Affectionately known as “The Alice” this is the unofficial capital of Australia’s outback. Alice Springs is a big, friendly city located in the dead centre of Australia.
It is mainly frequented because of it’s proximity to Australia’s favourite rock, Uluru, however it is still 462km from Alice Springs but the journey down can be combined with a visit to Kings Canyon. Alice Springs started life as repeater station on the Overland Telegraph line and named Alice Springs in 1933 after the wife of the South Australian postmaster General Charles Todd. The springs themselves are north east of the town.
Aboriginal Art and Culture Centre
The Southern Arrernte Aboriginal people are the tribal founders of this area and this museum displays their long history. There are also sales of art and aboriginal artifacts here. Todd Street (08 8952 3408).
Alice Springs Desert Park
This park has native desert animals in their natural habitat. There are over 120 species, of mostly small mammals, reptiles and birds. A highlight is the Birds of Prey show. Larapinta Drive (08 8951 8788).
Alice Springs Reptile Centre
If there is one thing common to the Australian outback it’s snakes and lizards, and for a safe close up this is the place to be. You can touch, hold and even feed bugs to the reptiles here. There are at least 30 species on display with some of the deadliest in the world. 9 Stuart Terrace (08 8952 8900).
This gallery has Aboriginal and modern Australian art on display, it is also the performing arts Centre for the city. Cultural Precinct, 2km South of the CBD (08 8951 1122).
Everything you need to know about aviation as well as displays of old aircraft and wreckages. Cultural Precinct.
Chambers Pillar Historical Reserve
Access is by 4WD and it is 165 kilometres south of Alice Springs, but does provide a good chance to see the desert and the red and and yellow sandstone outcrop which was an important landmark for early explorers whose initials are still carved into the rock.
Emily and Jessie Gap Nature Park
A large park with two waterholes about 10km east of Alice Springs.
Ewaninga Rock Carvings
Very old Aboriginal rock carvings 40km south of Alice Springs.
Henbury Meteorite Park
Not really in Alice and 145 kilometres to the south but if you ever wanted to see the damage a meteorite can cause here is the place.
Alice Springs is set amongst the MacDonnell ranges that can be visited as a day trip. A good view is from Anzac Hill. The MacDonnell Ranges run both east and west of Alice Springs. To the west there are a number of places to stop and include Simpson’s Gap. Standley Chasm and the Finke Gorge National Park. To the east is Emily Gap, Trephina Gorge Nature park, Arltunga Historic Reserve, Ruby Gap Nature Park and N’Dhala Gorge.
Museum of Central Australia
Located at Alice Springs Cultural Precinct, this museum has collections of geological displays associated with the outback. Memorial Avenue (08 8951 1120).
National Road Transport Hall of Fame
A museum dedicated to road transport. Alice Springs is the birthplace of the road train which is a multi trailer truck developed by Kurt Johannsen to move freight up the Stuart Highway after World War 11. Next to the Old Ghan Museum.
Old Ghan Museum & Heritage Railway
The Old Ghan museum has as the highlight a trip on an old Ghan locomotive along 30km of the original Ghan line to Ewaninga siding. In Ewaninga there is an old restored cottage. The train only runs on Sundays. MacDonnell Siding, Norris Bell Avenue, Alice Springs.
Royal Flying Doctor Service
Alice Springs is a major base for the RFDS and regular tours are run and a highlight is the recorded conversations between patients and doctors. 8-10 Stuart Terrace (08 8952 1129).
School of the Air
Sit in on radio classes given to children in Outback stations and covers an area of 1.3 million square kms. 80 Head Street (08 8951 6834).
Simpson Gap National Park
Close to Alice Springs where you will find waterholes, red river gums and black footed wallabies.
Telegraph Station Historical Reserve
This is a true oasis in the harsh, brown, arid outback. Set around a water hole, there are lush lawns and gardens to meander through at your leisure. There are displays of historical bush telegraph equipment, blacksmith displays, original bush tucker cooking, camels, hiking trails, gift shop and cafe. The first telegraph message was sent from here to Adelaide in January 1872. There is plenty to do and see here, the reserve is located 4km from the city. Stuart Highway (08 8952 3993).
Territory Craft Gallery
Not only can you view the displays of local arts and crafts but you can make purchases as well. Cultural Precinct.