Start with South Australia’s spectacular natural attractions, then take the Ghan through Australia’s Red Centre to Darwin. From Adelaide, you can indulge in fine food and wine in the Barossa and Clare Valleys, hike the rugged Flinders Ranges and meet wildlife galore on Kangaroo Island. Swim, surf, snorkel and bushwalk along the Fleurieu Peninsula before getting up close to penguins in Penneshaw and a colony of sea lions at Seal Rocks on Kangaroo Island. Cut across the continent by rail on the great Ghan, stopping for whistle stop tours of Alice Springs and Katherine. In Darwin, you can embrace festivals, markets and a melting pot of food and cultures.
Shop on Rundle Mall, absorb café and high culture along North Terrace and enjoy the sea breeze in Glenelg. Drive into the Adelaide Hills, where you can stare over the shapely hills, browse wineries and art galleries and visit Hahndorf, Australia’s oldest surviving German village. It’s only another hour to the Barossa Valley’s 60 cellar doors. Sip on a Barossa shiraz and taste local produce on the Butcher, Baker, WineMaker Trail. Cycle the Riesling Trail and visit the heritage town of Mintaro in the nearby Clare Valley. Travel into the Flinders Ranges, stopping to climb Mt Remarkable in the south and walk around the huge, natural amphitheatre of Wilpena Pound in the centre. See Aboriginal art at Arkaroo Rock and fossils dating back 600 million years at Brachina Gorge. Hike, four wheel drive, and marvel at the stars from one of three observatories in Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary in the rugged north.
Drive south from Adelaide to the vast Fleurieu Peninsula. Visit vineyards, almond orchards and galleries in the McLaren Vale wine region and hike part of the Heysen Trail along the rugged coastline of Deep Creek Conservation Park. Surf, swim and relax on perfect white beaches stretching from Christies Beach to Cape Jervis. Stop in Goolwa and chug down the Murray River or canoe past wetland birds in the Coorong’s shimmering, shallow lagoons. Take the ferry to Kangaroo Island, where you can see sea lions on the sand of Seal Bay and penguins waddling to shore in Penneshaw. Visit historic lighthouses and weather-worn Admirals Arch and Remarkable Rocks in Flinders Chase National Park. Hike Hanson Bay or go caving in Kelly Hill Conservation Park. Dive with leafy sea dragons from Kingscote and fish from the historic Emu Bay jetty. Surf the uncrowded waves at Stokes Bay or relax on Vivonne Bay’s blissful sands.
Travel from Australia’s bottom to top on the great Ghan train. Board in Adelaide and watch South Australia’s hills make way for desert, the rusty Red Centre and finally the tropical Top End. Explore the famous outback towns of Alice Springs and Katherine on whistle stop tours. Visit sacred Aboriginal sites around Alice Springs or take a scenic helicopter flight over Simpsons Gap. Tour a working camel farm or quad bike across the Simpson Desert. From Katherine you can cruise or canoe past Katherine Gorge’s sandstone cliffs or fly over the interconnecting gorges on a helicopter. Enjoy Darwin’s flaming sunset sailing the harbour or with a plate of something spicy at Mindil Beach Sunset Markets. Cycle past orchids and bromeliads and native plants in George Brown Botanic Gardens. Swim, have a sunset barbeque and explore sacred Aboriginal sites at Casuarina Coastal Reserve. In Berry Springs Nature Park, you can spot birds in monsoon forest and fish in the crystal clear swimming holes. Get up close to fish, birds-of-prey, nocturnal animals and reptiles in the Territory Wildlife Park. Fly to the Tiwi Islands or drive the Nature’s Way to Litchfield National Park and World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park.