Red Centre Photo Safari
8 Day Guided Journey
09-16 April 2021
This tour to Uluru from Alice Springs also visits Rainbow Valley, Palm Valley, the Western McDonnell Ranges and Kings Canyon, for a thorough exploration of our amazing Red Centre.
We can operate this tour year-round.
Day 1: Friday, 9 April 2021 (D)
Upon arrival into Alice Springs Airport, please make your way to our hotel. Taxis and an airport shuttle are available.
The rest of the day is at your leisure to explore the town and settle into our accommodation.
This evening we’ll have our first group dinner at the hotel. Your driver guide and tour escort will run through the itinerary with you for the next week and this is a great opportunity to get to know your fellow travellers.
Overnight accommodation- Double Tree by Hilton Alice Springs, Guest room with en-suite
Day 2: Saturday, 10 April 2021 (B, L, D)
We start our 7 day photographic tour today. An early start today as we travel west into the Western MacDonnell Ranges, part of an ancient landscape sculptured over time by climatic elements, and the start of the Red Centre Way.
Our first stop is Simpsons Gap, one of the most prominent waterholes in the region and home to the Black-footed Rock Wallaby. The area around Simpson Gap is a major stronghold for some of the rare and relict plants of the region, large stands of Mulga and ghost gums. There are a couple of walks to choose from here.
Then onto Aboriginal owned Angkerle Atwatye (Standley Chasm), gouged from tough sandstone by the floods that, over untold millions of years, have surged down a narrow tributary of the Finke River system. The result is a deep red cleft, with slopes on either side rising 80 metres above the floor that are most dramatic at noon, when the chasm is drenched in a shower of brilliant red light, the sheer walls glowing from the reflected sunlight.
To get to the Chasm, we follow a creek where spring-fed pools attract a great variety of wildlife, especially birds and the gully floor is lush with plants that range from delicate ferns to tall gums.
After lunch, onto Ellery Creek Big Hole, which is a spectacular waterhole in the mighty Ellery Creek which cuts through a gorge in the ranges. Thousands of years of massive floods have carved out this beautiful waterhole and unlocked some amazing geology. It’s also a great place for a swim!
Our destination this afternoon is Glen Helen Bush Resort, which has a history dating back to 1905, when it was a cattle station. It’s situated a short walk from the Finke River and Glen Helen Gorge and waterhole, where you can have a swim or climb the ridge for a magnificent view. The landscape around Glen Helen is as spectacular as you will find anywhere, with a towering sandstone wall greeting you as you arrive. The resort area and gorge are also home to an array of birds (including waterbirds and birds of prey), insects and reptiles as well as the Black Flanked Rock Wallabies and Dingoes.
This is also a great spot for some night photography.
Overnight accommodation- Glen Helen Bush Resort, Motel room with en- suite
**Glen Helen night photo is courtesy of Robert Thompson**
Day 3: Sunday, 11 April 2021 (B, L, D)
This morning early risers can join Andrew to shoot the first ray of light shining on the cliffs of Glen Helen Gorge.
After breakfast at the lodge, we depart for the lookout over Mount Sonder, the highest point in the West MacDonnell Ranges. Then we make our way to Ormiston Gorge, where you can take a short stroll to the waterhole or take the 40 minute return Ghost Gum walk. The area also contains an interesting variety of native fauna and flora.
We hit the unsealed dirt road now and travel along the Mereenie Loop Road to Kings Canyon. En-route we stop at Tyler’s Pass Lookout for views of Gosse Bluff Meteor Crater and the surrounding landscape.
The trip along the Mereenie Loop road is an adventure in itself and is a lovely drive through some beautiful desert country. Keep your eye out for wildlife too.
We arrive at Kings Canyon Resort, check in and have some free time to relax or have a wander around.
The flora and fauna around the Resort is unique to the Watarrka National Park. This ancient landscape is rich in diversity but provides harsh conditions with little rain and intense summer heat. Some of the species who have adapted over the years include camels, donkeys, dingoes, brumbies, kangaroos, wallabies, emus and over 100 species of colourful birds from the central Australian area.
Overnight accommodation- Kings Canyon Resort, standard room with en- suite (2 night stay)
Day 4: Monday, 12 April 2021 (B, L, D)
We have an early start today, driving to Kings Canyon to take the rim walk. Kings Canyon (Watarrka National Park) contains the western end of the George Gill Range, a scenic landscape of rugged ranges, rockholes and gorges. The sheer red rock face of Kings Canyon soars over 100 metres above dense forests of palms, ferns and cycads; sheltering them from the surrounding desert conditions.
The rim walk takes in magnificent views of the Canyon rim, the weathered, buttressed domes of ‘The Lost City’ and the ‘Garden of Eden’ – a sheltered valley with permanent waterholes and lush vegetation.
Returning to the resort, this afternoon is at your leisure. Relax around the resort – keep an eye out for dingoes and other wildlife. Perhaps take the dune board walk for sunset or take an optional helicopter flight (own expense).
Overnight accommodation- Kings Canyon Resort, standard room with en-suite
Day 5: Tuesday, 13 April 2021 (B, L, D)
This morning we head south to the Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park. The park is world heritage listed for the importance of its natural phenomena and cultural significance.
This afternoon we visit the Cultural centre and then head out to Kata Tjuta meaning “many heads”. The enormous domes, 36 in total, rise out of the sand and weathered over millions of years they are now rounded peaks. The tallest, Mt Olga, is higher than Uluru! The Walpa Gorge walk is a rocky track that gently rises to a stream, passing rare plants and ending at a grove of spearwood. Walk within the sheer walls and experience this amazing landscape.
We have our first opportunity to photograph the Uluru sunset at the sunset viewing area this evening. After sunset, once the stars come out, you can take some night photos over Australia’s most famous landmark!
Overnight accommodation- Standard motel room with en-suite at the Outback Pioneer Hotel (2 night stay).
Day 6: Wednesday, 14 April 2021 (B, D)
We have an early start (but it’s well worth it!) today for sunrise at Uluru. The giant monolith emerges from the inky landscape, changing from purple through to rusty browns and red in the golden sunlight.
After our boxed breakfast we take the base walk around Uluru, which includes the Mala Walk and Mutitjulu waterhole, home of a wanampi, an ancestral watersnake.
This afternoon is free time for you to pursue your own interests, simply relax or you may like to take an optional tour such as a Harley ride or a camel ride –extra cost.
This evening we have another opportunity to photograph sunset and the location will be decided by Andrew based on conditions tonight and last night at Uluru.
Overnight accommodation- Standard motel room with en-suite at the Outback Pioneer Hotel
Day 7: Thursday, 15 April 2021 (B, L, D)
For the early risers, there is another opportunity for sunrise over Uluru this morning, by walking to one of the resort lookouts. Or, we can highly recommend a dawn helicopter flight –extra cost.
To fully appreciate the vast desert landscape and natural wonder of Uluru, you need to experience it from the air. Take to the skies to witness the awesome spectacle of this iconic monolith. Take in 360° views of Uluru and Kata Tjuta. The scale and size of Kata Tjuta only becomes apparent while gliding over the group of 36 conglomerate rock domes. The highest of which stands 198 meters taller than Uluru and spreads 36 square km.
Departing Yulara, we now travel back to Alice Springs, via Mt Connor and to Rainbow Valley. Mt Connor (Artila) is situated on Curtin Springs cattle station and is a 244m high mesa, or isolated table-top mountain and we stop for photos en-route.
After lunch at Stuarts Well, we hit the dirt again, to Rainbow Valley, with its stunning sandstone cliffs. These free standing cliffs form part of the James Range, and are particularly attractive in the late afternoon (when we’re there) when the rainbow-like rock bands are highlighted.
We’ll arrive back into Alice Springs at approximately 6pm for our final dinner as a group and overnight at our hotel.
Overnight accommodation- Double Tree by Hilton Alice Springs, hotel room with en- suite
Day 8: Friday, 16 April 2021 (B)
Your tour ends after breakfast this morning.
END OF TOUR
B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner
Price + Inclusions
|Red Centre Photo Safari||Price per person|
|9 April 2021||$4,350 per adult, twin share|
$5,250 per person, single room
Prices are based on travel in April 2021 and include GST. Maximum 15 guests
As this is a photography tour, this tour is not suitable for children
Prices include GST.
Non-photographers are also welcome on this tour.
For solo travellers who prefer to twin share, we’ll try our best to match you up with someone else of the same sex but this cannot be guaranteed. If we are unable to match you up to twin share, you will have a single room and have to pay the single room rate.
If you arrive in Alice Springs before 9th April or want to depart after 16th April, additional nights accommodation can be organised at the Double Tree by Hilton Alice Springs for an extra $99 per person twin share and $175 single. Includes buffet breakfast.
Itinerary is exclusive and subject to availability, road, weather and cultural conditions.
- Seat in 6WD coach, with professional driver guide and professional photographer tour escort
- Meals as stated
- 2 nights hotel accommodation in Alice Springs at the Double Tree by Hilton Alice Springs
- 1 night accommodation at Glen Helen Bush Resort in a motel room with en-suite
- 2 nights accommodation at Kings Canyon Resort in a standard hotel room with en-suite
- 2 nights accommodation at Yulara Resort in the Outback Pioneer Hotel, in a standard room with en-suite
- Uluru/ Kata Tjuta Park entry fee
- Mereenie loop pass
- Standley Chasm entry fee
- Arrival / departure flights into Alice Springs
- Travel Insurance
- Airport transfers
- Alcohol or soft drinks
- Optional activities such as helicopter flights, camel rides or Harley rides