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AUD / USD Rate: USD 0.765

Alice Springs & Red Centre

Alice Springs & Surrounds

Australia's most famous outback town, Alice Springs, is a modern township with a rich Aboriginal culture and European explorer history. ‘Alice’, as it’s simply known, hosts a jam-packed calendar of festivals and quirky events, and offers adventure experiences like quad-biking, bushwalking and hot-air balloon and camel rides.

The East and West MacDonnell Ranges stretch out for hundreds of kilometres on both sides of Alice Springs. They are an adventure playground with hiking trails, four-wheel drive tracks, swimming holes and camping spots.

Alice Springs & Surrounds ‘must dos’:

  • visit one of Alice Springs’ many Aboriginal art galleries, where you might meet the artists and purchase their work
  • float over the West MacDonnell Ranges and watch the sunrise from a hot-air balloon
  • take in Alice Springs and the surrounding ranges from the top of Anzac Hill
  • visit the world's largest classroom at the Alice Springs School of the Airdrop in to the Royal Flying Doctor Service, which services an area of more than 7 million square kilometres
  • learn about Alice Springs’ plants, animals and landscapes at the Alice Springs Desert Park
  • go along to one of Alice’s famous and unique festivals and events, like the Camel Cup, the Finke Desert Race or the hilarious Henley-on-Todd Regatta
  • take a day trip or camp overnight in the ‘West Macs’, where you can swim in waterholes, bushwalk through gorges or four-wheel drive over rocky ridges
  • walk a section or the whole 223 kilometres of the Larapinta Trail, named one of the world’s top 20 walks.


Uluru & Surrounds

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, 440 kilometres south-west of Alice Springs, is the spiritual heart of Australia. One of the great natural wonders of the world, Uluru (Ayers Rock) towers above the surrounding desert landscape to a height of 348 metres.

To the west is Kata Tjuta (the Olgas), a collection of 36 rock domes estimated to be 500 million years old. The third natural icon of this area is Kings Canyon, 300km north-east of Uluru in Watarrka National Park with 100 metre-high sandstone walls, walking trails, palm-filled crevices and views across the desert.

Uluru & Surrounds ‘must dos’:

  • walk around Uluru’s 9.4-km base with or without a guide 
  • see it from above in a helicopter or light aeroplane, from atop a camel’s back or on the back of a Harley
  • enjoy a gourmet dinner under the stars against the backdrop of Uluru and Kata Tjuta at the award-winning Sounds of Silence
  • learn about bush tucker, art and Dreamtime stories of this sacred site on an Aboriginal tour or at the cultural centre
  • hike around the rock domes of Kata Tjuta on the Walpa Gorge or Valley of the Winds walks 
  • conquer Kings Canyon’s Rim Walk that takes in magnificent views, the weathered domes of 'The Lost City' and the 'Garden of Eden'.


Red Centre

The ‘Red Centre’ refers to the Northern Territory’s three southern destinations of Tennant Creek and the Barkly region, Alice Springs and the Uluru-Kata Tjuta region. These are the places overseas visitors usually associate with the ‘real Australian outback’ for their landscape of red dirt, blue skies and boundless horizons.

In the Red Centre, visitors can experience world-famous natural icons, Aboriginal art and culture, outback adventure, unique wildlife and colourful characters. The Explorer’s Way and Red Centre Way tourism drives link Red Centre destinations.

There are two airports in the Red Centre: Alice Springs Airport and Ayers Rock Airport, near Uluru. Domestic airlines fly to both from most Australian capital cities. These airports are not serviced by international flights. International visitors can connect via Darwin or other Australian capitals for a flight to Alice Springs or Ayers Rock airports. The Red Centre Way is a popular tourism drive that links many of the Red Centre’s icons. From Alice Springs, visitors can access other Red Centre destinations by hiring a car, joining a tour, or boarding a bus or light aircraft.

Central Australia, which includes Alice Springs, Tennant Creek and Uluru, has a semi-arid climate and Australia’s four typical seasons: summer, autumn, winter and spring. In summer (December–February), temperatures range between 20C (68F) and 35C (95F). In winter (June–August): 3–20C (37–68F). Spring and autumn bring warm days and cool nights. Temperatures can be extreme here; below 0C (32F) overnight in winter, and above 40C (104F) in summer.


Tennant Creek & Barkly

Tennant Creek is a small, friendly township between Alice Springs and Darwin, with a rich history shaped by Aboriginal culture, cattle stations and gold mining—it was the site of Australia's last gold rush in the 1930s.

The vast Barkly Tablelands stretch east of the town and are home to cattle stations the size of small European countries. South of the town are the sacred Devils Marbles, hundreds of giant round boulders, and eastward is the Davenport Range National Park, a 1120-square kilometre nature reserve.

Tennant Creek & Barkly Region ‘must dos’:

  • plan a sunset visit to the Devils Marbles, scattered boulders that glow red in the dying light
  • re-live the gold mining era on an underground tour at the Battery Hill Mining Centre
  • hear the local Warumungu people’s legend of ‘Nyinkka’, the spiky tailed goanna, at the Nyinkka Nyunyu Art and Culture Centre
  • explore the network of permanent waterholes and beautiful outback landscapes on a four-wheel drive through the Davenport Range National Park
  • get a true sense of the outback and capture a real feeling of freedom on a drive through long stretches of uninhabited land in the Barkly Tablelands