From the Red Centre to the Top End - Culture and History of Medicine via the Ghan

26 Sep - 2 Oct 2023
  • Medical & Professional Tours

About the tour

From the Red Centre to the Top End, this tour encompasses Australia at its most remote, historic and starkly beautiful. Experience vast Indigenous heartlands, dramatic landscapes and fascinating history from ancient to pioneer to the modern day.

Starting in Alice Springs, visit the striking MacDonnell Ranges, go stargazing at pristine night skies at the Earth Sanctuary, explore the historic town and learn about the work of the Royal Flying Doctor Service and outback medicine, meet a local GP and visit Purple House. Board the Ghan for a magnificent 24-hour journey – a top bucket list experience. In Katherine, explore unspoiled wilderness on a cruise along Nitmiluk Gorge and learn about Indigenous culture. Arrive in Darwin and explore the city through guided visits and learn of its history. Visit the Botanical Gardens and learn about the dramatic history of Darwin with a medical focus. Take a sunset cruise for dinner, visit beautiful Litchfield National Park and learn about traditional Indigenous healing.

“The tour ran like clockwork. …the local guides were excellent. It was one of the best run tours I have been on. The highlight of this trip definitely was our night on The Ghan. What a spectacular way to see the NT. The trip had a great mix of medical visits, local sites and scenery. Every moment of the tour was filled with great activity and interesting information.” Emma Whalley, From the Red Centre to the Top End, June 2021

Your tour leader

Picture of JBT tour leader, ​ Lindy Moffat

​ Lindy Moffat

Lindy Moffat is a major events specialist who has travelled extensively - including living on an Israeli kibbutz and in the UK. She spent many years at the Australian Football League producing Brownlow Medal functions, Grand Final entertainment and managing overseas tours. She then established the Landcare Foundation a government/corporate environmental body before accepting the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons invitation to establish their Conferences and Events Department. Lindy then spent over 20 years travelling Australia and internationally organising educational events for surgical societies with the largest event being the Annual Scientific Congress attracting around 3,000 surgeons encompassing all surgical specialties. It is the major annual continuing professional development activity for Australasian surgeons. Lindy is a passionate history, art and sports lover and if you sneak a look in her bag you will always find a few history books and usually a tennis biography or two. And always some chocolate… for just in case.

Need more information?

  • Tel: (Toll Free) 1-8777-398-764
  • Mon-Fri: 9am-5pm
Contact us

Itinerary at a glance

  • Day 1: Alice Springs (Tues, 26 September) Arrive and check into the hotel (transfers not included). Enjoy a welcome dinner and star gazing at the Earth Sanctuary, which is run by Danny Falzon and his brothers, who are also paramedics. Danny will give a talk on their paramedic work in Alice Springs. After dinner, learn about local ecology, astronomy and culture and enjoy the spectacular night skies with a fully guided astronomy experience with telescope viewing at Earth Sanctuary's space observatory.
  • Day 2: Alice Springs (Wed, 27 September) Drive out to the MacDonnell Ranges. Stop off at Simpsons Gap and take part in a guided walk learning of the geology of the region. Continue to Standley Chasm and take a relaxed walk to the Chasm. Enjoy morning tea on the café veranda. Continue to the ochre pits and hear about the local Indigenous groups and the ochre trade. Enjoy a buffet lunch before walking to Ormiston Gorge with the option of a quick dip. Drive to Ellery Creek Waterhole. Arrive back in Alice Springs in time to enjoy a spectacular outback sunset from Anzac Hill.
  • Day 3: The Ghan / Alice Springs (Thurs, 28 September) Visit Purple House, an innovative Indigenous-owned and run health service providing mobile dialysis units and remote clinics. Learn about their operation and about bush medicine. Visit the Royal Flying Doctor Service and learn of their history and the provision of medical care to outback Australia. Visit the Alice Telegraph Station and the School of the Air. Transfer to the train for evening departure. Board the Ghan and transfer to your compartment. Enjoy modern Australian cuisine with regional fine wines onboard. Socialise with your fellow traveller before retiring to your comfortable private cabin for the night.
  • Day 4:The Ghan / Darwin (Fri, 29 September) Enjoy the pristine wilderness of Katherine from the water with a cruise along dramatic Nitmiluk Gorge. Learn of the ancient Indigenous rock paintings and gain insight into the culture of the traditional owners of Nitmiluk, the Jawoyn people. Reboard the Ghan. Have lunch onboard. Take part in a private meeting as the train makes its way through lush, green tropics to arrive at the terminal in Darwin in the early evening. Arrive Darwin and transfer to the hotel.
  • Day 5: Darwin 2 (Sat, 30 September) Take a tour with a specialist guide visiting Darwin Botanical Gardens. Explore the history of Darwin with an emphasis on medical themes including the World War II bombings, Cyclone Tracy and the Bali bombings and evacuation. See many of the surviving buildings such as the old Court House and the police station and the old Palmerston Town Hall ruins. See hidden treasures including public artwork and the memorials to squadrons, corps and units that were stationed in Darwin during WWII, including Z-Force. Afternoon at leisure before a sunset dinner cruise on Darwin Harbour.
  • Day 6: Darwin (Sun, 1 October) Onto Litchfield National Park and explore some of its dramatic sites, including the magnetic termite mounds, Wangi Falls and Florence Falls, where you can take a dip. Return to Darwin and the hotel to freshen up before dinner. Visit Mindil Markets for sunset dinner and drinks.
  • Day 7: Darwin (Mon, 2 October) Depart Darwin after breakfast.

Tour cost

The cost of the tour is AUD $5,580 per person sharing. The cost of the tour with a room to yourself is AUD $5,990.

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