Travelling to Alice Springs
When it comes to exploring Central Australia, a tour of Alice Springs is far and away the best way to explore Australia‘s red centre, being ideally situated as a regional hub around some of the Northern Territory‘s most incredible national parks, as well as being a vibrant cultural centre in its own right, particularly for those interested in exploring Aboriginal culture, and Aboriginal Art. The town itself has a number of galleries and museums visitors can find, with the town‘s central arcade around Todd Mall being where many of the town‘s private galleries and shops are located. Notable among the town‘s galleries is the Araluen Arts Centre, as well as the Albert Namatjira Gallery, collectively Alice Springs’ galleries make it the place with the largest collection of Aboriginal Art in the world. For art enthusiasts travelling a little further afield, you may also consider visiting Hermannsburg, here you can find what was once a Lutheran mission, now home to many of Namatjira’s most famous originals. Alice Springs also has a number of museums which showcase the town‘s unique history in the heart of the Australian outback, among these are the Museum of Central Australia, which showcases the region’s natural heritage, the Royal Flying Doctor Service Museum, the Women’s Museum housed in the town‘s old gaol, and the Old Timers Traeger Museum, which showcases what life was like for early European settlers in Central Australia. Depending on what time of the year you visit, you may also catch some of Alice Springs’ unique events, such as the Henley on Todd Regatta, where locals engage in a mock ‘boat’ race along the dry, sandy riverbed of the Todd river, unsurprisingly, this ‘boat’ race is the only of its kind in the world, being one of Alice Spring’s funniest and most cherished traditions. While not unique to Alice Springs, camel racing is another local event not often found outside the middle east, and is definitely something to see if you have any time on your Alice Springs tour. Also be sure to take a walk up to Anzac Hill during your time in town, which provides a good spot from which to look over above the town.
Perhaps the most iconic image that comes to mind when you think about Alice Springs, or even Australia as a whole, is the ancient landscape of Uluru, otherwise known as Ayers Rock. Located in Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park, about 450km away from Alice Springs, an Uluru tour is perhaps a bit further away than a simple day trip, with the drive taking about 5 hours each way. With this in mind, travelling to Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park is best taken as an experience unto itself, or as part of a multi day tour, with nearby accommodation allowing visitors to watch the iconic Uluru sunset, or sunrise as night and day rolls over, not to mention the incredibly clear night sky. The sheer scale and drama of this ancient landscape is an impressive sight, imbuing the landscape with a sense of the sacred one can visibly see, as well as learn about through its important place in Aboriginal culture. Moving on to the north east of Uluru, another National Park worth visiting is Watarrka National Park, here you can find a number of amazing natural wonders, including the dramatic King’s Canyon with its red stone cliffs, or Kathleen Gorge with its serene waterfall in the heart of the Australian outback. Moving east and you’ll come to Finke Gorge National Park, which is known for its beautiful Palm Valley, the Palm Trees growing here are an anomaly for central Australia, with the next closest trees of its kind located almost 1000km away in Queensland. Despite this, the unique environment with its semi-permanent spring fed pools allow Palm Valley to flourish as an oasis in one of the mot unlikely of places. While near Finke Gorge, this is also a good opportunity to stop by the town of Hermannsburg, where visitors can find some of Aboriginal artist Albert Namatjira’s most famous works. The last two natural attractions are twins of one another, each located about 150km east and west of Alice Springs, ideal for those looking for a day trip into the wilderness, namely the East, and West MacDonnell Ranges. Full of undulating landscapes, replete with gorges, canyons, and springs, the MacDonnell ranges are a great and easy way to have a desert adventure relatively close to the comfort of town, the ranges are a great place for spotting wildlife, camping out, watching the night sky, and then sunrise in the morning, encapsulating the kind of outback adventure that makes a tour of Alice Springs special. One of the best way to experience what Alice Springs, and the Northern Territory has to offer is with a small group tour. Odyssey specializes in this kind of tour, offering an engaged and intimate tour to Alice Springs ideal for seniors, solo travellers, and couples heading to Alice Springs and the Northern Territory.