Exciting times, I’ve jumped on a plane* today, with my camera, to make the marathon journey to Australia’s Northern Territory. The trip is arranged by Tourism NT and Audley Travel, in Alice Springs and the ‘Red Centre’ Thursday August 15 to Thursday August 22, 2013.
This is a provisional itinerary, and a few more activities will be added, but it sounds extremely exciting already, and I can’t wait to get stuck into the trip. I’ll be sharing it with you every step of the way, Wi-Fi permitting, so please follow the adventure on the #NTAustralia hashtag on Twitter and Instagram.
My flying schedule was pretty full on, a line up of destinations which would grace the round-the-world trip of most travellers. London, Dubai and Melbourne are the trio of classy stopovers before finally landing in Alice Springs on Thursday morning.
Thursday 15th August
am – Arrive into Alice Springs, transfer to my accommodation with Tailormade Tours.
Check in at your accommodation at the Double Tree by Hilton Alice Springs.
pm – Apparently apart from meeting the Tourism NT representative Joy Eggenhuizen, the afternoon is mine to spend at my leisure. Not sure what this means, free-time is an alien experience on these trips. It looks like my camera and I will be out exploring the city.
Overnight – Double Tree by Hilton, Alice Spring
Friday 16th August
am – An early breakfast to enjoy, though I’m more likely to be there in spirit and not body.
Leaving the hotel before the larks have woken up to join World Expeditions for a three-day Larapinta Trail Experience. I especially asked to include the walk along the Larapinta Trail, including accommodation in semi-permanent camps along the way.
Ranked as one of the planet’s top 20 treks, the Larapinta Trail is a 223 kilometre path that follows the rocky spine of the West MacDonnell Ranges from Alice Springs Telegraph Station to Mount Sonder. Unless I take up sky running while I’m out there, the entire trail will be a bit ambitious in three days. I’ll be tackling some of its 12 sections, all of which vary in difficulty and length. I’m really looking forward to some outstanding views.
Sunday 18th August
Evening – Return to Alice Springs and check in to your accommodation at Double Tree by Hilton Alice Springs.
Overnight Double Tree by Hilton
Monday 19th August
A day exploring Alice Springs, discovering the city for myself and some experiences that are available there. Some more activities will probably be arranged with a detailed itinerary provided on my arrival. I’ll be sure to update this one too.
Alice Springs, in the heart of the continent, is a town of surprises. It comes as a genuine reward to those travelling the vast distances of the outback. Nestled between ancient ranges that glow red in the evening light, Alice Springs is more than an oasis in the desert; it is the best appointed of outback towns. It offers comfortable hotels, pleasant shopping precincts, a modern airport, a world-class conference centre and even a casino. The Explorer’s Way links Alice Springs to the rest of the country. There are daily direct flights to most capital cities and by rail with the legendary Ghan. The colourful landscape of Alice Springs compliments the colourful nature of its people who celebrate their unique town with irreverent events like Henley on Todd and the Camel Cup.
Overnight Double Tree by Hilton Alice Springs
Tuesday 20th August
am – A leisurely breakfast before checking out of the hotel and departing for Ayers Rock with Tailormade Tours
pm – Transfer to Ayers Rock Resort and check in to my accommodation at Sails in the Desert at Ayers Rock Resort.
I’ll be living it up here. Comfort and luxury right in the heart of the Central Australian outback at Voyages Sails in the Desert Hotel. Named after the soaring white sails that crown its roof. It’s Voyages Ayers Rock Resort’s premier hotel. Exquisitely furnished and designed, the interior decor focuses on Aboriginal heritage and culture, with a gallery in the lobby and significant artworks featured throughout the public areas and in the private rooms.
‘Tali Wiru’, meaning beautiful dune in local Anangu language, encapsulates the magic of fine dining under the Southern Desert sky. Limited to an intimate group of 20 people, the Tali Wiru experience begins with French Champagne and canapés around a firepit and progresses to the dune top for a Table d’hote four-course dinner, matched with premium Australian wine. Be seated with your partner or with your party of up to six people and experience a night you will remember for the rest of your life.
Wednesday 21st August
am – Possibly after another early breakfast (feeling sorry for me yet?) I’ll enjoy touring Uluru and Kata Tjuta for sunrise and sunset.
Uluru and Kata Tjuta dominate the surrounding landscape with their sheer presence. Uluru (Ayers Rock) is one of the most recognised symbols of Australia, standing 348 metres high and about nine km around. It has great cultural significance for the traditional Aboriginal owners, the Anangu people. Kata Tjuta (Olgas) which is the other major geological formation in the national park consists of 36 huge rock domes that are possibly over 500 million years old.
Overnight Sails in the Desert
Thursday 22nd August
am – Enjoy breakfast at the hotel restaurant, then checking out of the hotel before taking the courtesy shuttle coach to the Ayers Rock Airport. I’ll be flying from here to Alice Springs and Melbourne.
Friday 23rd August
am – I’m very happy to have a free day to explore one of my favourite cities, Melbourne. What trouble do you think I can get up to in 24 hours in this great city? Whatever else I may do it’s seems pretty likely it’ll end with drinking mojitos at a bar beside the Yarra.
pm – My short time exploring the Northern Territory will have come to an end. I’ll be catching the return flights back to Manchester, and all that will remain is to thank the organisers of this epic adventure. I do hope you will follow on Twitter and Instagram, using the #NTAustralia hashtag.