Day 1: Sydney/Melbourne – – Darwin
Welcome to the Top End! You arrive in Darwin, the far-flung capital of the Northern Territory, and have the next two full days to explore this quirky city however you like. One must is a walk along the waterfront, or a trip to Mindil Beach to watch the sunset.
Day 2: Darwin (B, D)
How will you spend your first full day in Darwin? Make a point to hop between any of the museums and galleries, such as The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin Military Museum, or the Fannie Bay Gaol. Get up close with some of the NT’s most fearsome (and scaly) residents at Crocosaurus Cove, or take a stroll past the blooms of Darwin Botanic Gardens. This evening, head to the port to board the Charles Darwin for a sunset cruise that includes a buffet dinner of Northern Territory-inspired cuisine. Have your camera at the ready to capture the striking colours of a NT sunset!
Day 3: Darwin (B)
Today is yours to do what you like! Those keen on a day trip out of the city can also make the drive out to Litchfield National Park, about 90 minutes’ away by car. Litchfield is slightly closer than Kakadu and makes a more manageable day trip; expect to see its recognisable magnetic termite mounds, as well as gorgeous waterfalls, swimming holes, and more.
Day 4: Darwin – The Ghan Expedition – Katherine (B, L, D)
A transfer picks you up from the hotel at the necessary time and takes you to the railway station for your to step aboard The Ghan, one of Australia’s most legendary trains. Drop your bags in your cabin and have some time to relax, or begin to mingle with your fellow passengers in the Outback Explorer Lounge. A lunch of a regionally-inspired menu is served in the dining car and then it is time for your first off-train excursion: in Katherine. This town is often referred to as where the ‘outback meets the tropics’, and the wider is renowned for its natural beauty – hot springs, sandstone landscapes, deep gorges, and plunging waterfalls. You may like to take an excursion of a scenic cruise through Nitmiluk Gorge while learning about local Indigenous culture, before returning to The Ghan later this evening for dinner.
Day 5: Alice Springs (B, L, D)
Wake up after your first night aboard The Ghan, glimpse out your cabin window and find yourself looking out to the vast landscape of Australia’s Red Centre. Today is based around Alice Springs and the excursions available using the town as a launching pad. No matter which outings you take up, you have an equally spectacular night to look forward to: a mouth-watering barbecue dinner served under the stars at Alice Springs Telegraph Station.
Day 6: Coober Pedy (B, L, D)
Find yourself having crossed the border from Northern Territory into South Australia overnight, and prepare for today’s adventure to Coober Pedy as The Ghan rolls into the Outback outpost of Manguri. From here you will spend the entire day exploring Coober Pedy, one of the most unique townships in Australia. Most of this mining town settlement lies below ground; a labyrinth of houses, shops and hotels. There is even an underground church. Learn more about life here and how Coober Pedy came to be, and take in its famous lunar-like surrounds. Your lunch today is served how many of the locals enjoy it: underground. Dinner, however, is taken back aboard The Ghan for your final evening on this iconic train.
Day 7: Adelaide – – Sydney/Melbourne (B)
Watch out your cabin window as the passing-by landscape changes by expanses of red sand to green hills and more tightly clustered homes; a sure sign that you are approaching Adelaide, the capital of South Australia. You travel through the Flinders Ranges while grazing on brunch and arrive into the City of Churches by mid-morning. You have the remainder of the day as yours upon disembarking The Ghan.