The wildest and heartiest side of Australia in Campervan
Australia is a country that has everything, from beaches and mountains to jungle and desert, with very varied and extreme climates, as well as its landscapes. This time we will visit the state called Northern Territory, which includes the center and northern center of Australia, and is the most desolate area of the country, as well as the one with the highest percentage of indigenous population (aborigines).
We will start the trip in Darwin, the state capital that is in the extreme north and has a tropical climate. There we will visit the city to learn a little about its history and culture. The Darwin Museum is an excellent exhibition of what the Northern Territory is, perfect to understand where one is standing. We will also visit the Litchfield National Park to see the impressive termite mounds and the rainforest waterfalls.
Then we will go to the red center, to the heart of Australia, where we will travel great distances in a rented campervan, appreciating the amazing landscape. We will also see the life of wild animals such as camels, kangaroos, dingoes, local birds, among others, to reach points of interest. First to the Watarrka National Park where the Kathleen Springs and the impressive Kings Canyon are located. In the Kings Canyon circuit you can see the dramatic cliffs of the canyon, rock dunes and even a part with abundant vegetation in the middle of the dryness of the desert.
Finally we will move to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, where one of the most iconic places in Australia is located: Uluru. Uluru is one of the largest monoliths in the world and a sacred place for Australian Anangu aborigines. Going around the 10.6km contour and learning about its cultural and spiritual significance is a unique experience. The other main attraction of this national park is Kata Tjuta or «Las Olgas». There are several formations of reddish rock in which the circuit “Valley of the winds” is located. This is more demanding than Uluru and with slopes that will take you to incredible views from on high.
The prices that appear per day are referential and correspond to the sum of activities that were made that day
Reach Darwin and take a taxi to the hostel. Get settled and go by public transport to the Darwin Museum “Museum and Art Gallery of Northern Territory” which is free. Then take public transportation again to Bicentennial Park, a park that borders the coast. Walk down the street “The Mall” which is the center of Darwin. You can have lunch in that area. Then go through the Darwin Cathedral on the way to the “waterfront”, where you can swim in an artificial beach.
Rent a car for one day and go to Litchfield National Park (1hr 30min). Stop first in the “Magnetic Termite Mounds”. Then go to the Tolmer Falls where there is a viewpoint and you can go through a circuit at the top. It is a good place to have lunch before keep going. Then you can visit the Wangi Falls and finally go to the Florence Falls where you can go down to the waterfalls by a circuit and you can swim and relax. Return to Darwin (1h 45min). Do not forget to bring your lunch!
Return the car in the airport and take a plane to Alice Springs. Rent a campervan and drive to Kathleen Springs in the Watarrka National Park (5h 40min). Do the trekking of there and then go to the Kings Canyon Resort. Settle in the campground area and take a rest for the afternoon. You can see the sunset from a viewpoint next to the campground. The colors on the red rock change as the sun goes down.
Drive to the Kings Canyon parking lot and do the full trekking circuit that goes around the top of the canyon (Kings Canyon Rim Walk) showing spectacular views and dramatic cliffs. This circuit is 6km and takes 3-4 hours on average. Then drive to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park (4hr), buy the 3-day pass, and watch the sunset from the Uluru viewpoint. Sleep at the Ayers Rock Resort Campground.
Drive to the parking lot of Kata Tjuta (45min). Make the complete circuit “Valley of the Winds” that will take you along a route that crosses valleys of reddish rock where the views change as you go up or down and new peaks are discovered on the horizon. The circuit is 7.4km and lasts about 4 hours on average. Then you can have lunch in the parking lot and rest to see the sunset from the viewpoint. Return to the campground (45min).
Go to Mala parking lot and take the free tour for the “Mala Walk”. Then follow the circuit around Uluru (“Base Walk”) which has a total of 10.6km and takes 3.5 hours on average. On the way you will see how the walls of the immense rock, natural water wells and caves vary. Then go to the rest area Mt. Polhill to spend the night (5h). The next day return the campervan in Alice Springs and take a plane to Sydney.
The lodging that is shown in the list of each night is recommended by the traveler, you can find more similar options. The cost is per person in a double bed room.
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The prices that appear by transport are referential and correspond to what the traveler paid at that moment
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In Darwin, on Thursdays and Sundays from April to October, you can visit the “Mindil Beach Sunset Market”, where you will find an immense variety of food, crafts and indigenous art.
In Darwin it is very hot, it is advisable to move on public transport for relatively long distances.
If you rent an off-road vehicle to go to Litchfield National Park, you have the possibility to access routes through which few people can go and look for the famous “salties” or saltwater crocodiles on the banks of the rivers.
Attention to the animals that may appear on the route through the red center. There may be kangaroos, camels, dingoes, lizards, cows or other animals in the area.
In the red center during the day it is very hot and the sun is very intense, but at night the temperature drops a lot (up to about zero degrees centigrade). You have to be prepared with enough shelter.
Hydration is very important for the hikes in desert, always load water and hydrate regularly.
Before making walks through Uluru and Kata Tjuta, it is ideal to first go through the Information Center to learn about the place, the culture of the Anangu, and to plan well the routes. In the circuit of Kata Tjuta it is advisable to take light coat since the name “Valley of the Winds” is not in vain.
A super economic option to spend the nights of Uluru-Kata Tjuta is to park in the rest area that is 20km before Yulara (village outside the national park). You will surely see other vehicles parked there. Just remember to have everything you need to spend the night (water, food, etc.)
To see the sunsets in any of the places, if you have the time, it is better to go early to find a good place, put chairs and carry some snacks. That way the experience will be even better. The sunrises are just as impressive and there will be fewer people. Keep it in mind.
You can fin information for visas to Australia here
The cost of the taxis taken is per person. Being a trip of two people, multiply by two to find the total cost of taxis.
You can rent vehicle in Australia with any license.
It is convenient to buy a sim card from operator Testra, who is the one who has the best coverage in Australia. This is important especially for the part of the route in campervan.
The value of the car rental in Darwin is divided between two people for the day. That is a total of US $ 54 dollars (US $ 27 x pers).
Before starting the tour in campervan is advisable to stock up on food in Alice Springs since in the other places it will be much more expensive.
The rental value for the campervan is divided between two people for the 4 days that is rented. A total of US $ 186 dollars (US $ 93 x pers). An additional cost of US $ 200 in gasoline is calculated. If they are two people, it is US $ 100 per additional person. Approximately 1300km will be covered in total.