Darwin Rail Escape (departing Melbourne)
For a unique Northern Territory experience, take The Ghan through the centre of Australia on this 7 day/6 night rail journey. Stop in Alice Springs and Katherine on the way to tropical Darwin. Learn about the history of Darwin on a unique Harbour Cruise and see the city highlights. This tour includes a visit to the friendly indigenous Tiwi community on Bathurst Island, internationally renowned for their unique artworks.
- Air travel, Melbourne to Adelaide
- Gold Service on The Ghan, Adelaide to Darwin, including all meals, beverages and off train excursions in Alice Springs and Katherine
- Complimentary transfer from Darwin Station to your hotel
- 4 nights accommodation in Darwin at Argus Hotel Darwin or similar
- Harbour Highlights Cruise
- Tiwi Island by Design Tour
- Litchfield National Park tour
- Air travel, Darwin to Melbourne
- Meals as stated – 2 x breakfast (B) / 5 x lunch (L) / 2 x dinner (D)
Day 1 - Melbourne to Adelaide and The Ghan (L, D)
This morning fly to Adelaide, and make your way to the Adelaide Parklands Rail Terminal to board The Ghan. Settle into your Gold Service cabin and watch the rolling pastures from your window. See the old rock formations of the Flinders Rangers and the beginning of the rugged outback as day turns to night and the sky is lit up with stars. Enjoy the meals, beverages and comfortable facilities available.
Overnight: The Ghan, 2 nights
Day 2 - Alice Springs (B, L, D)
This morning stop at Marla, a remote outpost in South Australia, to watch the sunrise and the desert come alive before your eyes. Enjoy brunch back on board, The Ghan, before arriving into Alice Springs, Australia’s Red Centre. You can choose from a walking tour through the picturesque Simpsons Gap, or a visit to the Desert Wildlife Park, where you will enjoy front row seats at their free flight bird show, followed by the chance to meet the birds and trainers during a private training session. Return to The Ghan, and enjoy dinner as you continue your rail journey north.
Day 3 - Katherine and Darwin (B, L)
This morning there is a choice of three tours on your arrival into Katherine. Two include cruises along Nitmiluk Gorge, where you will learn all about the Aboriginal heritage of this significant region, and hear stories that centre around the Gorge. You may like to cruise both the first and second gorge, or perhaps you would prefer to only do the first gorge, and then view an Indigenous rock art site up close on a short walking tour.
Alternatively you can visit the Katherine Outback Experience, and see real horse-starting and working dog demonstrations, along with live music and humorous bush tales. In the afternoon you will finish the last part of your rail journey into Darwin before you settle into your accommodation.
Overnight: Argus Hotel Darwin or similar, 4 nights
Experience the traditional ‘Welcome to Country’ smoking ceremony, visit the Patakijiyali Museum and enjoy a cultural art session, where you can take your artwork home as a memento.
Day 4 - Tiwi by Design Tour (L)
Travel by ferry to Bathurst Island where you will be met by a local Tiwi Islands guide, keen to show you their friendly community. The Tiwi people are renowned for their individual style of art including carvings and bright textile designs. On this specialised tour, a local Tiwi guide will show you through the art centres, old Catholic mission precinct, and explain the complex culture and rituals of the local people.
Day 5 - Darwin Harbour Highlights Cruise
Cruise around Darwin Harbour and learn about this tropical city, it's wharves, and history including the WWII bombing of Darwin and Cyclone Tracy which devastated the city in 1974. At the end of the cruise you may like to stay and have lunch at one of the many popular restaurants or cafes in the Cullen Bay Marina. This is a favourite spot to dine for both holiday makers and locals, with a variety of taste sensations from Greek to Italian to Asian cuisine, and an amazing array of seafood.
Day 6 - Litchfield National Park (L)
This morning join a bus tour for your full day Litchfield National Park tour. Litchfield is most famous for the unique termite mounds, some of which are up to 100 years old and stand nearly 2 metres tall. Then it's on to the waterfalls that make this park so famous. Florence Falls is a double waterfall, Tolmer Falls is home to several colonies of bats, and Wangi Falls has the most accessible rock pools, so don’t forget your swimming costume if you want to take a refreshing dip to cool off!
Day 7 - Darwin to Melbourne
Today depart Darwin at a time suitable to you, or you may like to extend your stay and explore the Top End further.