It is hard not to be awed by the magnificent Uluru and the mysterious shapes of Kata Tjuta. A few hundred kilometres from Uluru lies Kings Canyon, a mighty chasm cleaving deep into earth. Renmants of an inland sea covering the area five hundred million years ago can still be found in the Garden of Eden, a lush waterhole thick with ancient cycads. The jagged and rocky spine of the MacDonnell Ranges stretches for hundereds of kilometres, harbouring gorges and permanent rock pools carved by prehistoric rivers.
Day 1: Uluru, George Gill Ranges, Kings Canyon
Our tour begins with a breathtaking ride to Uluru (Ayers Rock), where we will spend the morning riding around the giant monolith illuminated by the morning sun. You will also have the opportunity to explore the sacred sites of the area. After visiting the Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre, we leave for Kings Canyon, riding parallel to the stunning George Gill Ranges to our camp. Includes: (L), (D).
Day 2: Kings Canyon, Mereenie Loop Road, Palm Valley
After an early rise and a big breakfast, we spend the morning hiking through Kings Canyon, admiring the stunning views of its sheer southern wall and honeycomb shaped landscape. We also detour to explore the cool waterholes and ancient vegetation of the Garden of Eden. The afternoon is spent travelling along the infamous Mereenie Loop road to our destination for the next two nights: the surreal desert oasis of Palm Valley. An awe-inspiring ride along parts of the (mostly dry) Finke River bed into Palm Valley concludes the day. Over the last 100 million years the Finke River has cut a series of majestic gorges from the soft sandstone rock, and cycling through this country enables an appreciation of this ancient land and its spiritual and cultural significance. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 3 & 4: Palm Valley Rest Day, Hermannsburg, Gosse Bluff, Red Bank Gorge
After a lazy start and cooked breakfast, you will have the opportunity to cycle into the tranquil oasis of the valley itself, and then pull on some good walking boots for a 1-2 hour bush walk through the valley. After returning to the camp the afternoon is yours to trek 'Initiation Rock', which overlooks a natural amphitheatre, or rest under the shade of a tree. We leave Palm Valley in the morning of Day 4, and travel through to Hermannsburg mission, which was the home of artist Albert Namatjira, and have opportunity to visit the old town settlement and gallery to view some of his works.
There is also time for freshly baked scones, apple strudel, tea and coffee! Driving north for a short distance we arrive at the spectacular scenery of Tylers Pass. The pass overlooks an impressive 1.3 billion year old comet crater called Gosse Bluff. Then it's on the bikes once more for an invigorating ride into Red Bank Gorge, with stunning views of the West MacDonnell Ranges, to our camp for tonight. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 5: Glen Helen, Ormiston Gorge, Simpsons Gap, Alice Springs
The last day of our adventure is spent cycling along the base of the Western MacDonnell Ranges into Glen Helen homestead. This must surely be one of the most scenic rides you could hope to do anywhere in Australia! From Glen Helen, it’s onto Ormiston Gorge for a bushwalk amongst the steep gorge walls. We drive to Ellery Big Hole, for a lunchtime swim. Simpsons Gap is our last stop before a 17 km ride along the purpose-built cycleway, set away from the traffic and featuring informative signage, ending at John Flynn’s grave memorial. We will arrive in Alice Springs in the late afternoon after five days of red centre adventure. Includes: (B), (L).
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