We start our journey on a high point, heading straight from Sydney to Birdsville for the historic Birdsville Races. Get into the spirit and bring along a costume of your own, or simply soak in the carnival atmosphere. In a VIP marquee with great views of the track, expect very tempting offerings from the Birdsville Race Club's chef, exclusive trackside access, fine wines to toast the day and more. After the big race, we return to our private jet and travel on to the heart of the Red Centre.
Here, we check in to Sails in the Desert. As the name implies, this is as luxurious a resort as you could ever find in the outback, an oasis with soaring white sails that shade the buildings from the sun. This is our home for two nights. Alternatively, you may choose to upgrade to Longitude 131o, the ultimate outback indulgence with views of Uluru. Either way, we spend the evening relaxing, in anticipation of tomorrow's full-day exploration of Uluru. This evening, you have your pick of the resort’s extensive menu.
Choose from two cultural Your World experiences today.
The evening culminates with a wholly unique dining experience called Tali Wiru. The phrase means 'beautiful dune', and captures the magic of dining under the desert sky, with views of both Uluru and the domes of Kata Tjuta. After dinner, an Anangu storyteller regales us with vivid tales from his country.
Set on a little peninsula south into Roebuck Bay, Broome is an idyllic combination of turquoise ocean, pristine beaches and isolation - Perth is 2,226 kilometres away. It is also the gateway to the Kimberley region, Australia's last frontier. Our private jet flies us directly here from Uluru, a route that cannot be found on commercial airlines.
Cable Beach Club Resort and Spa, named after the stunning stretch of sand on its doorstep, is our residence for two nights. Relax on its lush grounds, where 'no building should be higher than a palm tree', a rule made by its founder, Lord Alistair McAlpine. In the evening, we gather for drinks and canapes at the resort's Okari Deck, with sweeping Indian Ocean views. Once the sun sets, we are seated for a delicious dinner that highlights the varied cuisines and cultures that make up Broome, likely including local specialities such as pearl meat and barramundi.
Broome's founding is inextricably linked to the pearling industry. This morning, we visit one of the last remaining pearl luggers, surrounded by a reconstructed tidal jetty and an authentic pearlers store. The store is filled with the rudimentary equipment used by those early divers, a profession fraught with danger, and in its early days, one that employed Aboriginal slaves. After the eye-opening tour, we stop in at Matso's Brewery, set in a heritage-listed building with a large veranda - the perfect lunch venue. Pair your meal with a unique mango, lychee or chilli beer. Or a more conventional, but just as spectacular, ale and lager. Later in the afternoon, choose from these Your World experiences.
This evening, we are free to dine in any of our resort's spectacular restaurants - modern Australian at the Club Restaurant, Southeast Asian at Rambutan and Japanese at Zensai. Alternatively, you may venture out to Zanders, for its French-inflected Australian cuisine and front row view of Broome's camels at sunset.
Today, we leave the ocean for the wild interior, flying to Kununurra and exchanging our jet for a light aircraft. While the Bungle Bungle Ranges has been known to local Aboriginal people for thousands of years, it was only 'discovered' by the rest of the country in 1982, when film makers were told about the strange dome-shaped rocks by a pilot who occasionally flew over them. Intrigued, they made a documentary of the hills, showing off the region for the very first time. Our light aircraft flies low, allowing us to take in every curve of the ranges' striking orange and grey bands. We land close by for a scenic walk to the renowned Cathedral Gorge. The walk begins between two walls of rock before opening up into an immense rock amphitheatre that dwarfs us with its magnificence.
We linger over a picnic lunch here before taking to the air again for more sweeping views of the wilderness. Our destination - the luxurious Berkeley River Lodge, which we call home for two nights. This evening, we dine at the gourmet Dunes restaurant, where decadent flavours are matched by equally resplendent views of the Timor Sea.
The region is gloriously endowed with landscapes found nowhere else on earth. Today, choose how you want to experience its gifts on these Your World experiences.
We meet back at the lodge for lunch. Spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing and taking in the views, or set out on the other Your World experience option you missed in the morning. Or go on a bush and beach 4WD trip replete with ocean views, alien rock formations and wildlife spotting opportunities. In the evening, we celebrate our day of adventure with sunset drinks before another delicious dinner at Dunes.
This morning, a light aircraft takes us back to Kununurra, where our private jet awaits. The jet flies us to the tropical melting pot of Darwin, a city that's closer to Jakarta than it is to Canberra. We tour its streets before heading to the Hilton Darwin, our residence for two nights.
The balmy breeze and waterfront location seem to demand a casual, leisurely dinner, preferably featuring seafood. Take a stroll on Mindil Beach for sweeping views of the fiery sunset, then choose from the many restaurants set prettily on the waterfront. Our favourites include Crustaceans on the Wharf and The Jetty Restaurant. We rest early tonight as tomorrow promises to be a day full of adventure.
While Darwin is laidback and sunny, the Northern Territory's inland wonders call to us. Choose from these Your World experiences today.
Returning in the evening, we are free to dine around the city.
From Darwin, it is a short flight to Katherine, en route to its eponymous river which bisects Nitmiluk National Park. The most beautiful stretch is the famed Katherine Gorge, a series of thirteen deep sandstone gorges, which we cruise through on a private boat. The area is Jawoyn country, and they share with us their history, beliefs and ancient rock art on an immersive cultural tour.
Nitmiluk means 'cicada place', and was named such by Nabilil, an important figure in Jawoyn Creation Time stories. Our home for the night, Cicada Lodge, is a luxury eco-resort owned and run by the Jawoyn, which allows us to steep ourselves in their art, heritage and cuisine. Our rooms have sweeping views of the bush and the gorges beyond. Explore the grounds of our lodge this afternoon, or take a cooling swim in its pool. We meet for drinks at sunset before having dinner at the lodge's restaurant. Helmed by celebrated Aboriginal chef Mark Olive, prepare to be dazzled by his use of local bush bananas, native freshwater shellfish and crocodile tail.
This morning, we have one last look at Katherine Gorge via these Your World experiences.
With those images firmly imprinted in our memories, we return to our private jet and fly to Alice Springs. While it is known for its red dirt, it is also a jumping off point for the region's natural marvels and boasts a vibrant Aboriginal culture. We tour downtown Alice, then check in to the DoubleTree Hilton for two nights. This evening we celebrate the outback with a gala bush barbecue dinner and show.
Start the morning spectacularly with a sunrise hot air balloon flight. As you float silently over the desert, take in the rugged West MacDonnell Ranges, and scan the ground for red kangaroos. Upon landing, we return to our hotel for breakfast, then head back out for an exploration of the ranges by road.
There are many gaps in these mountains, carved out by powerful flood waters millennia ago. These also happen to be the most beautiful and tranquil parts of the landscape. The native Arrernte people call Simpsons Gap Rungutjirpa, which refers to the giant goannas who were their ancestors, and who once made their home in the gap. We will almost certainly see black-footed wallabies from the colony that lives on these rocky slopes. Next, Standley Chasm, with its tall, narrow walls draws our attention. The rock glows from reflected sunlight, while on the gully floor, a riot of gum trees and ferns grow. Among them, you might spot a cycad palm, a relic of a time when this desert was a tropical forest. This evening, we reward ourselves with two of Alice Spring's best restaurants. Choose from Hanuman, with an innovative Asian menu or the Deck Eatery, offering local meat and produce.
Our private jet takes us across the desert to Coober Pedy. Opal was first found here on February 1,1915. Since then this remote region has become known as the opal mining capital of the world. But it is also famous for its upside down way of life.
Because of the daytime heat in this desert location, residences were built Underground. These ‘dugouts’ as they are called are cave houses excavated out of the rock that lines the hillsides. Far below the scorching sun’s rays, temperatures in these dwellings remain at a consistent and comfortable level, without the need for air conditioning.
The Desert Cave Hotel welcomes us for two nights, where we have a choice of a Underground or regular Above-Ground rooms. For a truly novel experience, play a round of golf at the Coober Pedy Opal Fields Golf Club, quite possibly the only 18-hole grassless course in the world. Surprisingly, it is the sole club in the world with reciprocal playing rights with St Andrews in Scotland. This evening, we dine around town.
Whether guests are attracted by the many gems or this outpost’s sheer quirkiness, a stopover at Coober Pedy provides a detour into the very different.
This morning we delve into the fascinating history of Coober Pedy at the Umoona Opal Mine and Museum, one of the original mines worked in the 1920s. From the Aboriginal history of the area to lessons on how to grade opals, we see and hear it all at this museum. Our tour culminates in a lunch beneath the earth’s surface, dining in what was once a mining tunnel. Next, we visit the Serbian Orthodox Church, an impressive underground building with beautiful details like bas-reliefs of saints on its interior walls, a vaulted ceiling and stained glass windows at ground level. Thirty two kilometres north of town is the Breakaways Reserve, a range of white, ochre and brown hills that have 'broken away' from the Stuart Range. They even featured in productions such as Mad Max and Priscilla Queen of the Desert. We take a scenic drive here, not forgetting our cameras. Our last stop of the day is Faye's Underground Home, hand-dug by Faye and two friends over ten years in the 1960s.
This evening, we toast the end of our journey with a special farewell dinner at Umberto's in our hotel, on an inventive menu of modern Australian creations.
We have one destination left to visit today. Our private jet flies us to Broken Hill, another iconic rural town, where the Royal Flying Doctor Service Visitor Centre beckons. We learn of the doctors, pilots and nurses who attend to patients in the ‘largest waiting room in Australia’, the seven million-square-kilometre outback. In Living Desert State Park, we walk to the hilltop on which twelve magnificent sandstone sculptures are set. Here, we savour a barbecue lunch and our last few hours in the open bush, before our jet returns us to Sydney. It has been an epic exploration of the most remote, rarely seen parts of our country, and one that will stay with us for a long time to come. We hope to see you on your next Captain’s Choice journey.
As travelling should not be a chore, distracting you from the new and fascinating places you are in, we've moved everything mundane behind the scenes. You will never have to carry a map. Or your luggage. Or reach for your wallet.
There are no hidden costs. Everything is included - flights on your private jet and other travel arrangements, accommodation, travel insurance, all dining and drinks, every sightseeing trip. Even the extraordinary Your World experiences within your itinerary. And internet access when available.
Welcome to your homes away from home. Each one has a certain something that sets it apart from every other residence at its location. Whether for its history, cultural significance or natural setting, we’ve selected only the very best.
Gazing out on the open plain, there is the sense that Uluru is for your eyes only. There are just 15 luxury tents placed on top of rust red dunes. Each is appointed with a king-size bed that faces onto sliding glass doors with a sweeping balcony beyond. On it, you'll find a fire pit and large day bed directly facing Uluru. As Longitude 131 is north of Uluru, you have the opportunity of watching both sunrise and sunset. You may choose this resort as an optional upgrade over Sails In the Desert.
There is just one way in and out of this distinctive luxury lodge, and that is by air. Set at the mouth of the Berkeley River where it meets the Timor Sea, this is a true wilderness escape, and one that has been reserved exclusively for us. Gaze at the ocean from your deck, or at the night sky from your outdoor shower and bath. Then retreat inside where every creature comfort is catered for.
Set on the iconic Cable Beach, our resort is inspired by the many cultures that call Broome home. Chinese bluestone lions mingle with vermilion torii gates and original art by Sir Sidney Nolan. Our Garden View Studios have wide verandas that look out on to the grounds, bursting with colourful tropical plants.
Business-class private jet journey from Sydney return.
Upgrade to Longitude 131º (Add to base journey fare)
Per person twin share $2,000
Solo supplement available on request.
Prices are in Australian currency.