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Travel and vacation in Alice Springs, Australia
Here you will find general travel information, guides, “good to know” and facts as well as travel deals. See current weather, forecasts and exchange rates.

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About Alice Springs

The city

Alice Springs, the unofficial but undisputed capital of the Australia’s vast outback, has a population of less than 30,000 people, but is one of the largest communities in Australia’s Northern Territory.

Alice Springs is nestled in the MacDonnell Ranges in Central Australia. Roughly equidistant between Adelaide and Darwin, it lies almost at the geographical centre of Australia, approximately 1500 kilometres from any major Australian city in any direction.

Founded in the 1860s, this community is a gateway community to the outdoor adventures that rustic Australia offers in abundance. This unique town is rich in history and natural features, and is the perfect base from which to explore Australia’s Red Centre which includes world famous features such as Uluru (Ayers Rock), Kata Tjuta, Kings Canyon and the MacDonnell Ranges.

Discover Alice Springs

The focal point of Alice Springs is called Todd Mall. Here you will find several art galleries that feature Aboriginal pieces. The original name for the area in the Aboriginal language is “Mparntwe,” with three major tribes originally coming together to occupy the area for generations.

A variety of historic buildings can be found in the centre of Alice Springs, including the original hospital in Adelaide House, the John Flynn Museum and Church, the Old Courthouse, the Residence and the Stuart Town Gaol. The original Telegraph Station is located in a reserve a short distance outside Alice Springs to the north. On the eastern side side of the normally dry Todd River, which runs through the centre of town, is the Olive Pink Botanic Garden, an arid zone botanical garden located right in the heart of town.

Information about the Arrernte people of Alice Springs can be found at the Strehlow Research Centre, where many fascinating artifacts are displayed. The Araluen Arts Centre maintains a large collection of paintings by Aboriginal artists from the Alice Springs area, including renowned the watercolour painter Albert Namatjira.

Todd Mall is where the city’s numerous festivals are held. The desert lifestyle is often featured in the festivals, such as the Henly-on-Todd Regatta, which is a “boat race” that is held on the sand. Other festivals involve racing events as well, including the Camel Cup.

Out of Alice

Outside of Alice Springs, you’ll find numerous opportunities to explore. Watarrka National Park, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, and the MacDonnell Ranges are all close to the town. Hiking, cycling, climbing, and canyon exploration are available. Uluru is one of the most famous natural wonders that Australia offers, with ancient Aboriginal art on the large rock that is protected as a world heritage site.

Alice Springs may be small, but it serves as a gateway to the larger opportunities to explore beyond its borders. Come for the amazing Aboriginal art, stay for the outdoor adventures, and unlock the grandeur of Australia.

Arrive and stay – backpack or luxurious

Alice Springs is well serviced with accommodation suited to all tastes and budgets, from backpacker hostels to luxury hotels, and has several good restaurants. Alice Springs is easily accessible by air or bus from all Australian capital cities. To travel in style to Alice Springs, consider the luxurious Ghan train which departs from Darwin, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. Cars can be carried on the Ghan so that your own transport is available when you arrive in Alice Springs.

Best time to visit Alice Springs

Alice Springs is located in a predominantly dry region, with glorious cloudless blue skies from April to September. Rainfall is unreliable and intermittent, but can normally be expected during the warmer summer months from October to March. During summer, temperatures of 40 degrees C (104-108 F) are common, while in winter (June to August) overnight temperatures often fall below freezing point. Winter days are typically bright and sunny, making this the most popular time of year for visitors.

Where is Alice Springs ?

If you’re looking for a holiday in central Australia, you won’t get much more central than Alice Springs. This charming Northern Territory town is a popular stop on the backpacker trail as well as a well-defined tourist destination in its own right.
Located in the south of the territory, it offers visitors a golden opportunity to find out all there is to know about Australia, from its rural retreats to its urban centres. Alice Springs has a rich heritage which it’s rightly proud of, and there are plenty of locations which give you a chance to discover more about it


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Hotel and apartment in Alice Springs

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The town has developed well over the decades, and as such it boasts a great deal of hostels, hotels, guesthouses and caravan parks. Alice Springs accommodation includes several popular hotels in and around Gap Road, close to the main Stuart Highway.

Needless to say, there are many hotels and guesthouses away from the town itself, so if you prefer a more rural location take a drive out of Alice on either the Ross Highway or the Red Centre Way. The tourist infrastructure in Alice is strong, so it offers plenty of choice to the visitor

Tourist information, Alice Springs

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See and do in Alice Springs

Se our recommendations on what to do and see in the city

To the uninitiated, Alice Springs is close to Uluru. The truth is that it’s not, but the drive from the town to this jaw-dropping sight is well worth the effort. Using the main highways, it’s a 4.5-hour drive, but there’s always something to see along the way so the trip is an enjoyable one. If you’re in the mood for adventure, you could hire a 4×4 and make the journey via some of the more rugged outback roads instead.

As well as visiting Uluru itself, you will want to see more of the fascinating countryside around it. One way to ensure your voyage of discovery remains in the memory for a lifetime is by taking a ride across the dunes on a camel. As well as giving you a slow, fascinating trip, it can be great fun to join a group of like-minded travellers and take a ride on one of these magnificent beasts. Be sure to bring a camera with you, because many of the sights are simply incredible.

Eating in the open air is always a pleasure in Australia, especially when you have the majesty of Uluru in the background. Whether you’re in the mood for a fine dining experience under the stars or you simply want to barbecue a juicy steak, this is culinary pleasure of the highest form. Settle back on a seat and gaze in wonder at the horizon, and be sure to savour the view because you’re unlikely to ever see such a majestic vista again.

You will find plenty of opportunities to savour some retail therapy in Alice Springs, from individual family-run stores to major names which are known across the world. If you’re keen to discover more about the local arts and crafts scene you should check out the Todd Mall Markets which are held on a regular basis throughout the year. You’ll also find plenty of home-produced food and drink items, so be prepared to try out a few samples.

European settlers used Alice Springs as a relay station in the 19th century, and visitors can find out more about this at the fascinating Telegraph Station Historical Reserve. Located on the South Stuart Highway, this attraction is open to the public throughout the year, and it provides an insight into the early days of mass communication. Even if you have only a passing interest in Australian history, it should be on your itinerary.

The people of Alice Springs love their sport, whether it involves propelling a golf ball from tee to green or getting from A to B via the town’s many cycle paths. For an afternoon of excitement and spectacle, be sure to visit the local racecourse during your stay. The Alice Springs Turf Club is only seven kilometres away from the town centre, and it plays host to a number of exceptionally popular meetings during the year.

Recommended in Alice Springs

Alice Springs

Eat and drink in Alice Springs

The city has a great range of top quality restaurants that offer all kinds of international food. There are also numerous attractive cafes and bars. If you have knowledge of good places which is not listed, you can send the information on e-mail.

Shopping in Alice Springs

The city has a great range of shops. The most popular shopping areas are in the city centres main street. The smaller streets have more unique shops and indoor markets. If you have knowledge of shopping ideas which is not listed, you can send the information on e-mail.

Shopping ideas

Alice Springs

Events in Alice Springs

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Alice Springs

Culture & sport in Alice Springs

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+ Information about Alice Springs and Australia

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Uluru (Ayers Rock)

Ayers Rock stands as a challenge to those that view it – its imposing, and it challenges all with questions. What is this chunk of rock doing here? Is it of terrestrial origin? What is it made of? The huge prospect of the mass of rock confounds logic, much like the rock-face in the Hollywood movie Mission to Mars that raised a thousand questions.

It not without justification for the local aborigines, who call this rock Uluru, probably a family name, is worshipped as a sacred place. Like Benares or Parthenon, it is a place or worship to some, and a venue of tourist wonderment for others.

Situated in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, it is virtually in the middle of nowhere, but it draws tourists year round from throughout Australia and the world. Temperatures during summer months can be uncomfortable, and it is always advisable to wear clothes in accordance with weather.

At a height of around 350 meters above ground, it is 8 kilometers around. Mistakenly called a monolith, it is part of a much larger underground structure which includes nearby mountains like Mount Connor and the Kata Tjuta, or Mount Olga. Largely a limestone structure, it affords varied surfaces, from long clefts on the surface, perforations and smooth façade.

Discovered in 1872 by explorer Ernest Giles, he described it as the ‘remarkable pebble’, an apt name for the smooth megalith named Ayers Rock after the Chief Secretary of South Australia, Sir Henry Ayers. The rock is famous for changing colors. Not only does it seem to change color from season to season, but even during the day as it captures sunlight from differing angles. The surface feldspar reflects a red light during sunsets and sunrise. A rare rainfall brings out a rush of black algae on its surface, giving it a silver-grey color.

The whole area including and around Ayers Rock is filled with cultural and spiritual artifacts of the local aborigines. The rock is said to house dozens of ancestral ‘beings’ whose abodes are decorated with venerated artwork. The rock forms part of a religious myth that tries to explain the birth of time. It is not surprising, therefore, that many of the aborigines are offended at the tourist intrusion of their ancient land which is held sacred by them.

While climbing Ayers Rock remains a favorite pastime of many sturdy tourists, the aborigines dissuade climbers, in essence. The Cultural Center located in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is a veritable treasure trove of local culture and artifacts and is a center of education on the local culture. The photo collages, history panels, sound samples, interactive audio-visual productions and live interaction with the Ananga people brings about a great understanding of what Uluru has come to mean for them.
However climbing the Ayers Rock is considered a ‘done’ thing by most tourists, much like taking a snorkel dive in the Great Barrier Reef. But tackling the Rock can be a bit of a challenge to all but the fit trekkers. There are many routes that one can take depending upon how comfortable you are with each. It is generally advised that starting trekkers should take the easier routes lined with railings and notices. You can also go with local guides who take you through easier routes providing you with running commentary on significant places. Many people like traveling in groups which is, in fact, a safer option. Of course, it is mandatory that you are properly dressed, have the requisite gear and take lots of water.

Ayers Rock has fascinated people for as slong as we can remember. It has been a venue of religious veneration and mystique, and now it is an object of public fascination. A symbol of the elemental Australia, Ayers Rock is a must see for all who visit the Northern Territory in this part of the world.

Alice Spring – A little about history

The history of Alice Springs began in 1871 with the construction of a telegraph repeater station, one of several such stations built between Adelaide and Darwin as part of the historic Overland Telegraph. Originally known as Stuart, this name was never really popular and in 1933 the town’s name was officially changed to Alice Springs. Development was initially slow, with the original dirt road to Adelaide not being replaced until 1987. Until then, travellers including train travellers on the historic Ghan railway followed the same route north as that followed by early Scottish explorer John MacDouall Stuart, north from Port Augusta in South Australia to Alice Springs via the outback towns of Oodnadatta and Finke. Today, the Stuart Highway which runs from Adelaide to Darwin is a first class highway suitable for any vehicle.

Development in Alice Springs accelerated greatly in the 1980’s, and the town today is a modern, moderate sized municipality with a wealth of resources and facilities compared to similar sized Australian towns. The Ghan Railway played a significant role in the town’s development, first arriving in 1929. The railway line was recently extended north to Darwin, with the resulting route across the centre of the Australian continent from Adelaide to Darwin now representing one of the world’s great train journeys.

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