The Red Centre to the Top End: A Medical Study Tour Via The Ghan: TOUR FULL

28 Jun - 4 Jul 2022
  • 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. Encompassing vast Indigenous heartlands, dramatic landscapes and fascinating history from ancient to pioneer to the modern day, the tour includes a range of professional visits and talks and is supported by the RACGP.

Starting in Alice Springs, visit the dramatic 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. 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 of the work of the National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre. Take a sunset cruise for dinner, visit beautiful Litchfield National Park and see the jumping crocodiles on a cruise along the Adelaide River.


“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 a great activity for everyone and interesting information.” Emma Whalley, participant on the medical study tour From the Red Centre to the Top End, June 2021

This tour is eligible for CPD. Partners are very welcome.

Your tour leader

Picture of JBT tour leader, Dr Matt Young

Dr Matt Young

Dr Matt Young has been a GP for over 25 years. His practice at Medeco Inala won the RACGP Australian General Practice of the Year in 2018 and acts as the home base for his mobile Hep C eradication crusade, the Hep C Kombi project, which he co-founded.

As well as medicine, Matt loves travelling the globe and has visited over 100 countries across all seven continents. He has a deep fascination with foreign cultures and loves immersing himself in their stories. He is most at home rafting rivers, climbing mountains and hiking through jungles.

Having completed an Archaeology Degree (UQ) and History Diploma (UQ), his areas of special interest are Australian WW1 history and ancient civilisations. Matt finds these studies significantly enhance all his intrepid travelling experiences. Matt writes for the AMAQ’s 'Doctor Q' magazine and worked on 4BC as the 'Ocker Doctor' on radio talk back. He loves a yarn, a laugh and writing poetry for fun.

He has been South's Rugby Union club doctor for 17 years and has captained Brisbane’s Ned Flanders Cricket Club for over two decades, leading the team to international victories against national teams on every continent.

Need more information?

  • Tel: (Toll Free) 1-8777-398-764
  • Mon-Fri: 9am-5pm
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Itinerary at a glance

  • Day 1: Alice Springs (Tues, 28 June) Arrive and check into the hotel. Meet with Dr Sam Heard, who will provide background to health care in Alice Springs and how to train GP’s to provide health care to regional and remote communities. Welcome dinner and star gazing at the Earth Sanctuary in the evening.
  • Day 2: Alice Springs (Wed, 29 June) 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 part in 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, 30 June) Visit Purple House, an innovative Indigenous-owned and run health service providing mobile dialysis units and remote clinics. Learn about their operation and 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. 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, 1 July) Visit the pristine wilderness of Katherine and explore it from the water with a cruise along the dramatic Nitmiluk Gorge. Learn about ancient Indigenous rock paintings and gain insight into the culture of the traditional owners of Nitmiluk, the Jawoyn people. 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 in Darwin and transfer to the hotel.
  • Day 5: Darwin (Sat, 2 July) Take a tour with a specialist guide visiting Darwin Botanical Gardens. Follow in the footsteps of pioneers, hear about history including the World War II bombings and Cyclone Tracy through to the current day. 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, architecture, historic buildings and the memorials to squadrons, corps and units that were stationed in Darwin during WWII, including Z-Force. Visit the National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre at the Royal Darwin Hospital or at leisure. Take part in a sunset dinner cruise across Darwin Harbour.
  • Day 6: Darwin (Sun, 3 July) Drive out to Litchfield National Park and explore some of the dramatic sites and falls. Drive to Adelaide River and board a cruise. Hear of the floodplain ecosystem, the history, wildlife and some 40,000 years of human interaction with this stunning environment. Witness the power of the mighty Australian Estuarine (Saltwater) Crocodile as they jump out of the water to feed. Return to Darwin and freshen up at the hotel. Visit the Mindil Markets and enjoy dinner and drinks.
  • Day 7: Darwin (Mon, 4 July) Depart Darwin after breakfast.

Extension to the Tiwi Islands

  • Day 7: Darwin / Tiwi Islands / Darwin (Mon, 4 July) Transfer to the port to take the ferry to Wurrumiyanga in the Tiwi Islands - 'the islands of smiles'. The Tiwi people are internationally renowned for their individual style of art, including carvings and bright textile designs and many Tiwi artists have exhibited around the world. On a tour with a Tiwi guide learn of their community and culture and visit the Patakijiyali Museum and the Mission Precinct. Following a box lunch visit the community clinic and meet with the health worker continue to Tiwi Design to see their wonderful gallery and shop. Take the ferry back to Darwin and arrive early evening. At leisure to enjoy the restaurants and bars of the city.
  • Day 8: Darwin (Tues, 5 July) Depart Darwin after breakfast.

NB: Medical visits are subject to current Covid guidelines.

Tour cost

The ground cost of the tour is $4,980 pp sharing (excluding flights and arrival and departure transfers)