Self-drive touring, Northern Territory, Australia

Red Centre Way

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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.

To make the most of this incredible journey allow 5-7 days. 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.

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.

Lucky last

Visit the 4,700 year-old meteorite craters at Henbury and check out the sandstone bluffs and cliffs of Rainbow Valley before making your way back to Alice Springs for some well-earned rest.

Suggested itinerary

Day Destination Distance
Day 1 Alice Springs to Glen Helen 130km
Day 2 Glen Helen to Kings Canyon 260km
Day 3 Explore Kings Canyon  
Day 4 Kings Canyon to Uluru 300km
Day 5 Uluru and Kata Tjuta  
Day 6  Uluru to Alice Springs 445km 

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