With glimmering swimming holes, dramatic gorges, majestic mountain ranges, and scenic bushwalking trails, the red centre is perfect for a road trip. Follow this guide for the trip of a lifetime. Make sure to bring plenty of fuel, water, and food. A 4-wheel drive vehicle is strongly recommended.
Your ultimate road trip begins in the East MacDonnell Ranges, home to Aboriginal rock art, scenic bushwalking trails, and breathtaking outback landscapes. Your first stops will be Emily Gap and Jessie Gaps to enjoy a short walk, wildlife spotting, and Aboriginal rock paintings. Next head to beautiful Trephina Gorge, park the car, and enjoy a stroll to the sensational lookout, followed by a refreshing swim, and camping at one of three sites.
You’ll need 4-wheel drive for this next part as you venture to the incredible Ruby Gap Nature Park, around 3.5 hours away. Here you can choose from various bushwalking trails, and plenty of refreshing creeks to cool off in. Camp in Ruby Gap campground, but be aware that there are no facilities.
It’s time to embark on the 150KM drive to Alice Springs. When you arrive, enjoy lunch at one of the excellent cafes and immerse yourself in culture at the various galleries, museums, and sacred sites. By night, discover the vibrant nightlife. Stay at one of several well-maintained campgrounds.
Nature lovers are in for a treat as you venture into the magnificent wilderness of the West MacDonnell Ranges. Your first stop, Simpsons Gap, is a 20-minute drive from Alice Springs, and home to dramatic cliffs, a lovely waterhole, and black-footed wallabies. Continue onwards to Standley Chasm, a stunning spot for a short, scenic walk. Stop at are Ellery Creek Big Hole or Serpentine Gorge for a refreshing swim, and the Ochre Pits which is a sacred site. Camp at Ormiston Gorge.
There’s a 2.5-hour drive ahead as you make your way to the desert landscapes, exquisite gorges and waterholes, and the iconic red cabbage palm trees of Finke Gorge National Park. See the Finke River, estimated to be the oldest river in the world, and camp at Palm Valley, home to Red Cabbage Palm Trees found nowhere else on earth.
It’s a big day of driving today as you head to Kings Canyon. Embark on the 6KM rim walk around the canyon, or the shorter Kings Creek walk around the base of the chasm. Both provide outstanding views of the outstanding sandstone walls and the greenery within. Camp at Kings Canyon Resort.
Today you’re heading to your final stop, and one of Australia’s most iconic attractions: Uluru. Once you complete the 305KM drive, take a tour of the famous rock on foot, segway, bicycle, motorbike, camel, or helicopter. Enjoy a gorgeous sunset followed by dinner under the stars.
Rise and shine, it’s an early start today to watch the outstanding outback sunrise. What’s next? Drive back to Alice Springs, fly home from Ayer’s Rock Airport, or keep driving south. The choice is yours.