Alice Springs is the centre of your outback adventure. From here you can explore historic sites, visit aboriginal art galleries, and experience unique cultural events.
Alice Springs is about 3 hours plane flight from Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Darwin and Cairns. It is 460 kms (291 mi) by road from Alice Springs to Uluru Ayers Rock. Allow about 6 hours for the drive. Flights from Alice Springs to Uluru Ayers Rock take about 20 minutes.
Alice Springs is known as Mparntwe to the local Arrente Aboriginal People. The Pine Gap US/Australian Satellite tracking and monitoring base is to the west of the town. The Alice Springs Desert Park gives a good look at the ecology of the Red Centre. The Old Telegraph Station and the School of the Air are also worth a visit.
Things to do around Alice Springs
- See the Native Australian wildlife at Alice Springs Desert Park
- Go Hot Air Ballooning in the red centre
- Follow the local Alice desert art trail
- Check out rock art at Emily gap
- Walk the Larapinta Trail
- Swim at Simpsons Gap
History of Alice Springs
The native Aboriginal People have lived in the area for many thousands of years. It is a tribute to their ability to survive sustainably in a harsh environment. John McDouall Stuart was the first European to visit while making the first crossing of Australia from south to north in 1861. To link Australia to Great Britain and the outside world, the Overland Telegraph was set up in 1871, with Alice Springs as the repeater station for Central Australia.Gold fever drove growth during the late 1880’s after the discovery at Altunga 100 kms (62 mi) to the east. Alice Springs declined through the early 1900’s to be revived by the opening of the Rail link to Adelaide. There was a gold fueled growth spurt again in 1932. In 2004 the rail line was completed joining Darwin to Alice Springs. Today, Travel Destination Alice Springs is a regional hub and tourism destination.
The Todd River runs through the centre of Alice Springs, but it is dry most of the time. The MacDonnell Ranges are to the west of the town, and the Simpson Desert is to the southeast. The camels that you will see as part of the lore of Alice are not native, though some 70,000 are reported to roaming wild in the Red Centre. They were introduced by Afghan workers brought to Australia to assist with opening up the deserts and building the Overland Telegraph in the 1800’s.After the job, the Afghans were sent home. The camels were set loose. The Ghan Train through the Red Centre is named after these early workers. The Larapinta Trail is considered one of the great walks of the world. It winds 223 kms (139 mi) through the MacDonnell Ranges. It should only be attempted by serious hikers after taking suitable precautions for survival in the desert environment.
Expect the same weather as Uluru Ayers Rock at Alice Springs.
Map of Alice Springs
Zoom in and out for an interactive map of Alice Springs