Travel through red desert sands, lush valleys, towering gorges and a number of waterholes, on this iconic journey. The 1135 kilometre Red Centre Way loop from Alice Springs makes its way through Tjoritja / West MacDonnell Ranges, Watarrka/Kings Canyon, and Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.
The Red Centre Way journey is recommended to be done over a minimum of 6 days via four-wheel drive or spare some extra time to complete the 1750 kilometre loop if travelling by two-wheel drive.
Day 1: Alice Springs to Glen Helen (132km)
Start the Red Centre Way by driving west through West MacDonnell National Park, a spectacular stretch of natural formations including chasms, gorges and waterholes. Explore Simpsons Gap, Standley Chasm, Ellery Creek, Ormiston Gorge and Glen Helen just to name a few. Splash, hike or just stand back in awe – it’s truly spectacular!
Day 2: Glen Helen to Kings Canyon (234km)
From Glen Helen head 20 kilometres west to start the day with a swim at Redbank Gorge pools. You can grab a tyre tube from Glen Helen Lodge and splash your way through the gorge. If travelling by 4WD you can continue along the way to come across the ancient impact crater called Gosse Bluff. Hike to the top where you can get spectacular views of the rides made from the meteorite.
Day 3: Explore Kings Canyon
Kings Canyon is only minutes to drive from the resort and offers hiking and walking options suitable for all levels. The Rim Walk is a three-hour adventure across 100 metre-high sandstone walls and ancient palm-filled crevices with stunning views of the arid surrounds. For those looking for a more relaxed option, the Kings Creek walk provides equally breathtaking views from the canyon floor.
Day 4: Kings Canyon to Uluru (300km)
Leave the canyon and follow Luritja Road and Lasseter Highway to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Along the way, you will pass Mt Conner, commonly known as ‘Fooluru’, as it’s often mistaken for Uluru. Do the unexpected and view the Lake Amadeus salt plains near the Mt Conner lookout. Once you arrive at Uluru, settle in at Ayers Rock Resort, where there are accommodation and dining options available to suit all budgets and tastes.
Day 5: Uluru & Kata Tjuta
See Uluru and Kata Tjuta in a day or take more time exploring (it's worth it!). See the icons at sunrise, sunset, on a camel or by bicycle. Listen to the local Anangu people as they tell their stories of the Dreamtime. Explore Kata Tjuta on the Valley of the Winds walk and take in Uluru up close on the Base Walk. Awaken your senses and explore the icons of Australia’s Outback.
Day 6: Uluru to Alice Springs (445km)
Start your return trip to Alice Springs – head back along the Lasseter Highway, to Curtin Springs Station – a working cattle station and roadhouse. Join a guided walk on the nearby salt lakes and take in the view of Mt Conner or try your hand at a paper making tour using native ingredients.
Turn north onto the Stuart Highway towards Alice. If four-wheel driving, leave time to explore the sandstone bluffs and cliffs of Rainbow Valley, which are particularly stunning in the early morning and late afternoon light when the rainbow-like rock bands are highlighted. From here Alice is only 100 kilometres away.
Disclaimer: Visitors should always check road conditions before exploring remote areas and national parks through the NT in summer.
*The NT borders are open to all Australians, unless you have come from a declared COVID-19 hotspot. Travellers from hotspots will be required to quarantine for 14 days at their own expense. For more information: https://coronavirus.nt.gov.au/travel/quarantine