The moment I realized who our tour guide was I knew it would be a great trip.

It was “Papa Keith” (around Alice Springs they all have nicknames). He was my guide/driver on the OzExperience bus in the previous year from Brisbane to Noosa. He is probably one of the oldest guides in the company, but he does a magnificient job.

On the first day we left Darwin early in the Morning around 5.30 am. Our first stop was for brekkie, then later on we stopped at Adelaide River, a small town next to the train tracks. In the pub there they had the stuffed buffalo from the first Crocodile Dundee movie.

“We”, that was Gareth and I, Máire who also did the WesternXposure tour with us, Jan-Luca who I knew from Kakadu (also going to Adelaie with Gareth and me), Sabrina (also knew her from Kakadu) and a canadian couple that I hadn’t met before. 7 people plus guide, a perfect size! We could have a whole row in the bus each and stretch out to sleep 🙂

At lunchtime we arrived at our camp just outside of Katherine. We had lunch and then some spare time because we chose to do the hike at Katherine Gorge a bit later so it wouldn’t be as hot on the way back. About 2pm we left for Nitmiluk National Park. After spending a bit of time we started our hike which as a good hour one way. Here and there Papa Keith told us some things about the plants, the gorge and stuff. In the end we took some photos from the lookout and then climbed down a smaller side gorge to a big waterhole where we swam, climbed the rocks and jumped into the water.

An hour later we started our way back. It was already getting dark when we reached the bus. Papa Keith was very well organized. With him it was almost no effort to cook the meals and wash up.


The next morning he bribed us with pancakes to be at breakfast at 6.30 am 🙂 at 7.30 we left. The first stop were the Thermal Springs of Mataranka, very nice. We spend about one hour in the water together talking. The next stop was for lunch at Daly Waters. That place has maybe a dozen residents but a very cool pub (as you will see on the photos). It also had a pool 🙂 so we got to swim / cool down while Papa Keith prepared the lunch. Afterwards we visited the aerodrome and he told us the history of that airfield. I know now what Quantas stands for 🙂 Queensland And Northern Territory Air Services.

After that we drove for several hours until we finally reached the next camp at Banka Banka, an hour north of Tennant Creek. Same story: some free time, easy but tasty dinner with Papa Keith, playing cards until going to bed. Because our group was so small we each got a tent for ourselves in both camps.


Day 3 brought us to the Devils Marbles, huge granite rocks. After explaining us some things Papa Keith let us wander and climb around for an hour before we drove to Wachaupe for lunch. Same as before – us in the pool, Papa Keith made lunch. He chopped some veggies and chucked some chicken drumsticks on the barbie, done 🙂 and tasty!

On the last couple 100 kilometers we stopped at an old telegraph station and at Ti Tree to refuel the bus, then we finally arrived in Alice Springs, which everybody calls just “Alice”. After a short tour of the city he dropped us all at Haven Backpackers Resort.

Except for the canadian couple we were all in one big nice room. A little later Gareth, Máire, Sabrina and I went shopping to cook dinner (pasta bolognese) which we did. It was after 10 pm when we finally could eat our last evening meal together, for Máire and Sabrina were on a different tour the next day while Gareth and I had a free day in Alice.

From 2012-03-21+2 Darwin to Alice Springs. Posted by Philipp Hübner on 3/23/2012 (62 items)

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