Fly from your homeport to the city of Adelaide, South Australia on the day before your tour begins. A transfer will take you to your hotel for your overnight stay. The rest of your day is at leisure for you to explore the city.
There’s plenty to see and do in Adelaide – why not take a tour of the famous Adelaide Oval, a stroll down Rundle Mall or take a short tram ride to the seaside suburb of Glenelg. If you are arriving in Adelaide in the morning, you may also wish to take a half day tour to the McLaren Vale wine region or to the picturesque Adelaide Hills. Tonight, we recommend dining at one of the many restaurants in the city or in the seaside suburb of Glenelg.
❱ Hotel stay: Mercure Grosvenor Hotel or similar (1 night)
This morning, we have an early start for our express journey to the opal mining town of Coober Pedy. We depart Adelaide at 6.45am on a climate-controlled luxury touring coach with onboard toilet facilities. Travellers will be provided with a complimentary boxed breakfast onboard for the journey to Coober Pedy.
During today’s trip, a refreshment stop is made at Port Augusta where you will be provided with a picnic style lunch before continuing north along the Stuart Highway to Glendambo Roadhouse for a short break.
Arrive at the Coober Pedy at 5pm and check into your accommodation at the 4-star Desert Cave Hotel, the only international-standard underground hotel in Coober Pedy featuring a swimming pool, cafe, restaurant, bar, Wi-Fi internet access and the only underground casino in the world!
After some time to settle into your suite, indulge in a delicious welcome dinner at the hotel restaurant.
❱ Hotel stay: Desert Cave Hotel (2 nights)
This morning after breakfast, we begin our day when one of nature’s most wonderous events is revealed right before our very eyes! During some years, waters from the Georgina, Umbum & Douglas Rivers descend the floodplains from North Queensland into Lake Eyre transforming the inland desert into an amazing oasis teeming with native birdlife & colour!
Today’s activities will have you taking in the breathtaking sights of Lake Eyre, the picturesque Painted Desert, the Oodnadatta Track, the iconic William Creek Hotel and the unique opal mining town of Coober Pedy.
Board our scenic flight at Coober Pedy Airport at 8am for breathtaking views – don’t forget your camera! The flight includes full commentary via headsets worn by all passengers and superb window views.
Our flight tracks past the Coober Pedy Township and north east past the northern end of Lake Cadibarrawirracanna and on towards the Oodnadatta Track, Old Ghan railway line and Nilpinna Station. The old Ghan railway line operated up until 1980 and has some remarkable bridges and other history along its route.
We fly abeam the homestead at Nilpinna, appreciating the remoteness of outback life, and on over the Davenport Ranges and Mt Margaret, which rise quite abruptly and impressively from the surrounding landscape.
Once over the rounded hills and deep valleys of the Davenport Ranges we follow the descending floodplain on the eastern side of the ranges via the George, Umbum and Douglas rivers to the western shoreline of Lake Eyre. The sheer beauty of the water flows across the terrain in the river beds is easily distinguishable from the air even when the rivers are not flowing, because the trees in the creek beds show up as dark green paths across the red/brown landscape.
Entering Lake Eyre near the Umbum and Douglas river mouths, you will see the wide expanse of salt on the lake bed, with the effect of wind drift creating remarkable patterns and depending on the light, an array of earthy colours. Your flight continues to the centre of the Lake and the Warburton Groove, Hughes Island and Dulhunty Island where pelicans, ducks, bandied stilts, kites, small cormorants and sea gulls gather when the water is flowing. Our track now turns west, and clearly visible to the south is the mouth of Jackboot bay, Babbage Peninsula, Silcrete Island and Belt Bay. Silcrete is another excellent photo opportunity so get your cameras ready!
From here, crossing into Belt Bay we see the deepest part of the lake at 15m below sea level. Then we pass by the ABC viewing station and the end of the Halligan Bay Rd and head west to William Creek on the Oodnadatta Track for lunch at the iconic William Creek Hotel.
The remote William Creek is the closest town to the iconic Lake Eyre, located on the famous Oodnadatta Track between Oodnadatta & Marree, 2 hours east of Coober Pedy.
Departing William Creek, we head west briefly to pass above the Anna Creek Station Homestead, then south to the Painted Hills, where you will be treated to a stunning array of colours and patterns in the pristine landscape caused by natural erosion in the area.
Toward the southern end of the Anna Creek Painted Hills area, which is protected and located on the Anna Creek Station pastoral lease, we cross the Dog Fence and head north westerly back over some local mining tenements to Coober Pedy Township and Coober Pedy Airport.
Tonight, a sizzling barbeque dinner will be provided by our hosts at the Desert Cave Hotel. After dinner, enjoy a drink on the patio as we gaze at some of the clearest views and brilliance of the millions of stars twinkling in the night sky!
Today’s activity will take in some of the most breathtaking and interesting displays of nature in Australia. Our flight reveals a landscape of incredible diversity, changing colours and beauty! During the flight, commentary is provided via headsets to all passengers and the above wing aircraft will provide good views.
Our flight with award-winning Wrightsair takes us to Anna Creek Station Homestead and the remote William Creek township before taking in the southern end of Lake Eyre. We then head north to the Warburton Groove and follow the waters of the river to Goyder Lagoon, the expansive river systems of the Channel Country, and then finally Birdsville (Australia’s most iconic hotel) for lunch. Later, we depart and fly over “Big Red” and the Simpson Desert, and the Davenport Ranges bound for Coober Pedy. Tonight, we join up with the remainder of the group for the barbecue dinner served in the restaurant of our hotel.
We leave Coober Pedy this morning and set off along the Sturt Highway via Glendambo to Woomera for our lunch stop. Woomera was established in 1974 in the days of the Cold War as a research and testing site for Australia’s Department of Defence on behalf of the British to develop and test short range missiles.
After lunch, we have time to visit the fascinating museum dedicated to the state’s early missile testing history. We then continue to Port Augusta and our accommodation for the night, where we will enjoy dinner in the restaurant.
❱ Hotel stay: Standpipe Motor Inn (1 night)
Enjoy breakfast before we begin our journey into the beautiful Clare Valley. Well known for its beauty and its fine wines, upon our arrival we will enjoy a delicious lunch at a local wine cellar. The Clare Valley is one of Australia’s oldest wine regions and is home to over 50 cellar doors. Its signature wine, Riesling, is among the world’s best.
Later, we continue our journey back to Adelaide, arriving in the late afternoon. Adelaide travellers will be met on arrival at the Adelaide Central Bus Station and transferred home by chauffeured vehicle. Interstate travellers will be dropped off at the Mercure Grosvenor Hotel.
You will be dropped off at your hotel in Adelaide at the end of your tour for your overnight stay.
The next day, enjoy a full day at leisure to explore Adelaide and South Australia. Ask us about optional tours that are available today including day tours to the Barossa Valley, Adelaide Hills or the McLaren Vale wine region. Alternatively, you may wish to take a stroll down Rundle Mall or visit the Adelaide Zoo and the Botanic Gardens. Later today, a chauffeured car will take you from your hotel to Adelaide Airport in time for your flight back to your homeport.
❱ Hotel stay: Mercure Grosvenor Hotel or similar (1 night)