Topdeck
12 Day Down South & Outback

$1,990.00

Topdeck’s 14-day Down South & Outback is an amazing Australian coach tour between Melbourne and Alice Springs. Drive the Great Ocean Road between Melbourne and Adelaide, paint your own boomerang at an Aboriginal cultural centre, visit a Clare Valley winery, tour an opal mine in Coober Pedy, see sunrise at Uluru.

Description

Starts: Melbourne VIC, Australia
Ends: Alice Springs, George Crescent, Ciccone NT 0870, Australia

Day 1: Melbourne to Port Campbell

If you’ve ever seen a car commercial, chances are you’ve seen the Great Ocean Road. With mere metres between road and water, hairpin bends and epic views out every window – today you’ll join the list of five million people to do this road-of-passage each year. Before putting rubber on the Great Ocean Road, we’ll spot koalas in the wild and lunch in a seaside village. This afternoon is all about the Twelve Apostles, aka the Stonehenge of Australia. Tonight chill out and get to know who you’re travelling with. (D)

Day 2: Port Campbell to Halls Gap

From one natural wonder to another, we’ll explore the 167,000 hectares of The Grampians – a mecca for hikers and rock climbers. More than just a place to get geology goosebumps, you’ll be standing on sacred ground, with 80% of Victoria’s Aboriginal rock art on show. Meet the traditional land owners, whose ancestors were scratching and dabbing their Dreamtime stories onto rock long before the Pyramids of Egypt were conceived. Then paint your own story onto a boomerang. Dinner with the crew tonight. (B, D)

Day 3: Halls Gap to Mt Gambier

Next up: MacKenzie Falls, the largest waterfall in Victoria. It’s no Niagara, but flowing water is guaranteed year-round – a rare promise in a country that’s 40% desert. Then, the Northern Grampians for one last panorama shot where #natureporn trends with views to Mt Williams, the highest peak in the park and third-highest mountain in Victoria. Tonight, after a walking tour, get a slice of history as you get some shut eye in Old Mt. Gambier Gaol. (B)

Day 4: Mt Gambier to Adelaide

Stroll through the Valley Lake conservation area and learn about the pre-human flora and fauna existence. Snap madly away on the camera as you spot a Skippy – hot tip: don’t go to hug one. Before kicking on to Adelaide, check out the Blue Lake (depending on what time of the year you visit, the lake changes colour) and the Umpherston Sinkhole. Because no South Australian voyage is complete without wine, we get to concoct our own potion as we stop at Wynn’s Coonawarra vineyard. Chin chin! (B)

Day 5: Adelaide*

You’ve made it to one of the world’s coolest cities (according to Lonely Planet). Today’s a free day for the adventurous to head out to spot seals, kangaroos and penguins on Australia’s answer to the Galapagos: Kangaroo Island. Learn about some of the 46 endemic species. Spend the day slurping noodles in the Adelaide Central Market, or take a tram to the seaside village of Glenelg. (B)

Day 6: Adelaide to Parachilna

There are more wineries around here than flies on a sheep. On our way to the Clare Valley, we’ll stop at the Barossa Reservoir Whispering Wall – there’s a time and a place for confessions. This isn’t it. There is a classic Aussie pub at the end of the road today. (B, D)

Day 7: Parachilna to Quorn

Flinders Ranges National Park is a spoiled brat, it has everything. From mountains to gorges and creeks to rivers, you’re lucky you get to play in it today. Take a hike to Wilpena Pound – a natural amphitheatre about three times the size of Uluru. Then to rock art site Arkaroo Rock. (B, L, D)

Day 8: Quorn to Coober Pedy

Destination: Coober Pedy. Where locals live in homes carved deep underground to escape the heat. Along with these subterranean houses, this place is know for another little gem. Opals. 75% of the world’s opals come from here. We’ll take a mine and town tour to check it all out. Then: time to meet the orphans of the kangaroo world and learn more about how abandoned joeys are nurtured back into the wild. (B, D)

Day 9: Coober Pedy to Alice Springs

It’s time to cross the gemstone littered and soft grounds of the Moon Plain up the middle of Australia. Then, check out the world’s longest Dingo Fence (good thing there’s a gate) and truck on past some very remote roadhouses before crossing the border into the Northern Territory. That resort pool is just what the doctor ordered. (B)

Day 10: Alice Springs to Uluru

We’re hitting the red ground running as we pull into Yulara. It’s off to the breathtaking Uluru in the afternoon for a guided tour, and a glass of bubbles as the glow of sunset morphs through 50 shades of red. Tonight hone your Aussie BBQ skills and cook your own steak (or veggie burger). Welcome to the outback, mate. (D)

Day 11: Uluru

Start your day with a big bowl of ‘oh my god’ thanks to a breathtaking sunrise back at Uluru. Follow in the footsteps of the traditional owners of this sacred World Heritage site with a full base walk, where you can escape the crowds and check out hidden waterholes. Keep watch for wedge-tailed eagles, spinifex hopping mice and thorny devils. Or splurge on a Harley ride or scenic flight and soar over the rock. Later, join an optional meditative dot painting class in the Aboriginal Art Markets and give yourself a free astrology lesson, stargazing at the endless Southern night sky. (B)

Day 12: Uluru to Kings Canyon

Get ready for some soul searching as we venture into the heart of sacred Kata-Tjuta (The Olgas) and walk amongst the 36 red sandstone giants through the Valley of the Winds. After a Dreamtime archeology lesson, and a drive into Watarrka National Park, live the life of a jolly swagman as we sleep under the stars in custom swags. Cue campfire stories and marshmallows tonight. (B, D)

Day 13: Kings Canyon to Alice Springs

If you would walk 500 miles (steps), then you’ll make it through the toughest part of the Rim Walk – Heart Attack Hill. The Kings Canyon Rim Walk is the real deal and the most famous canyon in Oz. Think age-old cycads, eroded dome shapes, a visit to The Lost City – and that’s not even the best part. The sheltered valley and waterhole of the Garden of Eden makes today bloody bonza (translation: awesome). (B, L)

Day 14: Alice Springs

Wake up. Rub eyes. Climb into a hot air balloon. Just saying, it’s an option…and an amazing start to the day. Back to earth venture on an excursion out amongst the Western MacDonnell Ranges. Our stops include the peaceful Simpsons Gap and the impressive Standley Chasm. It’s back to Alice Springs to grab a late lunch and explore the town centre. This afternoon, have a wander. There are local Aboriginal art galleries to check out, the Desert Park Gardens to explore and the Reptile Centre to get creeped out in. Book in the optional late afternoon Kangaroo Sanctuary tour for sunset. (B)

Inclusions: – Sunset and sunrise over Uluru – Hike to MacKenzie Falls – Stay underground in Coober Pedy – Visit a kangaroo orphanage – Valley of the Winds’ walk at Kata Tjuta – Guided hike of Kings Canyon – View the magic of the Flinders Ranges – Great Ocean Road and sunset at Twelve Apostles – Stunning Grampians National Park – Make your own wine in Coonawarra – Paint your own souvenir boomerang

Plus: – 12 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 7 dinners – 10 nights in hotels, lodges & hostels, 1 night underground, 1 night in a swag – Entrance fees to national parks – Modern air-conditioned vehicle – Awesome Driver Guide