Take an unforgettable five or six day journey on the Red Centre Way from Alice Springs to Uluru and revel in the beauty that surrounds you along the way. This 1100km loop will take you from Alice Springs and through the West MacDonnell Ranges to Kings Canyon and eventually to Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park, touring through central Australia’s stunning and diverse landscape.
First stop along the way from Alice is the West MacDonnell Ranges, where you can visit some of the outback’s most incredible gorges, then quench your thirst at Glen Helen Homestead Lodge. Sit back on the back deck and admire the incredible view of the West Macs, this a great spot to stop for the night.
Heading south from Glen Helen, stop at Tylers Pass to take in the amazing view of Gosses Bluff crater. Gosses bluff is a large crater formed by the impact of an asteroid or comet approximately 140 million years ago. Once leaving Tylers pass, make sure you drive into Gosses bluff and have a look around.
At the T intersection heading further south it is decision time. Turning right sees you leaving the bitumen and welcoming the gravel road of the Red centre way, depending on the weather conditions this road can be a little rough and some water crossings may lie ahead. Turning Left goes along Larapinta Drive towards Hermannsburg. This is a great way as you can visit Palm valley, Hermannsburg and then head south through Finke Gorge National Park. This drive has to be one of my favourites and it offers vast changes in terrain whilst driving next to towering sandstone cliffs and the Finke River and some great camping spots. During your visit take the time to stop in at the old ruins of the old Illamurta Springs and the Police Camp, that was open between 1893 and 1912.
Both ways will have you looping around to Kings Canyon where you can take the challenging 6km rim walk, enjoy a swim in the tropical pools of the Garden of Eden, and explore the sandstone domes of the Lost City. Camping and accommodation options are at Kings Canyon resort or my pick, Kings Creek Station.
Head South to the Lasseter Hwy and catch your first sighting of Ayers Rock, but don’t be fooled by the look a-like that is Mt Conner. A free camping area awaits you, approximately 20kms from the entrance of the Uluru National Park along Lasseter Highway. As soon as you reach the unsigned sandy track, it’s a small journey across dunes to this no facilities camp area. Set up and enjoy an evening in camp watching the sun set over Uluru.
It’s around a 465km journey back to Uluru from Alice Springs, so stop and revive at the roadhouses that line the Stuart Highway.
This trip is best done mid year when the weather is warm and humidity is low, however there are some unique features to each season that is worth keeping in mind when planning your trip to Central Australia.
You will need to purchase a permit to travel the section of the Red Centre Way which passes through Aboriginal Land Trusts between Gosse Bluff and Kings Canyon. These can be purchased across the counter at a few locations including the Alice Springs Visitors Centre and Kings Canyon Resort for a mere $5.00.