Central Australia Outback Adventure
From Adelaide To Quorn, Flinders Ranges,Arkaroola, Marree, Birdsville Track, Oodnadatta, Lake Eyre, William Creek, Coober Pedy, Woomera, Port Augusta. - 12 Nights
- Departing from:
- Quorn, Flinders Ranges,Arkaroola, Marree, Birdsville Track, Oodnadatta, Lake Eyre, William Creek, Coober Pedy, Woomera, Port Augusta.
- 12 Nights
- Travel Dates:
- 24/04/24 to 07/05/24
- Offer Expires:
- Tour Operator:
- Railway Adventures
- Reference Code:
Price per person
Starting in Adelaide and heading north, our South Australian Outback journey takes in vast, red desert landscapes, jaw-dropping natural wonders, character-packed towns, and quirky once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Enjoy a ride on the Afghan Express heritage train for a trip on the most iconic section of the original Trans Australia Railway, marvel at the rugged Flinders Ranges - home to Wilpena Pound, a giant natural amphitheatre and enjoy a scenic flight over the vast, magical landscape of the Painted Hills and Lake Eyre.
Day 1 • Thursday:
Arrive in South Australia’s capital, Adelaide, and check in to our centrally located hotel.
Early evening meet Phil and your fellow travellers for a celebratory welcome dinner and drinks.
Overnight: Adina Apartment Hotel Treasury, Adelaide (D)
Day 2 • Friday:
ADELAIDE – QUORN
Farewell Adelaide after breakfast this morning and travel north by coach to Peterborough. We’ll make a few stops along the way to explore historic towns and homesteads, including the magnificent Martindale Hall, made famous by the iconic film ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’. This Georgian-style mansion is considered one of South Australia’s grandest stately homes, built in 1879 and sitting within a 45-acre pastoral property. It is now a museum for visitors, and we’ll take time to explore its charming character.
Continue to the town of Burra where you’ll enjoy some free time to have lunch and explore this historic town. We visit the old Burra Copper Mine and take a photo stop at the ‘Midnight Oil house’. A bit further up the road at Peterborough is the Steamtown Heritage Rail Museum. Here, you’ll find Australia’s only operational triple gauge turntable, a wide range of historic rolling stock including heroic steam trains, powerful diesel locomotives, and unique passenger and freight trains, all exhibited in original settings in the heritage-listed roundhouse and original work sheds. We then head to Quorn, our home for the next two nights. We settle into the hotel and later this evening dinner will be hosted next door at the Old Lodge, an atmospheric Victorian-era outback emporium.
Overnight: The Great Northern Lodge, Quorn (B, D)
Day 3 • Saturday:
QUORN – AFGHAN EXPRESS/PICHI RICHI RAILWAY
After breakfast, we head to the Gateway to the Flinders Ranges at Port Augusta where you’ll enjoy a self-guided tour of the Wadlata Outback Centre which offers unique exhibits offering a journey through the history of the Outback. Journey back to when the dinosaurs first roamed this land in the Flinders Ranges and Outback’s multi-award-winning Tunnel of Time.
After this visit, depart from the Port Augusta train station and embark on an excursion of vintage travel along the Pichi Richi Railway on a steam-hauled heritage train.
The gentle journey reveals more of the important story of the great nation-building project that was the Trans-Continental Railway. Back at Quorn in the afternoon feel free to join us on a private tour of the active museum workshops before retiring to the Lodge. In the evening, there’s the option to watch the Quorn Silo Light Show, a starlit audiovisual celebration of the Flinders Ranges and the Pichi Richi Railway with local stories and images projected onto the silos.
Overnight: The Great Northern Lodge, Quorn (B)
Day 4 • Sunday:
QUORN – FLINDERS RANGES
Leaving Quorn, we’ll travel one hour north to the town of Hawker, pausing to visit the old train station. The Hawker railway station was completed in 1885 after the original timber station building burnt down one year earlier. The original Ghan train to Marree, and later to Alice Springs, passed through Hawker until 1956. The station finally closed and fell into disrepair until in 1989 the station was restored to become the Old Ghan Restaurant and Gallery.
Moving on, we’ll travel to the Wilpena Pound in the Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park – home to the Adnyamathanha people for thousands of years. On arrival at this incredible natural wonder, we’ll spend some time to relax, explore and soak up the peaceful ambience. Feel free to explore the bush walks to the Wangara Lookout and the old Wilpena Station (Hill’s Homestead), one of the most scenically spectacular pastoral settlements in South Australia. The Flinders Ranges National Park encompasses some of the most spectacular scenery in South Australia and has been made famous by numerous films and the epic paintings of Sir Hans Heysen.
Early in the evening, we head up to watch the sunset from the vantage point of Stokes Hill with canapés and a beer or glass of wine. We’ll return to our resort later to enjoy dinner together.
Overnight: Wilpena Pound Resort, Flinders Ranges (B, L, D)
Day 5 • Monday:
This morning you will travel through the spectacular Bunyeroo and Brachina Gorges and arrive at the small settlement of Parachilna in the late morning. On arrival, enjoy lunch at the Prairie Hotel in Parachilna, Australia’s quintessential, most-awarded outback hotel. The hotel is an international landmark, radiating a welcoming, quirky, yet elegant country style. Later, travel via the Great Wall of China, a rocky ridge line named due to its resemblance to the original in China. Back at the resort, you may decide to spend some of the day lazing by the pool or enjoying other activities, such as taking a scenic flight (at your own cost) over the incredible Wilpena Pound. Later we’ll enjoy an Aussie BBQ dinner and a yarn around the campfire in true Outback style.
Overnight: Wilpena Pound Resort, Flinders Ranges (B, L, D)
Day 6 • Tuesday:
FLINDERS RANGES – ARKAROOLA
Today we continue north travelling through astounding landscapes and natural wonders that make it such an interesting part of the country to the settlement of Blinman to visit the historic Copper Mine in the hilly desert countryside. Further north, amongst the magnificent mountains in the Northern Flinders Ranges, is the Iga Warta, which means place of the native orange tree in Yura Ngawarla, the language of the Adnyamathanha people, the traditional owners of the area. Upon arrival, take part in Welcome to Country and learn about smoking ceremonies, talk about the Adnyamathanha Flag and its significance and music. Later, take a short walk through the valley to see some Malkii rock art and, afterwards, enjoy a cultural cookout lunch where we’ll savour some traditional food – dyabardi (flat damper), bush biscuits along with music, and Adnyamathanha Yura Muda cultural stories and language.
In the afternoon, we continue through the northern Flinders via the Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges National Park to Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary. Arkaroola comes alive in the evenings with three state-of-the-art Astronomical Observatories and, far from the light of cities, Arkaroola is perfect for those with an interest in the Cosmos. Dinner this evening is hosted at your accommodation at the Sanctuary after which a guide from the hotel will take you on a 90-minute Explore the Cosmos tour.
Overnight: Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary, Arkaroola (B, L, D)
Day 7 • Wednesday:
ARKAROOLA – MARREE
This morning you’ll enjoy a spectacular and thrilling 4WD Ridgetop Tour in the area around Arkaroola through a landscape as old as the continent itself. Travel across razor-back ridges, magnificent gorges, and mysterious waterholes and peaks of the Flinders Ranges most rugged mountains to the magnificent climax at Sillers Lookout. Make sure you keep your eyes peeled for the shy and endangered Yellow-Footed Rock-Wallaby.
On the edge of the desert, sits the abandoned railway town of Farina. Once a railhead from Port Augusta, a centre for mining, and a transport route for stocks and goods from the outback, now it’s a ghost town. In recent years, however, volunteers from the Farina Restoration Group have been working to restore its original stone historic buildings. Later this afternoon, travel to Marree where you’ll spend the next two nights at The Marree Hotel, a typical outback hotel. Enjoy dinner at the hotel on arrival.
Overnight: The Marree Hotel (B, L, D)
Day 8 • Thursday:
This morning, after an early breakfast we depart on a scenic flight over the spectacular South Australian desert outback. You take off from a red earth runway in Marree, and fly over The Marree Man to Belt Bay over Lake Eyre. Continue over the vast, magical landscape of Anna Creek Painted Hills, a spectacular outcrop of otherworldly deep orange mountains that emerge from the flat desert landscape. Carved out in the red earth of the Outback, it’s hard to believe this 80-million-year-old beauty is actually an extinct inland sea.
After refueling in William Creek where you can drop into the famous William Creek Hotel to meet the locals, we continue over the Devonport Ranges, Old Peak Telegraph ruins, the Neale River, and Algebuckina Rail Bridge (once the largest Rail Bridge in Australia) before finally landing in Oodnadatta. Here, you will have morning tea and lunch at the famous Pink Roadhouse and tour the Oodnadatta Railway Museum. The museum contains a series of interesting photographs chronicling the history of the town; local Aboriginal artefacts; an exhibit of the role of Oodnadatta in the history of the Australian Inland Mission; a history of the town as a railway centre; and interesting information about the geology of the region.
This afternoon we’ll return to your light aircraft and fly over the southern part of the Simpson Desert, past Warburton Creek in Lake Eyre, over the Kalamurina Wildlife Sanctuary and follow the Cooper Creek to land at Etadunna Station. Moving on, we’ll travel along some of the Birdsville Track. The 517 km track runs between Birdsville in south-western Queensland and Marree and traverses three deserts along the route, the Strzelecki Desert, Sturt Stony Desert, and Tirari Desert. With character-packed Outback towns and the historic Ghan railway and billabongs along the way, it’s a highlight on your South Australian Outback adventure. We cap all this off after your return with a classic pub dinner at the hotel.
Overnight: The Marree Hotel (B, L, D)
Day 9 • Friday:
MARREE – COOBER PEDY
This morning, we’ll take a tour of the town to see the historical sites such as the old Afghan Mosque, the remnants of the historical Ghan Railway, and The Blitz Truck that belonged to the famous Birdsville Track Mailman, Tom Kruse.
Moving on, you will traverse some of the 620 km along the legendary Oodnadatta Track. The Oodnadatta Track is an unsealed 614 km outback road in South Australia, connecting Marla in the north-west via Oodnadatta to Marree in the south-east. The Track follows a traditional Aboriginal trading route and, because of the availability of water, was chosen for the Central Australian Railway; the original route of the Old Ghan. Take a glimpse into the quintessential Outback way of life, journeying through some of the region’s most vast and diverse country including gibber plains, red sand hills, and even an ancient inland seabed. Visit the old Alberrie Creek Siding, see outback art and the quirky Mutonia Sculpture Park, Curdimurka Siding, and Margaret Siding before reaching Coward Springs siding, a fully restored and heritage listed railway site displaying history and remnants of the ‘Old Ghan Railway.’ At Coward Springs you will see a natural spring where intrepid travelers don their bathers for an outback spa under the shade of a date palm tree.
See Wabma Kadarbu Mound Spring and along the way, visit the world’s largest cattle station, Anna Creek, and have lunch at a true-blue bush pub, the iconic William Creek Hotel.
Travel to the Opal capital of the world, Coober Pedy where we’ll spend two nights at the award-winning Desert Cave Hotel, the only International underground Hotel. Your stay here will be 25 metres below the earth’s surface! Sleeping underground is a truly unique experience and synonymous to life in the famed desert town of Coober Pedy. Due to the heat in summer, many of the locals live underground. Tonight, have sunset drinks and dinner at a local restaurant that offers majestic views of the Kanku-Breakaways Conservation Park and the town of Coober Pedy.
Overnight: Desert Cave Hotel, Coober Pedy (B, L, D)
Day 10 • Saturday:
Today you will tour the area around Coober Pedy, including an underground church, Faye’s underground home and opal mine, and the historic opal mine at Umoona (the Aboriginal name for Coober Pedy). Coober Pedy supply’s around 70% of the world’s precious opals and during the tour, you can fossick for opals yourself in the hope of striking it rich! Later, discover the unique aboriginal art and local artifacts at Josephine’s Gallery and visit their Kangaroo Orphanage at feeding time.
Enjoy lunch at a unique underground restaurant, and in the afternoon, step onto the surface of the moon in the middle of the desert at the other-worldly Moon Plain, a vast lunar-like landscape of rocky plains. The surreal table-like expanse was once an inland sea (some 120 million years ago) and its cracked surface has been the setting for many movies including Mad Max: Beyond the Thunderdome and Priscilla Queen of The Desert. While you’re there, you will see the world’s longest continual structure, the Dingo Fence. Stretching almost 6,000km from Surfers Paradise in Queensland to Ceduna in South Australia, the fence was originally built in the 1880s to protect the sheep country in the south from dingoes in the north.
In the late afternoon, experience the rugged beauty of the Outback at Kanku-Breakaways Conservation Park. Here, the sun drenches the land in a blanket of orange, red, and yellow in a spectacular light show sunset. The striking sandstone tablelands are also home to a unique array of native flora and fauna. After our return to the hotel, your evening is free.
Overnight: Desert Cave Hotel, Coober Pedy (B, L)
Day 11 • Sunday:
COOBER PEDY – WOOMERA
This morning we will travel along the Stuart Highway where we’ll enjoy views of Hart Salt Lake. On the way to Woomera, an Australian Defence Force facility settlement that was established for testing rockets in the late 1940s. On arrival, you’ll enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.
In the afternoon we tour the Woomera Heritage Museum and Rocket Park and learn about nuclear and non-nuclear rocket testing. The Heritage Museum contains historical displays relating to the Woomera Range and the closed Joint Defence Facility at Nurrungar. Australia and the United Kingdom formed the Anglo-Australia Joint Project in 1946 and the centrepiece of the project was the establishment of a long-range weapons testing facility at Woomera. At the height of its space activity in the 1960s and 1970s, Woomera had the second highest number of rocket launches in the world after NASA’s facilities at Cape Canaveral in Florida. We then travel on to Port Augusta where we’ll stay at the Standpipe Golf Motor Inn. Tonight, dine in the lovingly restored 1883 grand dining homestead at the Standpipe Restaurant.
Overnight: Standpipe Golf Motor Inn, Port Augusta (B, L, D)
Day 12 • Monday:
PORT AUGUSTA – PORT PIRIE – ADELAIDE
Heading south we’ll pause at Port Pirie to hear stories of the town’s people and its numerous industries including smelting, railway, and shipping history, displayed in several fine late 19th and early 20th-century heritage buildings: the Old Customs House, the old Railway Station, and the former Central Police Station.
This evening, enjoy a special farewell dinner on the rooftop of one of Adelaide’s most historically significant buildings boasting postcard views.
Overnight: Adina Apartment Hotel Treasury, Adelaide (B, D)
Day 13 • Tuesday:
ADELAIDE – DEPART (B)
This morning your tour concludes after breakfast in the hotel. We are happy to arrange for you to extend your stay in Adelaide. Call us to discuss the many options.
- 12 nights’ accommodation in centrally located 3 to 4-star quality hotels
- A full day scenic flight over the Marree Man, Lake Eyre, The Painted Hills, Oodnadatta, the Simpsons Desert to the Birdsville Track
- All excursions and entrance fees to attractions, as listed in the itinerary
- All transport mentioned in the itinerary
- Breakfast daily, 8 lunches, and 10 dinners
- Complimentary drinks with welcome and farewell dinners
- Comprehensive sightseeing with expert local guides and your experienced and knowledgeable host
- Tipping and gratuities
- Airport transfers on arrival and departure
- All other personal expenses such as drinks, phone calls, laundry services, camera fees where applicable
- Excursions/entrances listed as optional in the itinerary
- Travel insurance