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Kakadu hike

Kakadu Hike

Nourlangie Rock Art

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The Wild Outback and Annular Eclipse
May 3 - 15, 2013

A Photographic Journey
Astrophotographer and Astronomer, Fred Espenak

Fred Espenak, noted eclipse expert and astrophotographer, invites you to capture the changing colors of the Red Center, the deep canyons of Kakadu, and the rich Southern Hemisphere’s celestial treasures of the exceptionally dark skies of the Australian Outback. The trip is topped with an annular eclipse of over three minutes annularity.

Uluru and Kata Tjuta

Fred Espenak

Fred Espenak

Nourlangie Rock Art

The Olgas

© Christian Mehlführer

Your Tour Includes:

  • International air LAX/AYERS ROCK/DARWIN/LAX
  • Fuel surcharge
  • Accommodations: 10 nights accommodations, 4-Star or best available.
  • Meals: Breakfasts daily, 1-lunch, 9-dinners
  • Sunset cocktails and Sound of Silence dinner at Uluru
  • Kakadu National Park
  • Yellow Waters River Cruise through deep canyons
  • Rock Art sites
  • Astro imaging lecture and assistance
  • Nightly stargazing and photography
  • Eclipse glasses
  • Deluxe, air-conditioned motorcoach with professional commentary driver
  • All sightseeing and transfer services as specified.
  • Personally escorted by popular astronomer, Fred Espenak

Fred Espenak's photo of one of the most famous and recognizable parts of the southern sky including Alpha & Beta Centaurii, Crux (Southern Cross) and the Eta Carina nebula.

© Fred Espenak

Friday/Sunday, May 3/5, 2013 • Los Angeles – Sydney – Ayers Rock
Depart for your trans-Pacific flight to Down Under.
Sunday, May 5, 2013 • Ayers Rock
You will be met and transferred to your hotel. After check-in begin your first photo shoot of the iconic Red Rock. As the Sun sets, enjoy light snacks before returning to the hotel for dinner.   
Desert Gardens Hotel
Monday, May 6, 2013 • Uluru & Kata Tjuta
Pre-sunrise departure from our hotel for sunrise photography over Kata Tjuta. Watching the colour of Kata Tjuta change is a spectacular and unique alternative to that of Uluru. The ash, dust particles and water vapor present in the earth's atmosphere act as a filter which can remove the bluer light from the incoming rays of the sun, allowing the redder light through at different times of day.

Kata Tjuta

Kata Tjuta

© Karl Blackwell
On completion of sunrise we start our walk into Valley of Winds. The Valley of the Winds, is just as holy to its aboriginal caretakers as Uluru, located just 45 kilometers away. The rocks of Kata Tjuta are even more ancient than those of Uluru. They have been subject to such tectonic stress over the millennia, that the mud bearing the hard nuggets of sandstone has also long been compressed into stone. The resulting conglomeration resembles chunks of candy studded with nuts and nougats. The highlight of visiting the Olgas is the Valley of the Winds walk, a path that cuts 3 km deep into the long, narrow spaces between the high domes, where the winds howl and carry one's echoes far down the gorges below. On completion of our walk we travel back to our hotel Dune-top platforms provide seating, shade and visitor information. The area offers spectacular panoramic views of Kata Tjuta and the sand dunes. The return walk will take about 30 minutes. Uluru can also be easily seen on the distant horizon from this lookout.

Uluru bird
© rumpleteaser
Tour the base of this amazing monolith, and the Mutijulu Base Walk - this track leads to a special waterhole, which is the home of Wanampi, an ancestral watersnake. For centuries Mutitjulu was an important campsite for Anangu at Uluru.

On this walk you will learn about Kuniya Tjukurpa – the great battle between Kuniya (woma python) and Liru (poisonous snake man). From here we continue where we arrive at Mala Walk, this track begins at the Mala Walk coach parking area and ends at the inspiring Kantju Gorge. On this walk you will learn about Mala Tjukurpa and see where dramatic events took place during creation times.

Another photographing spectacular: the sunset over Uluru. Admire the ever-changing array of colors of the mighty monolith while the sun sinks below the horizon. Tonight dine under the dark Southern skies for the Sound of Silence dinner.   
Kings Canyon

Kings Canyon Gorge

Tuesday, May 7, 2013 • Uluru – Kings Canyon
This morning we transfer by coach from Ayers Rock to Kings Canyon. This afternoon we tour the Kings Canyon. Kings Canyon Resort is perfectly located perfect oasis for exploring and photographing the wonders of Kings Canyon including the amazing rock formation called the Lost City and the Garden of Eden an oasis of an entirely different kind at the foot of the Canyon.   
Kings Canyon Resort
Wednesday, May 8, 2013 • Kings Canyon – Alice Springs
This morning we transfer by coach from Kings Canyon to Alice Springs (approx 5 hours) Afternoon Town Tour of Alice Springs upon arrival. Situated close to the very centre of the vast Australian continent, Alice Springs is the country’s best known Outback town. Alice Springs was originally settled as a post along the Overland Telegraph Station. Visit the base of the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the School of the Air, two uniquely Australian organisations that provide medical care and education respectively to people in remote areas of Central Australia.
Photograph the panoramic views of the township and the rugged West MacDonnell Ranges from Anzac Hill. There ranges are thought to be the oldest in Australia and one of the oldest standing anywhere in the world.   
Lasseters Hotel Alice Springs
Thursday, May 9, 2013 • Alice Springs – Tennant Creek
This morning we transfer by coach from Alice Springs to Tennant Creek. The spectacular Devils Marbles offer unusual photographic scenery along with Mary Ann Dam, Batter Hill Mining Centre and the Nyinkka Nyunyu Culture Centre on the Barkly Tableland.   
Eldorado Motor Inn Tennant Creek
Daly Waters Pub

Daly Waters Pub

Friday, May 10, 2013 • Tennant Creek – Eclipse – Daly Waters
Early morning check-out departure from the Inn and drive north to view the Annular Eclipse. Afterwards continue north to Daly Waters. Daly Waters was established to service cattle droving routes, this small township was also incorporated into the Overland Telegraph Line and was a major staging post for troop and supply movements during World War II. The Daly Waters Historic Pub is a must for travellers wishing to experience the true and wild character of the outback. The pub was built in the 1930’s to service early air passengers on refuelling stops to and from London at what was Australia’s first international airfield.   
Hi-Way Inn Daly Waters Hotel
Saturday, May 11, 2013 • Daly Waters – Katherine
Today depart Daly Waters for Mataranka.
Edith Falls

Edith Falls - Nitmiluk National Park

These thermal springs near the old Elsey Homestead are claimed to have therapeutic qualities. The crystal clear water emanates from underground and flows through several rock holes surrounded by semi tropical vegetation. In recent years a colony of fruit bats has inhabited these surrounds. There is a homestead with bars adjacent to the springs to relax by before we depart for Nitmiluk National Park.
Our guided cruise will take you through an environmental and photographic wonderland. Travel between sheer canyon walls and marvel at the spectacular scenery. Ancient Aboriginal paintings can be seen high on cliff walls and Johnstone freshwater crocodiles may be sighted.  
All Seasons Katherine Hotel
Sunday, May 12, 2013 • Katherine - Kakadu
Today we travel to Kakadu, home to a profusion of birdlife and other native fauna. Here you will have the opportunity to photograph some of the 5,000 rock art sites. We first stop at Window on the Wetland Visitor Centre, one of the highest points on the Adelaide River floodplain.   
Gagudju Crocodile Hotel
Monday, May 13, 2013 • Kakadu - Darwin
Full day touring of spectacular Kakadu including the Yellow Waters Cruise followed by lunch at Cooinda. From here we continue onto Kakadu National Park with a comfort stop at the uniquely Top End roadhouse the Park Hut. From here we travel until we reach one the highlights of today our cruise on the Yellow Water Billabong, here we board our vessel,

Mist at Yellow Water billabong - Kakadu

Yellow Water Billabong is located at the end of Jim Jim Creek, a tributary of the South Alligator River. The South Alligator river system, which is the largest in the Park, contains extensive wetlands that include river channels, floodplains and backwater swamps. About one third of Australia's bird species are represented in Kakadu National Park, with at least 60 species found in the wetlands. Whistling ducks and Magpie Geese are the most abundant.

The canopied cruise boats operate year round and are skippered by experienced guides. From here we enjoy lunch at Cooinda from, before we travel to Nourlangie Rock where we can photograph aboriginal rock art. The walls of these rock shelters have served as both shelter and canvases for thousands of years, providing windows for thousands of years, providing windows to a rich spiritual tradition. The paintings at the base can be reached by the circular one and a half kilometre Nourlangie Rock Art Walk. There is a lookout that is well worth the climb for sweeping views of the escarpment. For the more adventurous, there is also a moderately steep climb to Gunwarddehwardde lookout which provides impressive views of both Kakadu's escarpment and Nourlangie Rock.
Crown Plaza Darwin Hotel
Tuesday, May 14, 2013 • Darwin
Day at leisure in Darwin
Late afternoon we transfer to our Sunset Dinner Cruise in Darwin. This unique tropical dining experience aboard the schooner “Alfred Noble” includes a four course seated meal. Full table service for all drinks is also available. The “Alfred Noble” is a beautiful 30 metre spotted gum schooner built in 1951 and has 53 years of service in the Australian Maritime industry. After restoration visitors enjoy her graceful cruising of the Darwin Harbor.   
Wednesday, May 15, 2013 • Darwin
Transfer from our hotel to Darwin International airport