre that you’re about to embark upon.

Settle in at your deluxe hotel

Your accommodation for the night is the Desert Gardens Hotel, a 4.5 star hotel within the Ayers Rock Resort complex. Many of the rooms offer stunning views of Uluru; all are situated within beautiful native gardens. Before you head out for the day’s cultural adventures, freshen up with a swim in the sparkling pool.

Get creative at a dot painting workshop

What better way to start your cultural tour of the Red Centre than with a dot painting workshop? Join the morning session run by Maruku Arts in Yulara, which is led by a local Anangu artist and interpreter. Learn about ancient symbols used in Anangu art and teachings, and pick up some local Pitjantjatjara words.

An extraordinary way to experience Uluru

Next, it’s time to join a SEIT Patji tour. On this exclusive tour, you’ll join a traditional owner of Uluru on their homelands and spend time learning about the oldest living culture in the world. Patji is just south of Uluru, outside of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Enjoy an afternoon tea round the campfire, then continue on to a private sand dune to marvel at the expanse of the desert overlooking Uluru and Kata Tjuta while enjoying drinks and light snacks at sunset.

Day 2

An early morning walk around Uluru

Fuel up on breakfast early, before setting off to join the free guided walk from the Mala carpark. A Ranger will guide you along a shaded track at Uluru, stopping to discuss Tjukurpa (Aboriginal law) stories associated with Mala ancestors, rock art, traditional Anangu lifestyle, history and the environment.

Settle in for an outback drive

A big part of the outback experience is getting behind the wheel (or, if you’re lucky, being a passenger) and hitting the road. Stock up on supplies for the trip ahead. Your destination today is Kings Canyon, which is about four hours’ drive away.

Spot wildlife in Watarrka National Park

The infamous Kings Canyon is in Watarrka National Park, an expansive place where the scenic landscape of rugged ranges, rockholes and gorges acts as a refuge for many plants and animals who would otherwise struggle in the harsh central Australian environment.

Unwind at Kings Canyon Resort

Kings Canyon Resort is an oasis in the heart of Australia, only a short distance from the beautiful Kings Canyon and Lost City rock formations. Nestled in the tranquillity of a rugged bush setting, air-conditioned deluxe spa and standard rooms provide welcome comfort after a day of adventure and exploration.

Catch a spectacular sunset

Time your stroll to the Sunset Viewing Platform at Kings Canyon Resort to watch the landscape come alive with colour as the sun dips behind Carmichael's Crag and the George Gill Range. Watch the colours of the sandstone and sky change before the stars come out. Bring your camera and a chair, grab a drink from the pop-up bar and marvel at the magical environment.

Have dinner under a desert moon

Treat yourself to Under a Desert Moon, an exclusive dining experience at Kings Canyon Resort. With the only light coming from the moon and the flickering glow of the fire, and the only sounds being the whisper of the breeze and the crackling flames, you will feel as though you are at one of the most remote places on earth – all while enjoying a superb six course menu along with some of Australia's finest wines.

Day 3

Set off at sunrise to walk the rim

Sunrise is the best time to tackle the iconic hike to the top of Kings Canyon, otherwise known as the Rim Walk. It’s a six kilometre circuit that starts with a challenging 500-step stair climb – but you’re rewarded at the top with incredible views of the Lost City and the option to descend into the Garden of Eden's lush greenery and natural swimming hole.

Immerse yourself in Central Australian culture

Pack your car and head towards Kings Creek Station, where you’re joining the Karrke Aboriginal Cultural Experience Tour. This tour teaches you all about Aboriginal culture – things like bush tucker, bush medicine, birds, plant knowledge, clapping sticks, dot paintings, seed necklaces, wood artefacts, and other arts and crafts.

Hit the road, destination Alice Springs

Following an incredible morning soaking up the sights of Kings Canyon and learning about the ancient culture of Central Australia, it’s time to hit the road. Your destination today is Alice Springs, which is about five and a half hours’ drive from Kings Creek Station.

Check in at the Squeakywindmill

Your room for the night is The Squeakywindmill Boutique Tent B&B, offering spectacular views of the outback from your comfortable tent. If you’ve got time following your road trip, check out some of the Aboriginal Art Galleries in and around Alice Springs. If not, kick back with your favourite beverage on the deck and simply soak up the views.

Dinner around the campfire

Depending on your drive time, you may be able to join the Mbantua Dinner Tour with RT Tours, which will pick you up from your accommodation at 4pm and take you out along the Western McDonnell Ranges to a magnificent bush setting. Dinner is a delicious three course meal cooked in a bush oven or open fire, under the Milky Way.

Day 4

Take a private tour of the serene East MacDonnell Ranges

The East MacDonnell Day Tour by Sandrifter Safaris sets off early, with a visit to Emily Gap to view ancient rock art. From there, your next stop is Coroboree Rock, with a short walk around this billion-year-old seafloor remnant followed by morning tea of fresh scones and a warm drink.

Then, it’s time to explore the stunning ranges and their rock formations. You’ll also learn about the first European settlement in the Northern Territory. A private picnic lunch under the shade of a gum tree is followed by a stroll up Trephina Gorge.

Day 5

Hit the road and head north

Your destination today is Tennant Creek, 500km straight up Highway 1. Start your drive in the cool of the early morning so that you’ve got plenty of time to explore one of the nation’s most famous rock formations along the way.

Explore Karlu Karlu

Stop in at the iconic Karlu Karlu (Devils Marbles) on your way to Tennant Creek. This remarkable rock formation is believed by the Warmungu Aboriginal people to be the fossilised eggs of the Rainbow Serpent. Take a short, self-guided walk around these massive granite boulders that reach up to six metres high.

Spend the afternoon immersed in art

Your main destination at Tennant Creek is the Nyinkka Nyunyu Culture Centre, a fascinating art centre, gallery and culture museum where you can learn all about the local Warumungu culture. Have a chat with knowledgeable local Warumungu, who are always happy to share their stories with you.

A good night’s sleep at the inn

Get a comfortable night’s sleep at the Bluestone Motor Inn, providing comfortable and relaxed accommodation with a friendly local feel.

Day 6

An early drive back to Alice

Rise with the sun – or earlier if you want to catch a spectacular sunrise – and hit the road early back to Alice Springs. As you head south, take the time to reflect on the amazing cultural experiences of the past few days.

A final cultural immersion

There's one thing left to do before you jump on an afternoon flight home. Join the remarkable Rainbow Valley Cultural Tour, where your friendly Aboriginal guide will reveal the spectacular art site of Rainbow Valley. See rock art, engravings and occupation sites, and learn about the cultural significance of this remote place. 

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