So in the last few days of our European holiday last year, we started discussing our “next holiday”. We wanted to re-visit parts of England and explore Scotland and Ireland; we definitely wanted to re-visit Paris but also wanted to explore the European countries along the Mediterranean Sea. But we figured we couldn’t take another 6 week holiday in 2013 so talked about where we wanted to explore closer to home. As a teenager, I had visited Tasmania and we went as a couple to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. As a teenager, Peter had visited the Northern Territory so we decided that it would be our 2013 holiday destination. Once we considered the best time of year to visit and checked the school holidays calendar, everything fell in to place – we could celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary while in the Northern Territory.
Our initial research centred on packaged bus tours so that Peter didn’t have to drive the vast distances in the outback but we soon baulked at the prices. I started researching do-it-yourself and soon got absorbed in the planning. Fairly early on, I discovered that getting from Brisbane to Uluru wasn’t going to be a direct flight but that flights were available from Sydney which is one of our favourite cities in the world to visit. A little more research and the plan was obvious. Easter Monday we would fly to Sydney and book into a hotel with harbour views. We would awake to a sunrise over Sydney Harbour then fly to Uluru and watch the sunset over Ayers Rock …. a perfect day for our 30th wedding anniversary.
With that plan set in concrete, the next decision was how to get from central Northern Territory to the Top End. There were plenty of options – drive, bus, train, fly. Driving and bus was going to take a large chunk of time with little return. Train sounded interesting but we have had bad experiences with holiday train travel. We settled on flying; not from Uluru but from Alice Springs with a day bus trip to Kings Canyon that conveniently starts at Uluru and finishes in Alice Springs.
Once that was decided, it was simply a matter of planning the route we could drive through the Top End in a hire car – Darwin to Fogg Dam to Kakadu to Katherine to Litchfield to Darwin with a flight home from Darwin. Time will tell whether it all works out cheaper than the organised bus tours.