Alice Springs is set in central Australia’s outback heartland, a hub for visitors to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park with its magnificent Uluru/Ayers Rock and Kata Tjuta rock domes. Surrounded by deep gorges, remote desert landscapes dotted with Aboriginal communities and the mysterious, endless outback, the town of Alice Springs is 1,500kms from the two major cities of Adelaide and Darwin.
Alice Springs is well-set up for tourism, with hotels, restaurants, car hire and tour offices offering the five-hour trip to Uluru and the national park. Getting here is straightforward by air from all Australia’s major cities, and the airport offers an air shuttle service to Uluru. For an overview of Australia’s vast interior, there’s a private tourist train – The Ghan – that runs between Darwin and Adelaide which stops at Alice Springs and can transport hired cars as well.
The town is set within the largest area without light in the world, with stargazers able to stare in awe at the galaxies every night during their stay. Places of interest include Alice Springs Desert Park with its local flora and fauna, including camels, as well as talks on traditional Aboriginal peoples’ use of plants for food and medicines. Adelaide House, the Old Timers’ Museum and the Residency are fascinating for their glimpse into outback history, and the Aviation Museum displays old aircraft used by the Flying Doctor service.
A good choice of hotels, bed and breakfasts and hostels is found in town, with options catering for all tastes and wallets. Varying between resort standard and motel and friendly home-from-homes, each accommodation has its own charms and typical Aussie welcome. Live music bars, pubs serving pub grub, beer halls and clubs complement a choice of everything from fast food through steakhouses and Thai or Indian food to fine dining in resort restaurants.