17 day Melbourne to Darwin Cheap as Chips Including Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks
Get out and see Australia’s Outback cheap as with this budget conscious package! You’ll spend 3 days 2 nights exploring the Great Ocean road and Grampians national park.
You’ll get to spend time in Adelaide before continuing onto the Flinders Ranges and Coober Pedy.
Get to the Red Centre and explore Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon afterwards spending some time in Alice Springs.
Head North Through the Northern Territory with stops at the Devils Marbles, Mataranka Thermal Pools and more.
Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks are not to be missed and are an unforgettable experience. Spend a few days exploring the parks and swimming in the waterfalls and streams.
- 3 day 2 night Great ocean road tour
- 2 nights in Adelaide
- 6 day 5 night Adelaide to Alice Springs tour
- 2 nights in Alice Springs
- 6 day 5 nights Alice Springs to Darwin tour
- Meals while on tour as indicated in itinerary (11 Breakfasts, 15 lunches, 11 Dinners)
- Friendly, informative tour guides
- 8 nights in dorm, 8 nights swag camping
“Our Cheap as chips and shoestring trips are a great option for the budget conscious traveller. They’re a combination of tours with accommodation included in between at a price that won’t put a huge hole in your wallet.” – Liz – One Stop Adventures Travel Expert
- Explore the Great Ocean Road and Grampians
- Spend time in Adelaide
- Visit the Flinders Ranges
- Stay in the underground opal mining town of Coober Pedy
- Visit the Rock!
- Explore Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon
- See the Devil's Marbles and Mataranka Thermal Pools
- Explore Kakadu and Litchfield national parks
Below is an Example Calendar and Written Itinerary
Day 1 - Melbourne to the Great Ocean Road (Lunch, Dinner)
From Melbourne we head through Geelong to hit the famous surf coast, Torquay, Bells Beach and Anglesea (home of Rip Curl and Quicksilver) with time to check out the local waves. Apollo Bay and Lorne are great places to swim, explore or just relax with a cup of coffee. Marvel at the historical section of the Great Ocean Road carved by returned WWI servicemen. It provides one of the most spectacular coastal roads you will ever see. Arriving at the Otway National Park, enjoy the walks through some of the oldest temperate rainforest in the world. A great place for a lunch stop. We finish the day with a sunset at the spectacular Twelve Apostles. Overnight is hostel accommodation on the Great Ocean Road.
Day 2 - Great Ocean Road to the Grampians national park (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Heading along the Great Ocean Road, Loch Ard Gorge, London Bridge and the Bay of Martyrs are some of the fantastic coastal scenery in this area. Enjoying a lunch stop, we arrive at the Grampians National Park, where we spend a great afternoon hiking to the bottom of Mc Kenzie Falls and see breathtaking views from The Balconies. In the late afternoon, see the kangaroos and other wildlife come out to play. We stay overnight in the heart of the Grampians National Park in hostel accommodation.
Day 3 - Grampians national park to Adelaide(Breakfast, Lunch)
After having breakfast we visit the Brambuk Aboriginal Cultural Centre and spend a great morning hiking the beautiful Grampians. We marvel at Mt. Arapiles and eat lunch. Heading for Adelaide, we travel through the hills and arriving at approximately 7.00pm.
Day 4 - Adelaide
Today is free to Explore Adelaide as you please!
Day 5 - The Clare valley and the Flinders Ranges (Lunch, Dinner)
We start our day travelling through the vineyards of the Clare Valley wine region, but soon enough we’re heading into the rugged Outback through the historic town of Melrose, gateway to the Flinders Ranges. We enjoy an easy stroll through the awesome Alligator Gorge, which is sometimes bursting with wild flowers. We’ll then settle in the heart of the Southern Flinders Ranges for the night.
Day 6 - Flinders Ranges to Coober Pedy (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Along the way to Coober Pedy – the Opal Capital of the World – you’ll notice the incredible changing landscapes. Wildlife, such as kangaroos, emus and eagles will scatter as road trains thunder across a landscape that resembles Mars or the Moon. On a tour of an underground mine and Opal Mine and Museum you’ll learn about the history of Coober Pedy. A highlight for some is visiting Josephine’s Kangaroo Orphanage, where you can meet the rescued kangaroos and baby joeys and admire (or buy) Aboriginal art and didgeridoos. Tonight, we sleep like the locals do – underground, in bunkhouse accommodation.
Day 7 - Coober Pedy to Kings Canyon (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
It’s a big day driving up the Stuart Highway, with several pit stops en route. Our mission today is to reach the majestic Watarrka National Park (Kings Canyon) where we’ll camp for the night in an authentic station.
Day 8 - Kings Canyon to Uluru (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
We get up early to explore Watarrka (Kings Canyon), where you’ll need to stop to admire and photograph the massive sandstone walls, vast canyon floor and stunning gorges. On the Canyon Rim Walk (3-4 hours), you’ll experience the beautiful Garden of Eden and learn more about the local Aboriginal culture. After lunch, we begin our journey into Uluru. Nothing will prepare you for the sight of The Rock. We quickly set up camp before learning about the local Aboriginal History at the Uluru Kata Tjuta Aboriginal Cultural Centre. Soon after we’ll be experiencing our first awe-inspiring Uluru sunset, taking time to absorb the beauty and majesty of this place.
Day 9 - Uluru (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
We start the day at dawn taking a (3 ½ hour) walk around the base of Uluru. Hiking through acacia woodlands and grassy clay pans, you’ll spot wildlife at waterholes, marvel at The Rock’s geological wonders and learn more about Aboriginal interpretations from your Culturally Accredited Groovy Guide. Later, we relax back at our campground or join one of our Adrenalin Plus options.
Day 10 - Kata Tjuta to Alice Springs (Breakfast, Lunch)
After devouring yet another scrumptious breakfast we’ll experience a glorious sunrise over Kata Tjuta, before we hike to lookouts around Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) and visit the majestic Valley of the Winds with its ancient rock formations and extraordinary views. After lunch, we’ll hit the road to Alice Springs, arriving approximately at 6:30pm.
Day 11 - Alice Springs
Today is free to explore Alice Springs as you please or just relax by the pool.
Day 12 - Alice Springs to Banka Banka Station (Lunch, Dinner)
You will be collected from your Alice Springs accommodation at approximately 6.00am and then our adventure through the ‘Territory’ to Darwin begins. Just north of Alice Springs is the Tropic of Capricorn (80% of the Northern Territory lays north of this point). Further along the track are the Devils Marbles (Karlu Karlu) which are a collection of gigantic granite boulders magically balanced on top of one another. Our day winds to a close just north of Tennant Creek at historic Banka Banka Cattle Station where we camp for the night.
• Tropic of Capricorn • Devils Marbles (Karlu Karlu) •Banka Banka Cattle Station
Day 13 - Banka Banka Station to Mataranka Thermal Pools (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
No trip to the ‘Territory’ is complete without a visit to the Daly Waters Pub, an important watering hole for explorers and drovers in days gone by and now a great spot for a cold beer, a bit of history and a ‘fair dinkum outback experience’! Later in the day you can take a soak in the Mataranka Thermal Pools, a lush oasis fringed by paperbark trees and nearby where we camp overnight.
• Daly Waters Pub • Mataranka Thermal Pools
Day 14 - Mataranka Thermal pools to Darwin (Breakfast, Lunch)
Your guide will wake you early this morning for the short drive to the Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) National Park which is owned by the Jawoyn Aboriginal people. Ancient sandstone has been carved away by the Katherine River to create a deep and picturesque gorge. You may like to take a boat cruise or paddle a canoe (seasonal) through the peaceful water (both optional and additional cost). In the afternoon, relax and watch the changing landscape as we travel to cosmopolitan Darwin. Overnight in Darwin in dormitory or budget en-suite twin/single.
• Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) National Park
DAYS 15 TO 17 FOR TRAVEL IN APRIL & NOVEMBER TO MARCH
Day 15 - Darwin to Kakadu National Park (Lunch, Dinner)
Departing Darwin at 7am, the first stop on your adventure is Ubirr Rock, one of the main cultural sites within the park. At Ubirr you can view a wide range of Aboriginal rock art which will be interpreted by your guide. Here you will learn about the Rainbow Serpent and climb the Nadab Lookout for excellent views over the surrounding floodplain and beyond into Arnhem Land. In the afternoon visit the Warradjan Cultural Centre to learn about the 40,000 years of aboriginal occupation within the park. Tonight enjoy dinner and an overnight stay at either our private campsite or air-conditioned accommodation at Cooinda
Ubirr Rock - Warradjan Cultural Centre - Cooinda
Day 16 - Kakadu national Park to Litchfield national park (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Up early to enjoy a crocodile cruise on the Yellow Waters billabong. A must do activity within Kakadu National Park, the award winning Yellow Waters cruise is Aboriginal owned and centres around a spectacular billabong system that is home to some remarkable and diverse wildlife. Spotting crocodiles is only one of the many wildlife viewing opportunities on this unique water system. Later, enjoy a half day hike and swim at the beautiful Gubara Springs* and/or Gunlom Falls*, and walk to the top of the Nawurlandja lookout with spectacular views over Kakadu. Late afternoon we will drive to Mount Bundy, close by Litchfield National Park and spend tonight at our private permanent campsite with your fellow travellers, or in your lodge room nearby.
Yellow Waters Cruise - Gunlom Falls - Gubara Springs - Nawurlandja Lookout - Mount Bundy Homestead
Day 17 - Litchfield national park to Darwin (Breakfast, Lunch)
Enjoy the short journey to Litchfield National Park. Explore the waterfalls, spring-fed streams and rugged sandstone escarpments of Litchfield. Discover intriguing cathedral and magnetic termite mounds and swim, hike and explore Florence and Wangi Falls* (water level dependent) as well as Buley Rockhole. Return to Darwin in the early evening where overnight hostel accommodation is included.
Termite mounds - Florence Falls - Wangi Falls - Buley Rockhole
DAYS 15 TO 17 FOR TRAVEL FROM MAY TO OCTOBER
Day 15 - Darwin to Kakadu national park (Lunch, Dinner)
You will be collected from your Darwin accommodation at approximately 6.30am where our Top End adventure begins as we travel to the Mary River Wetlands for our cruise. This region is home to over 250 bird species and has the highest concentration of saltwater crocodiles in the Southern Hemisphere. Search for the mighty crocs who rule this waterway, buffalo, birds and other wildlife. Our entrance to Kakadu National Park is at the South Alligator River, a picturesque location for a picnic lunch. There’s the opportunity to purchase Aboriginal arts and crafts at the Bowali Visitor Centre before our late afternoon arrival at Ubirr. Here you will view a wide range of ancient Aboriginal art which will be interpreted by your guide. Learn the story of the Rainbow Serpent and climb the Nadab Lookout for panoramic views over the floodplain and beyond into Arnhem Land. As the day draws to a close we head to our private campsite for dinner and our overnight stay.
Crocodile and Wildlife cruise - Bowali Visitor Centre - Ubirr
Day 16 - Kakadu national park to Litchfield national park (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
This morning the jewels of Kakadu National Park await. After breakfast and departing camp we travel off road to the majestic Twin and Jim Jim Falls* for a day of adventure and exploration. Travelling into Twin Falls by 4WD track, a boat shuttle and finally a rocky track and boardwalk we will be rewarded by the beauty of this remote waterfall deep within Kakadu National Park. Afterwards we stay off the beaten track where a walk through monsoon forests and over boulders lead us to Jim Jim Falls. Surrounded by 150 metre cliffs, we spend some time soaking up the natural beauty of this majestic location. This afternoon we depart Kakadu National Park and travel towards Litchfield National Park where we will stop along the way at our private campsite. Tonight, enjoy a hearty meal with your fellow adventurers.
Twin and Jim Jim Falls
Day 17 - Litchfield national park to Darwin (Breakfast, Lunch)
Today is spent exploring the waterfalls, spring-fed streams and rugged sandstone escarpments of Litchfield National Park. Marvel at the intriguing magnetic and cathedral termite mounds and swim, hike and explore Florence and Wangi Falls*. Discover the many rock holes and cascading waterfalls of Buley Rockhole before our early evening arrival back in Darwin.
Termite mounds - Florence Falls - Wangi Falls - Buley Rockhole
Frequently Asked Questions
What sort of camping is done on this trip?
Swag Camping! A swag is a kind of bag that you can sleep in. It has a mattress and pillow inside and you can roll it up for storage. It has a flap you can put over your head for total cover but most people choose to fall asleep staring at the night sky!
Do I need a sleeping bag?
You will definitely want a sleeping bag in Winter as it can get quite cold at night, especially the further south you are and in the Red Centre (Around Uluru, Kata Tjuta, Kings Canyon. In summer it is advisable as it can still be cool at night. We advise to bring along your own sleeping bag, otherwise you can hire one for $50 on the Darwin <> Alice springs section and $30 on the Adelaide <> Alice Springs Section of the trip.
Will i be in the same group the whole trip?
No, this package is a combination of different tours put together and made into one convenient itinerary so that you get the best value trip and see as much as you can! This way you'll get to make as many friends as you can on your travels.
I've heard the flies are bad in summer. Is this true?
In the warmer months there can definitely be a lot of flies while travelling through the outback. It is advisable to bring a fly net in the warmer months.
What clothes do I need?
In summer the temperatures can be extremely hot when travelling through the outback. A shirt and shorts is all that is needed during these months though we recommend a light long sleeved top and light long Pants (Zip off) to minimize your exposure to the sun. It can still get cool at night and in the morning so you will want a jumper as well.
Definitely Bring swimmers as there will be opportunities to swim at some locations. Sunglasses as well as Sunscreen SPF 30+ or better are also a necessity no matter what time of year.
During Winter the temperatures can be mild during the day but cold at night and in the morning when travelling through the centre of Australia. You will want a mixture of warm and cool clothes for this time of year. Long pants, a good jumper, a beanie, gloves and warm socks are recommended for use at night and in the morning. Further North near Darwin the temperature will not be so cold.
At all times of the year you will need a hat, Preferably wide brimmed.
Departs Fridays All year round and also on Tuesdays from May till October.
$12.50 for twin falls boat shuttle
We advise to bring along your own sleeping bag, otherwise you can hire one for $50 on the Darwin <> Alice springs section and $30 on the Adelaide <> Alice Springs Section of the trip.
What to bring: Hat, sunscreen, walking shoes, insect repellent, water bottle, and bathers (swimming gear. Otherwise all the usual stuff, and most important a sense of adventure!