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Self-Drive Adventure: Red Centre in Five to Seven Days

The natural wonders & ancient culture of Uluru-Kata Tjuta and Watarrka National Parks will be sure to make your Red Centre adventure a memorable one. Preferably you should pick up your van in Darwin then drive down South via Stuart Highway, Adelaide River, Dorat Road (Hot Springs), Pine Creek, Catherine, Edith Falls, and eventually, you will arrive at Tenant Creek (The Devils’ marbles), then Alice Springs. Visit the cultural centre in Uluru and discover a world of walking trails, guided tours, and cultural activities for more information on where to go and what to do.


If you plan to stay and explore the Red Centre for only up to 7 days in your own vehicle, this itinerary will help you make the most out of your Alice Springs adventure! It is not only the cultural but also spiritual centre of Australia and a must-do on your bucket list!

Drive the 1135km loop from Alice Springs and explore the vast and diverse landscapes of the Red Centre. Discover icons of the Australian continent, from Uluru and Kata Tjuta to Kings Canyon, Alice Springs and the West MacDonnell Ranges.

Travel through red desert sands, spinifex and mulga forest, lush valleys and towering gorges. Watch the red giants of the Outback change colour at sunset. Find out about the ancient living culture of the traditional aboriginal land owners and lose yourself as you wander through valleys home to countless rare plants, birds and animals.


A thriving, spirited outback centre, Alice Springs is as famous for the personality of its locals and contemporary and traditional art as the natural wonders, including the stunning Larapinta Trail and the MacDonnell Ranges, which surround it.

Suggested itinerary

Day 1Alice Springs to Glen Helen130km
Day 2Glen Helen to Kings Canyon260km
Day 3Explore Kings Canyon
Day 4Kings Canyon to Uluru300km
Day 5Uluru and Kata Tjuta
Day 6Uluru to Alice Springs445km


For campsites and/or cottages/hostels to stay in, please visit the Caravan & Campgrounds Alice Springs and Surrounds website here).


Ochre and art

Take some time to explore the renowned galleries of Alice Springs, the Indigenous art capital of the country before driving west to the gorges, waterholes and ochre pits of the West MacDonnell National Park.


Above and below

Kick off the day with a dip in the Redbank Gorge pools near Glen Helen. Travel on to Finke Gorge National Park to get a glimpse of the Red Centre’s ancient past at lush Palm Valley. Walk along the soaring red cliffs of Kings Canyon in Watarrka National Park or head down to traverse the dense forest of palms, ferns and cycads on the canyon floor below.


Red rocks

Next stop is Australia’s most famous natural landmark. Standing 348m high, Uluru towers over the surrounding landscape. Take a camel ride around the base of the rock, jump in a helicopter to get an aerial view, or explore the surprising local flora and fauna on foot. Drive on for panoramic views over the desert plains on the Valley of the Winds walk, or settle in to watch the sun set over the 32 red domes of Kata Tjuta.


For campervan rental and sales quotes head over to Travellers Autobarn.

If you want to read more of our Darwin adventures, come and explore the dedicated Darwin Road Trips. Happy Exploring!

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