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Explorer’s Way passes through some of the most beautiful natural icons in Australia, including Uluru, Kata Juta, Watarrka/Kings Canyon, the MacDonnell Ranges, Devils Marbles, Nitmiluk Gorge country and the waterfalls of Litchfield National Park. The Explorer’s Way journey is recommended to be done over a minimum 14 days, here is a suggested way you could enjoy the journey. Please keep on sealed roads in your rental car at all times.
Along the journey from South Australia to Coober Pedy, why not stop into Port Augusta? This is a great place to base yourself to explore the Southern and Central Flinders Ranges. Stop over at the Water Tower Lookout to get a great view of Port Augusta or visit the Wadlata Outback Centre to find the best activities for you and your travel party in the area. Travelling further north to Coober Pedy you can find that some local residents actually live underground to escape the heat! Houses, dive bars, a church, and more can be found buried underground in "dugouts". You can also find a few stores specialising in opal jewellery as this used to be an opal mining town!
Travel further north to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and discover the spiritual heart of the Australian Outback. Home to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta and Watarrka National Parks, this desert region is blessed with natural wonders, world class dining experiences and rugged beauty. Take nothing but a map, your car hire and a sense of adventure to find the natural beauty of this area.
Leave the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and drive 300km back along the Lasseter and Luritja highways to Kings Canyon. As well as the 100m sandstone walls of the canyon, Watarrka National Park is home to walking trails, palm-filled crevices and spectacular views across the desert.
For an unforgettable view of the canyon, rise before dawn and follow the 6km trail around its rim. Once you hit the road, head to the Northern Territory's second largest city, Alice Springs. Discover the largest collection of reptiles in the Northern Territory up close and personal at the Alice Springs Reptile Centre or see the desert come alive at the Alice Springs Desert Park. After this, get back onto the sealed Luritja and Lasseter highways, before turning north onto the Stuart Highway.
An easy day trip from Alice Springs are the landscapes of the West MacDonnell Ranges, which include chasms and gorges. Walk along the trail at Simpsons Gap or stand between the sheer walls of Standley Chasm. To cool off why not enjoy a swim at Ellery Creek Big Hole, Ormiston Gorge, Glen Helen Gorge and Redbank Gorge. Along your journey from Alice to Tennant, why not stop into the Devils Marbles? This is a sacred site known as Karlu Karlu to the Warumungu people. These massive ancient granite boulders are strewn across a wide shallow valley, and continue to crack and change.
The Daly Waters Historic Pub is a popular place to stay overnight that offers backpacker, hotel or motel rooms. The pub and grounds are crammed with memorabilia that reveals the pub’s colourful history and those who have passed through its doors. This place is worth a longer stay, so set up camp for the night. Take a break from all the driving and enjoy a rejuvenating swim in the Mataranka Thermal Pool. Fed by spring water in the Daly and Georgina basins, it has a sandy bottom, is surrounded by a palm forest and its waters are a constant 34 degrees!
Katherine is the NT’s fourth largest town, and a great base while exploring the nearby gorge country. Why not explore the vast Nitmiluk National Park’s 13 gorges via a helicopter joy flight, paddle a canoe or join a guided cruise. About 40km north of Katherine is Leliyn Falls (Edith Falls) – a great place for a cooling swim. Litchfield National Park is close proximity to Darwin and unspoiled beauty makes Litchfield popular with day-trippers who come from the city for a dip in the Florence Falls Waterhole, Buley Rockhole and Wangi Falls.
Follow the Explorer’s Way for your first glimpse of the Timor Sea and into Darwin, Australia’s northernmost capital city. You will find yourself in a contemporary multicultural metropolis of open-air markets, festivals, Asian-influenced cuisine, and an outdoor lifestyle.
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