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Outback Tour of the Northern Territory and Western Australia for a small group

Travel can be a challenge, and when you leave the major cities of Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane on a trip by car, or an escorted tour by coach, the sheer scale of outback Australia begins to reveal itself to you as the journey unfolds. This 18 day tour into Outback North, and Western Australia seeks to introduce and further enhance travellers appreciation of this unique and hardy land. The tour starts from the town of  Darwin (and finishes here)  before heading even deeper into the outback, stopping through outback towns like Katherine, before coming through the incredible Arnhem Land, and Kakadu National Park.
The tour heads out from to Darwin  to Timber creek and then heading west through to Kununurra, and delving into Western Australia's iconic Kimberley region.  We book a light aircraft to visit and stay at Purnululu. Returning to Kununurra you enjoy a full day scenic flight and tour of the Kimberley taking in icons such as Mitchell falls. After 5 nights in Western Australia, your small group tour returns to the Northern Territory transferring to Katherine and the to Jabiru in the UNESCO listed Kakadu National Park.  After 3 days exploring the park, the group takes a flight to Nhulunbuy/Yirrkala in the incredible Arnhem land. Returning to Darwin after 6 nights in these amazing UNESCO parks, the group travels with their guide travel out to the Tiwi Islands for 2 nights before returning to Darwin. 
The scheduled departures are during the dry season, the days are dry and in the low 20's (72 F), with the nights in the centre and the desert being quite cold, less than 10 degrees Celsius (50 F). But it is a reasonable climate for travel with high sunshine hours. Each departure has some unique perks along the way, such as the end of the wet season bringing greening to parts of the desert.
The sheer scale of this incredible landscape is often unrecognised on the road, and when travelling through the outback, you'll come to find this journey is an adventure that will continue for far more than just a few days, being a small group tour  that requires planning and destinations selected well in advance for the fit senior traveller. Thankfully with Odyssey this process is streamlined, coming with a huge amount of advantages allowing you to experience the scale and majesty of this incredible outback, along with its hidden history, which can often be missed on a journey by car.
When you travel as part of a small group tour of Australia with Odyssey, your tour guide, whether on Kangaroo Island, in the Northern territory or on a day tour within Western Australia deep in the Kimberley, will be sharing stories with you about the Australian wildlife and some of world’s most beautiful dreamtime stories from the indigenous Australian community as you journey through the outback at time immersed in Aboriginal culture. For you, our client, this Outback tour of Central Australia is a small group tour that seeks to create a program of learning as you travel with us. The learning with your program leader is about the history, the landscapes and biodiversity and then the culture of the place. This tour provides a great platform with up to 6 departures a year.

A truly Australian tour for mature couples and solo travellers.

This is not an adventure Australia tour but it is a wildlife Australia tours, a travel experience across Northern Australia.

This is a fascinating country and this collection of a discovery Australia escorted tour(s) will seek to show how its geographical isolation has allowed for an incredible biodiversity record unlike any of other place on the planet, in its Australian wildlife from the monotreme, to the Kangaroo, platypus, wombat, quokka, echidna and koala, to its plant diversity expressed in the wildflowers of Western Australia or its desert. Not all our tours are wildlife Australia tours, but once tours of Australia leave the built up environment then there will be a wildlife experience at some time on your Australia vacation.

The Aborigines have been present here for some 120,000 years+. They developed not only incredible storytelling to pass on from generation to generation but had the ability to manage world’s most arid continent on a sustainable basis. The Aboriginal people also represented their life and understanding through rock art and painting which we explore in the Kimberley region also on these Western Australia tours

These Australian outback small group tour programs also explore and learn about the importance of the National park network and its unique endemic biodiversity. And finally the Australian outback tours itinerary means we stop at places of importance in the European history of Australia, primarily the outback adventure that was the catastrophic Burke and Wills expedition out of Melbourne and the mapping work of Charles Sturt and his search for the "inland sea". By the time this guided tour returns to Broken Hill our appreciation and understanding of this part of the central outback Australia will have been extended as a result from what we have heard from the expert custodians in Aboriginal culture in the indigenous community and local guides who have a perspective and respect for the European history of the last two centuries.

Because of the intensity of the environment that these outback Australia tours travels through, Odyssey Traveller offers just a maximum of six departures a year in the Autumn through to Spring.

 

 

Articles about Australia published by Odyssey Traveller:

For all the articles Odyssey Traveller has published for mature aged and senior travellers, click through on this link.

Tour of northern Australia FAQs

The need to know points for this program are;

  • It is a 24 day or 23 night tour, staying in multiple locations.
  • There are 3 activity free days spread across the tour, ideal for rest and recuperation. Darwin (day 12), Broome (day 20), & Perth (Day 24). (CHECK)
  • Short flights at the top end for Arnhem land and the Bungles are included.

Odyssey has a collection of Australian Outback tours that will take the senior traveller on a guided tour into the Northern territory with a tour of Australia’s red centre and the Canning stock route or up into Kakadu national park. The Dubbo to Dubbo outback Australia tour is an Australian adventure that takes the senior traveller up through outback Queensland via Winton to Hughenden and then back to Cathedral gorge to see some incredible Aboriginal rock art as you pass through to Lightning ridge and to Dubbo. As well, there is the Outback Australia tour offered as an outback experience as a guided tour of South Australia Flinders range for 14 days including the Oodnadatta track. The Flinders range outback tourincludes the option of a scenic flight over Wilpena pound. Then in Western Australia our Outback tours include a tour of the Kimberley that starts on the west coast before turning inland across Western Australia to the border with the Northern Territory and then returns across the Kimberley to Broome over several days. From Broome there are regular connecting flights to Perth and across to Sydney.

 

The Flinders Range are home to a notable population of kangaroos and wallabies. Perhaps surprisingly, this population has increased since European settlement, as the eradication of dingos and establishment of permanent waterholes for stock has allowed the land to support a more permanent population. The Flinders is home to red kangaroos (the largest kangaroo species), western grey kangaroos and wallaroos. The yellow footed rock wallaby neared extinction after the arrival of Europeans (due to hunting by foxes), but has since recovered in numbers.

The Flinders is also home to several lesser-known marsupials, including the dunnart, and the planigale. There are a large number of bird species in the region, including emus, parrots, galahs, and wedge-tailed eagles. Reptiles include goannas, snakes, dragon lizards, while the streambank froglet is an amphibian found only in the Flinders Ranges and Gammon Ranges. 

Articles

Ochre Cliffs near Lyndhurst Outback South Australia

Ancient Aboriginal trade routes of Australia

16 mins read

Ancient Aboriginal trade routes of Australia Trade was a central part of life for Aboriginal people prior to the British settlement of Australia. Trading routes criss-crossed the nation, dispersing goods, information, technologies and culture thousands…

Pilbara wildflowers WA

The Australian Outback: A Definitive Guide

15 mins read

Explore learn and consider what is the outback in this article. For mature and senior travelers considering joining a small group package tours into the outback to see, learn and explore about this unique place, not only the landscape but the Aboriginal approach to living. On each of the tours for couples and the single traveler you learn something different but fascinating, from Outback Queensland, the Flinders, Broken Hill and the Kimberley and the wildflowers all contribute to this question, what is the outback?

Archaeological mysteries of Australia: How did a 12th century African coin reach Arnhem Land?

10 mins read

Consider the impact of Portuguese, Spanish and Chinese followed by the Dutch trading in the Spice islands to the North of Australia from the 11th century. The probability of African coins reaching a beach become real. Learn more on a small group package tour to Kakadu and Arnhem land or the Kimberley where shipwrecks have been found to consider the impact on Aboriginal history and rock art. Tours for seniors couples and singles. 

Madjedbebe Archaeological Site, Northern Territory

6 mins read

Madjedbebe Archaeological Site, Northern Territory Near the border of western Arnhem Land and Kakadu National Park in Australia’s ‘top end’, Madjedbebe rock shelter (formerly known as Malakunanja II) is the oldest archaeological site in Australia,…


PDF of Tour PDF of Reading List

Overview: We meet as a group in Darwin. There is a late afternoon introduction to the tour program and a welcome dinner.

Accommodation: Doubletree-Hilton Darwin or similar

Overview: The group departs Darwin promptly to make the journey through to Timber creek, following the Victoria river from Katherine.

Accommodation: Timber Creek roadhouse

Overview: We drive through to Kununnurra today crossing the border into Western Australia. We visit Lake Argyll and the Durack farmhouse before making the short journey onto Kununurra and the accommodation.

Evening meal tonight.

Accommodation: Kimberley Grande resort or similar

Overview: This morning we visit the Kununurra art centre to meet senior painters before our flight this afternoon.

The group’s WA trip begins with a two-day adventure with a scenic flight departing Kununurra, taking you on an unforgettable journey over the Ord River, Lake Argyle, Lissadell Station, Texas Downs Station, the Osmand Ranges, and a stunning circuit over the Bungle Bungle Range.

After landing in Purnululu National Park, you will be met by your informative guide, who will lead you on a tour of the famous orange and black banded domes, as well as a walk into Cathedral Gorge. Once you have reached Cathedral Gorge, you can enjoy a fresh picnic lunch in the shade of the towering cliffs surrounding you.

Once returning from this walk, you will arrive at Bungle Bungle Savannah Lodge, where you can relax in the privacy of your ensuite cabin, or else take a dip in the only pool located within the national park. A chef-prepared dinner is served that evening in the Lodge dining area or can be eaten outside under the starry night sky, by the warmth of the outdoor fire pit.

Accommodation: Bungle Bungle Savannah Lodge

Overview: The next morning, you will be driven to the northern end of Purnululu National Park, where you will spend the day exploring Echidna Chasm and nearby trails alongside your guide. Lunch is provided again on this day.

The following leg of our journey takes us to the World Heritage Listed Purnululu National Park (Bungle Bungles). The Bungle Bungle Range is renowned for its striking orange and grey horizontal banded domes. The distinctive beehive-shaped landforms have been produced by uplift and erosion over the last 20 million years.

The Bungle Bungles are, by far, the most outstanding example of cone karst in sandstones anywhere in the world and owe their existence and uniqueness to several interacting geological, biological, erosional and climatic phenomena. The sandstone karst of Purnululu National Park is of great scientific importance in demonstrating so clearly the process of cone karst formation on sandstone – a phenomenon recognized by geomorphologists only recently and still not completely understood. The Bungle Bungle Ranges of the Park also display to an exceptional degree evidence of geomorphic processes of dissolution, weathering and erosion in the evolution of landforms under a savannah climatic regime within an ancient, stable sedimentary landscape. 

In the evening, we return to Kunnumurra in the late afternoon with aerial views of the Argyle Diamond Mine, Ragged Ranges and Carr Boyd Ranges

Accommodation: Kimberley Grande resort or similar

Overview:

Today we embark on a scenic fixed wing flight over the Mitchell Plateau and the incredible Mitchell Falls. The scenery from the air is remarkable, and it gives us a great perspective before seeing it on the ground for afternoon tea.

We continue on along the coast of the kimberley at between 500 -4500 ft above sea level.

We return to Kunumurra in the late afternoon around sunset.

Accommodation: Kimberley Grande resort or similar

Overview: Today we have a Kununurra tour with the local community. The following day we drive through along the Savannah way to Katherine. There is a group meal in Katherine.

Accommodation: Kununurra and Ibis Styles or equivalent.

Overview: Today we travel through to Jaibru. The well laid out Territory Wildlife Park displays only Top End wildlife in its natural habitat & this affords us a chance to familiarise ourselves with the highly specialised animals of the Kakadu/Arnhem region before we get there. There is much to see and learn and this will take us the best part of a day.

We then drive out along the Arnhem Highway to Fogg Dam Conservation Reserve. Here as the sun sets, many kinds of water birds can be seen in close proximity to the road. A little over an hour will get us to the Aurora Kakadu South Alligator for evening meal.

Early river bird-watching walk, with the possibility of seeing crocodiles, then on to Jabiru via Mangarre Forest Walk, Mamukala Bird Observation Hide and Bowali Visitor Centre.

The township of Jabiru was built in 1980 to accommodate staff and families of the Ranger Uranium Mine, but is now the centre of tourism in Kakadu. The Kakadu Park HQ and Bowali Visitor Centre on the Kakadu Highway are a five minute drive from the town. There is quite a bit of wildlife to be seen around the town as a result of a prohibition on cats. The rare Partridge Pigeon can often be seen feeding along the roadsides while the Black-footed Tree-rat and Sugar Glider are also frequently seen.

This will be our introduction to the unique sandstone ecosystems that have made Kakadu famous. Many of the endemic wildlife, such as Chestnut-quilled Rock Pigeons, Banded Fruit-doves, Black Wallaroos and Oenpelli Pythons call this escarpment country home. In addition to this, we are visiting one of the most amazing human history sites in northern Australia. We learn how the art galleries & occupation sites here bear witness to one of the world’s oldest continuous cultures.

We will be driving to a valley in central Kakadu and walking 3kms to a rainforest clad stream where we will see for the first time the amazing Gondwanan Manbinik Trees Allosyncarpia ternata. These giants are seen nowhere else in the world, but have relatives in Malaysia, New Caledonia and South America. They are of great significance to the Bininj people, but have mystified biogeographers with their very limited distribution.

The walk takes us along an almost level, rocky track, fording creeks as we go. At the end of the walk there will be time to relax and have a swim in a series of flowing escarpment pools.

On our return, we may have time to walk (approx 1.6kms) into another famous rock art gallery at Nangaluwurr.

Accommodation: Gagadju Crocodile Holiday Inn Hotel or similar

Overview: The group has a full day exploring the Kakadu park, a world heritage site.

Accommodation: Gagadju Crocodile Holiday Inn Hotel or similar

Overview: Today we will transfer to Jabiru Airport for a flight to East Arnhem Land. Please note: Luggage is restricted to 10kg per person. Large luggage will be safely stored at Jabiru Hotel.

Covering 85,000 square kms, the unspoiled beauty and habitat of Arnhem Land Aboriginal Reserve support one of Australia’s last wilderness areas. Our flight takes us across the rugged escarpment and down the course of the East Alligator River (boundary of Kakadu and Arnhem Land) over the vast floodplain systems of Magela Creek & the East Alligator. The Safari Camp is situated in woodlands north of the main Escarpment beside an impressive sandstone feature called Mt Borradaile. Nearby is another striking feature, a column of stone towering nearly 200m high called Wurragak (Tor Rock). The Cooper Creek wetlands – the focus of our visit – are in close proximity to the camp.

We spend the next 3 days looking at spectacular rock art, wetland bird safaris and exploring the woodlands. During the wet season of Mt Borradaile, all the art sites, billabongs and creek systems are fully accessible by either boat or 4WD vehicle.

Accommodation: TBA Nhulunbuy

Overview: The group meets local aboriginal communities living in this remote part of the Arnhem land.

Accommodation: TBA Nhulunbuy

Overview: Today marks the end of our stay in this very remote part of Australia. We fly back to Darwin (Kakadu Air).

Afternoon is at your leisure.

Accommodation: Novotel Darwin or similar

Overview: The tour concludes after breakfast

1
Visit the iconic outback town of Broome
2
Stop over in Kununurra, gateway to the Kimberley’s.
3
Explore the Kimberley including the Bungles.
4
Visit and learn about the Tiwi islands
5
Spend time in Arnhem land and Kakadu with the local community.

What’s included in our Tour

  • 18 nights accommodation.
  • 18 breakfasts, 15 lunches, 15 dinners.
  • Coach or other vehicle suitable for the journey.
  • Flights and excursions as stated in the itinerary
  • Entrances and sightseeing as specified.
  • Services of Tour Leader for the duration of tour.
  • Detailed Preparatory Information.

What’s not included in our Tour

  • Comprehensive travel insurance.
  • Items of a personal nature, such as telephone calls and laundry.
Bungle Bungles.
Wessel rock art
Aboriginal art Kakadu
Mitchell Falls, Kimberly region of WA
Directions sign in Port Augusta
Outback at Dubbo New South Wales
Kimberley, Western Australia
The Kimberley