One of the main reasons I traveled to Australia in early 2019 was to experience the outback. I knew I wasn’t going to head out into the outback alone, so when I came across the Australian tour company Groovy Grape Tours, I was excited.
However, as someone who can be financially stingy, I was hesitant to go on the Rock 2 Water journey with Groovy Grape Tours. I knew that this tour would take me to Uluru and King’s Canyon in Australia’s red centre where I would sleep in the outback under the stars. I even knew that I’d have the opportunity to visit Coober Pedy, the opal capital of the world, and pet some kangaroos.
But would this 6 day, 5 night outback tour with a price tag of A$895 be worth it?
Let me give you a hint…it was totally worth it! Full review of Groovy Grape Tours and my experience on the Rock 2 Water tour below.
Groovy Grape Tours Review
Groovy Grape Tours has two red centre tour packages to choose from: Rock 2 Water and Rock Patrol. These two Australian outback tours are essentially the same except Rock Patrol ends in Adelaide whereas Rock 2 Water finishes there. In other words, the itineraries are reversed. The only real difference in the itinerary is that you camp two nights at Uluru on Rock Patrol and for the Rock 2 Water, you camp once at Uluru and spend the other night bush camping.
I chose to join the Rock 2 Water tour thanks to a cheap, sub $100 flight from Sydney to Ayers Rock Airport in Uluru. Although you have the option of starting the Rock 2 Water tour in either Alice Springs or Uluru, if you start in Uluru you never see Alice Springs.
I didn’t want to fly into Alice Springs because flights were three or four times more expensive. That being said, not much happens on the tour between Alice Springs and Uluru except for a six hour drive, so you aren’t really missing much.
Regardless of wether you choose Rock 2 Water or Rock Patrol, I can guarantee that you’ll have a fantastic time. I certainly did.
Groovy Grape Tours Cost Breakdown
The price of these Groovy Grape Tours are spot on. Like I said, I wasn’t sure if the tour was reasonably priced, but after breaking down the cost of the tour, I can tell you that its a good deal.
Everything is included—accommodating, meals, transportation, and activities. You definitely won’t go hungry, and you’ll have comfortable accommodation each night. If you don’t purchase alcohol or souvenirs along the way, all you’ll pay is the cost of the tour. I really liked that.
All in all, you get 5 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 5 dinners, and 5 nights shared accommodation. At a price of A$895 for the tour, that’s under A$150 per day.
- 5 breakfasts at A$10 each = A$50
- 6 lunches at A$15 each = A$90
- 5 dinners at A$20 each = A$100
- 5 nights accommodation averaging A$30 = A$150
- Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park entrance fee = A$25
- Opal Mine and Museum guided tour = A$12
- Over 2,500 kilometers of transportation = A$300
- Estimated total: A$727
While it’s only an estimate, the raw cost breakdown is right in line with the actual cost that you pay for the Australia outback tour. The small price difference is justifiable considering the wealth of knowledge that your tour guide gives you along the way. In addition, the memories you’ll walk away with are priceless.
Outback Tour Itinerary
Here’s a brief overview of what to expect on the Groovy Grape Rock 2 Water tour.
Day 1 – Uluru/Ayers Rock
Some will begin the tour in Alice Springs while others will be picked up in Uluru. The focus of today is the big red monolith known as Uluru. You’ll take short walk along the base of the red rock during the day and watch the sunset over Uluru in the evening. Tonight, you spend the night sleeping in a swag under the stars.
Day 2 – Valley of the Winds in Kata Tjuta
They don’t call it the Valley of the Winds for nothing. During the second day, you’ll hike around 3.5 hours in Kata Tjuta through the Valley of the Winds. Just like the previous night, you get to swag under the stars in the outback.
Day 3 – Kings Canyon at Watarrka National Park
One of my favorite stops on the tour was Kings Canyon, probably because of the variety of the landscape. During the 4 hour Canyon Rim Walk, you’ll see red rocks (of course), sprawling panoramic views of the outback, and the spectacular Garden of Eden.
Day 4 – Coober Pedy Opals
The fourth day is a busy one as we drive into the opal capital of the world—Coober Pedy. After learning the history of Coober Pedy and opals at the Opal Mine and Museum, you’ll have the opportunity to sift for your own opals. Next up is Josephine’s Kangaroo Orphanage where you get to pet and feed rescued kangaroos and baby joeys. Finally, your accommodation is underground tonight just like 70% to 80% of the Coober Pedy homes.
Day 5 – Flinders Ranges
After a quick stop at the Pimba salt lakes, the tour breaks for lunch on its way to the Flinders Ranges foothills. The fifth day has a good amount of diving, but it’s worth it because the destination is Wilmington where you’ll have the option to sleep in your swag or in a bunkbed accommodation.
Day 6 – Adelaide
The last day on the tour begins with a morning walk through Alligator Gorge where you’ll be sure to see a wild kangaroo or wallaby. One final lunch together with the tour group before making the final dive to Adelaide.
Looking for more things to do in Australia? Check out some of my other Australia blog posts for more Australia travel inspiration.