Swim in cool green oases, see the desert exploding with wildflowers, wonder at giant meteor craters and rock colossals – and that’s before you even get to the main attraction.

Group of friends exploring Alice Springs Desert Park, NT

Day 1 - Around Alice Springs

Fuel up with a cup of the Alice blend, a chocolate-and-toffee-tinged roast that’s crafted in town at DuYu’s Roastery Café, before exploring with long-time local and tour guide James Acklin of Alice Springs Walking Tours. Meet him at the Visitor Information Centre in Todd Mall for a 90-minute stroll that explores the stories behind the town centre. “Alice has a bit of everything,” says Acklin. “Its history is both recent and ancient, with Aboriginal creation stories going back to the beginning of time.”

Dingoes at the Alice Springs Desert Park, NT

A seven-kilometre drive west, Alice Springs Desert Park will change your mind about deserts being desolate. Red and purple wildflowers burst out of the dirt. Red river gums and bush medicine plants create havens for ’roos, dingos and birds.

Give yourself three hours, timing things to join up with the Nocturnal Tour, which in the cool of evening gets even closer to endangered bilbies, mala and echidna in the foothills of the MacDonnell Ranges.

Hilton DoubleTree

Close to the Alice Springs Golf Club, DoubleTree by Hilton Alice Springs is an easy base camp where balconies look over rugged scenery and the breezy Deck Bar and pool make the most of nights. Its award-winning Hanuman restaurant plates up Indian and Thai fare while Saltbush serves NT classics like crispy local barramundi with flavours inspired by the outback.

Hot air balloon in the air, NT

Day 2 - Do a Daytrip

It’s worth getting up in the dark. Soaring on a hot air balloon, catching sunrise turning the MacDonnell Ranges blue then red is just the entrée on a flight with Outback Ballooning. Riding the wind for 30 minutes, you’ll also see former cattle station Owen Springs Reserve and packs of wild camels stirring to life.

Swimming at Ormiston Gorge, NT

Drive 1 hour 45 minutes

After a quick pit stop to pick up snacks at Afghan Traders Wholefoods in town, drive
135 kilometres west to dip in the oasis of Ormiston Gorge.

Walled by the craggy rock formations of Tjoritja West MacDonnell National Park, the shimmering waterhole is brimming after a rainier-than-usual season. Around 14 metres deep at the southern end, it’s so chilly you’ll expect your hot skin to hiss with relief as you sink in.

Start planning your Red Centre adventure today. Use 30% less Qantas Points^ when you book your stays at qantas.com/hotels. Book now.

Helicopter tour over Kings Canyon, NT

Day 3 - Epic Cliffs and Canyons

Drive 1 hour 45 minutes

Hit the Stuart Highway early for the drive to Rainbow Valley Conservation Reserve. These orange, ochre-red and white sandstone bluffs are home to sacred sites of the southern Arrernte people and feature short walks around claypans that fill with flowers.

Couple hiking at Rainbow Valley, NT

Drive 60 minutes

Stop to marvel at the 12 giant craters of Henbury Meteorites Conservation Reserve, formed 4700 years ago when space rocks crashed into the middle of nowhere.

Glamping at Kings Canyon, NT

Drive 2 hours 30 minutes

Dinner and glamping digs await at Kings Canyon Resort, halfway between Alice and Uluru. Smoky classics come with tap beer and music at the resort’s Outback BBQ and Thirsty Dingo Bar but you’ll look forward to turning in. Spacious tents feature quality linen, a deck for stargazing – and a Nespresso machine for the early start tomorrow.

Couple on a Rim Walk at Kings Canyon, NT

Day 4 - Onward to Uluru

There’s much to explore between the towering rock faces that rise 100 metres on all sides of King’s Canyon. Guided walks connect landscape to Aboriginal legends but to self-navigate, start at Priscilla’s Crack – where you’ll see the Lost City’s bulbous domes – and take the winding six-kilometre Rim Walk circuit to the Garden of Eden filled with ferns and hidden pools.

Dune pavilion, Longitude 131º, NT

Drive 3 hours 15 minutes

The drive to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park tracks past Mt Conner (or “Fooluru”, as it’s often mistaken for the rock) to the indulgence of Longitude 131º resort, with its luxe suites and private plunge pools offering uninterrupted views of Uluru. Cool, starry nights make Table 131° a one-of-a-kind experience as you taste delicacies at your table atop a dune by firelight.

Scenic helicopter flight, NT

Day 5 - Explore the Icons

Tours of Uluru depart as the sun touches the horizon. A guided base walk around the sandstone giant is 10.5 kilometres – 3.5 hours at a brisk pace – while a two-hour Desert Explorer Scenic Flight with Fly Uluru gives you perspective plus fly-overs of Kata Tjuta and glistening Lake Amadeus. Seeing the Field of Light, a fantasy garden of 50,000 spindles of light stretched across the desert, makes a highlight of your last night.  

Spectacular Field of Light installation, NT

Start planning your Red Centre adventure today. Use 30% less Qantas Points^ when you book your stays at qantas.com/hotels. Book now.

^You must be a member of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program to earn and redeem Qantas Points. A joining fee may apply. Membership and points are subject to the Qantas Frequent Flyer program Terms and Conditions. 30% better value is based on the value of a Point when using Points Plus Pay for Qantas Hotels bookings through qantas.com/hotels as compared to the value of a Point using Points Plus Pay for Qantas Hotel bookings made prior to February 2022 and 45% better value is based on the value of a Point when using Points Plus Pay for Qantas Holidays bookings through qantas.com/holidays as compared to the value of a Point using Points Plus Pay for Qantas Holiday bookings made prior to February 2022. 30%-45% better value only applies to the points component of the booking and excludes Classic Hotel Rewards. Qantas Frequent Flyer members can redeem Qantas Points when booking hotel accommodation or holidays packages through qantas.com/hotels or qantas.com/holidays using Points Plus Pay. Members cannot redeem points for additional charges paid to the hotel for extras. Redemption excludes Airbnb bookings. Points Plus Pay allows you to choose the number of Qantas Points you redeem above the specified minimum level of 5,000 and pay for the remainder of the booking value with an Accepted Payment Card (including VISA, MasterCard or American Express). Points Plus Pay is not available for Classic Hotel Rewards. View full terms and conditions at qantas.com/hotels or qantas.com/holidays.

Image credits: Tourism NT/Shaun Jeffers, Tourism NT/Jordan Hammond, Tourism NT/Paddy Pallin, Tourism NT/Nic Morley, Tourism NT/Annie Nguyen, Tourism NT/The Salty Travellers, Tourism NT/Che Chorley.

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