We will visit 6 aboriginal communities in Central Australia and cover many of the region’s most beautiful and dramatic areas including the icons of Uluru, Kata Tjuta and the West MacDonnell Ranges.
- Visit 6 remote Aboriginal Communities
- Visit 3 of the regions finest art distribution facilities
- Interactive Aboriginal Cultural experiences
- Visit the icons of Uluru and Kata Tjuta.
Tour Departure Dates
13th May, 18th June, 9th July, 13th August & 10th September
Tour commences Alice Springs. Tour concludes Alice Springs, Ayers Rock Resort accommodation or Ayers Rock Airport. An Insight into the Art and Life of an Ancient Culture. This is the land, the country and home to the likes of Albert Namatjira, Possum, Polly and Emily Kngwarreye and the many fine young artists following in their famous footsteps. Their spirits and legacy live on, strongly influencing the artists of today.
Central Australian art has evolved over the years from the traditional Dot Art and Landscapes to more contemporary and abstract designs. Contemporary Aboriginal art is a vital part of the world's oldest continuous cultural tradition. It is also one of the most brilliant and exciting areas of modern art, all decisive in their impression on art lovers and collectors worldwide. Travel into their country, the remote Communities to witness and admire the commitment and patience as their stories unfold with infinite accuracy. These stories and beliefs do not go back generations but thousands of years.
The tour commences with two of Alice’s’ finest art distribution outlets, Ngurratjuta Iltja Ntjarra Art Centre and Mbantua Gallery before weaving through the Western Region of Central Australia visiting locations that few visitors will ever experience. Take in art and culture from the Clan regions of Utopia, Walpiri, Arrente, Luritja, Anmatyere and Pitjantjatjara. Not only is this an art extravaganza, it is an experience full of traditional culture and understanding. It is not a tour for those that are hotel or motel dependent. Visitation to remote Communities requires a commitment and one must be prepared to experience traditional Aussie bush camping, although in relative style.
We offer a truly authentic opportunity for the art connoisseur to cut loose from the outside world whilst exploring some of the most beautiful and remote locations in Central Australia, with indigenous art the focus. This is a true outback experience in 4-wheel drive vehicles, small groups (max 16 persons), camping (tents can be provided), open fires at night, sensational camp fire meals with quality food, all equipment provided and fully catered. Camping and sleeping under the sensational star-filled southern night sky will be a memory of a life time. You, the wild and no other!
There is an old adage – “the best locations are the hardest to get to” and this is where our name and tradition come from. People expect the best and we leave no stone unturned in achieving this. All camping equipment including swags, pillows, sheets and sleeping bags. All park entry fees and admissions costs. Pick up from Alice Springs accommodation and return to Alice Springs or Ayers Rock airport/resort accommodation. All meals and snacks and hot/cold non-alcoholic beverages whilst touring. Meals included are indicated on itinerary. Fresh drinking water, reference books, chilled face cloths in summer. All sightseeing as per itinerary. For those arriving prior to 1:30 pm on commencement day, an introduction to art is provided at the Ngurratjuta Iltja Ntjarra Art Centre and Mbantua Gallery located in Alice Springs with your guide.
Note: Tents are available on request.
Day 1: Arrive Alice Springs.
Those who choose to arrive in Alice Springs prior to 1.30 pm have the opportunity to join your Guide for an afternoon appetiser at the world acclaimed Ngurratjuta Iltja Ntjarra Art Centre and Mbantua Gallery located in Alice Springs. Spend a leisurely afternoon perusing all forms of art from the Western Desert and Utopia regions. Observe and interact with the artists as they bring to life their stories on canvas. Many of today’s artists contributing at Ngurratjuta Iltja Ntjarra Art Centre are descendants of arguably the most famous male Aboriginal artist, Albert Namatjira. Observe his legacy in many of the works created today.
Ngurratjuta Iltha Ntjarra (Many Hands Art Centre) is an association of those communities affected by the oil and gas mining operations at Mereenie and Palm Valley in Central Australia. There are approximately 70 member communities, many of which are small outstations with about 12 different language groups represented by the Art Centre. The artists include permanent residents of Alice Springs together with long and short-term visitors from the above-mentioned communities, as well as artists painting in remote communities.
The Mbantua Gallery has become world renowned through its recent acquisition of the work by famed Aboriginal artist Emily Kame Kngwarreye. The piece is titled 'Earth's Creation' and sold for AUD$1,056,000, the highest price ever paid for a work of indigenous art and the highest price ever paid for a female artist in Australia. A collection of Emily’s work is being prepared at the gallery and in the future it is possible that “Earths Creation” will be the centre piece. Upon conclusion you can retire to your motel or, in traditional Alice Springs spirit, enjoy a wonderful meal at one of Alice’s finest Restaurants with your fellow travellers (own expense) – “let the friendship begin”. What a great way to commence your Central Australian Art Tour experience. Overnight Alice Springs accommodation (twin share).
Day 2: A 6:00 am collection from your Motel and your experience into the inspirational raw world of Aboriginal Art and Culture begins. We travel west of Alice via the spectacular West MacDonnell Ranges for approx 1.5 hours until we arrive at the historical Glen Helen Resort at the base of the Yeperenye Hills on the banks of the Finke River. Enjoy a rest break, a coffee, a stroll to the tranquil Glen Helen Gorge, a short helicopter flight over this rugged interior (own expense) or simply peruse the broad collection of Ngurratjuta art and the history of the great Albert Namatjira. After our break, it’s time to hit the dirt and venture where few travelers have the opportunity to go. Not only is there some stunning scenery and wildlife, but some tough miles on raw outback tracks as we visit the two communities of Haasts Bluff and Papunya. The variation of art within the two communities is incredibly diverse with this small region famous for producing many of the finest artists in the Aboriginal art world.
Papunya is not only famous for its artists but also its musical talents. The Walpiri Band hails from Papunya and is arguably the most famous Aboriginal recording band alongside Yothu Yindi. Papunya was also the famous setting for the recording of the chart topping Midnight Oil album, Diesel and Dust. In that memorable track, ‘Beds are Burning’ is the reflection of the iconic Uluru being handed back to the traditional owners in the mid 1980’s. The Sound Studio is a legacy and is still used today by budding musicians of the area. At some stage along our journey we will select our campsite for the night. Your first experience into the true solitude of the outback, a glorious dinner cooked over the campfire, the southern night sky with stars you simply won’t believe and a few stories typical of the stockman’s life. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 3: Up with the birds and a hearty breakfast, we pack and break camp with a busy schedule ahead. A one hour drive will take us to the Areyonga Community nestled within the Krichauff and Razorback Ranges. You will find it difficult to comprehend that the scenery just keeps getting better and better, yet it does. Areyonga lies on the western limit of the traditional tribal lands of the Western Arrente and north to the limit of the Pitjantjatjara land. The people of Areyonga are of the Pitjantjatjara tribal group with a few Arrente and Walpiri who have joined the community through marriage.
After lunch we will journey approximately one hour to the oldest Lutheran based Aboriginal Community in Australia – Hermannsburg. The history and art from this region is over powering. We will take time to view the old Historical Precinct, the Namatjira Family Gallery, the famous Hermannsburg potters, the ladies workshop and some of the finest silk art you can witness.
Late in the afternoon we will travel east and into the gorgeous Owen Springs Conservation Park. This is the first and only central Northern Territory property that was acquired by the famous late Sir Sidney Kidman, once the world’s largest landowner outside of monarchy and Governments. Spend another sensational night under the stars with a spectacular camp fire meal. You wouldn’t believe you could cook so much variety in a camp oven! Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 4: After another hearty breakfast, the sequence of the previous mornings is repeated. We journey through Owen Springs, steeped in beauty and history. The track we follow is very close to the line of the famous explorer John McDouall Stuart and the overland telegraph line that followed. The Hugh River in the Lawrence Gorge supplies a wonderful array of dramatic scenery. Approximately mid morning we will arrive at the Titjikala Community south of Alice Springs, the land of the Southern Arrente clan. After lunch we will travel up the old south road to the property of Robert, Mary and Craig Le Rosignol known as Oak Valley Aboriginal Community.
The Aboriginal cultural experience and interaction will leave you speechless. Craig and Rob are very talented artists in their own right and have their own gallery of art and artifacts on the property. Please refer to our Oak Valley section for more information. Tonight we will camp at the Community with Craig and his family as our hosts. Apart from our normal succulent meal there could be some traditional surprises to entice those with a liking for exotic game cuisine. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 5: After breaking camp we travel the famous Hugh River Stock Route adjacent to the Ghan railway line. The contrast of scenery will amaze. We meet the Stuart Highway and the realization that there are actually sealed roads in the centre of Australia. At Erldunda we head west for approx 30 minutes until we arrive at Mt Ebenezer nestled at the base of the Basedow Range. Mt Ebenezer is the art centre for the Imanpa Community – a cultural mix of Pitjantjatjara, Yakantjatjarra and Luritja dialects. The art is as diverse as it is interesting. Much of the art completed and being done is prepared by the young women and girls of the Community.
Once concluded it’s off along the Lassetter Highway to our next stop, Curtin Springs Cattle Station homestead. A rest break, coffee and a laugh or two for those with a sense of humour followed by a one hour drive to the famous Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park. Upon arrival at the Park we stop at the Cultural Centre with plenty of time to view the art and artifact facilities within the Cultural Centre whilst a BBQ lunch is prepared. After lunch an extremely privileged opportunity will present itself with a visit to the Maruku Art Warehouse. Very few people have access to this facility which contains the single largest collection of Anangu art on display. From Maruku (time dependent) we will undertake a small cultural walk at either Mala or Mutitjulu prior to retiring to a secluded location to observe the famous sunset on Uluru. Sipping a sparkling wine and simply contemplating the awe of our surrounds removes one to another time. For the truly converted it’s off to our campsite for our last special evening meal and night under the Southern Cross.
Day 6: No visit to Uluru is complete without the powerful and awe inspiring base walk. Rising before sunrise, we travel to Uluru as the rays of the new day penetrate the eastern horizon. The walk of approx 2.5 hours with the sun rising, bringing together the stories of the Alcheringa (Dreamtime) and Tjukurpa (Laws and Creation), is a soul fulfilling experience.
After your walk, another hearty breakfast will greet you. Time to consider the wonderful experiences of the past week and the friendships created. Without doubt, a mind blowing six day experience of one of the simplest but most beautiful cultures and locations on the planet. For those leaving us in Uluru, we will take you to your chosen accommodation or the airport. For those finishing their tour in Alice Springs, we return to Alice after lunch for drop off at your desired location.
- Single accommodation is an additional $50 per night. If you are single and wish to share with another person on the trek of the same gender we will arrange this for you subject to availability. If no other single share available, single supplement is payable.
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