Alice Springs and the Red Centre

Alice Springs and the Red Centre

Alice Spring flights

Alice Springs is far more than the gateway to the Red Centre – it’s a big, sprawling town that some say represents quintessential outback Australia, but at the same time surprises with its diverse make-up of local Indigenous Australians, travellers and ‘desert changers’ from the southern and eastern states. Unique experiences that characterise idiosyncratic Alice include desert horse riding, camel riding, quad biking and hot air ballooning. It’s also the place to start out for Uluru, the Olgas and the Devil’s Marbles as well as the West MacDonnell Ranges. Afterwards, head up north to discover Darwin and the Top End.

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The arid desert environment means that even when it gets hot in Alice Springs (which it does in summer) the dry air and cool nights help keep things tolerable. Winter (June to August) averages are a warm 20°–25°C. In summer (December to February) it’s consistently 30°–35°C. Autumn is the perfect season to visit because the days are consistently warm and the nights are cool. Spring is the most volatile season with big temperature changes, thunderstorms and dust storms – it’s also wildflower season with the best time to see them late September, early October.

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Explore Alice Springs & the Red Centre

The magnificent Western MacDonnell Ranges forms a natural city wall on the south-west side of Mparntwe (the Arrernte name for Alice Springs) with the bottom tip of the diamond-shape town slotting in to Heavitree Gap, the granite cleft in the ranges.

The Stuart Highway cuts through town on the way to Darwin and the partly pedestrianized Todd Street Mall forms the main drag while the dry (except in times of heavy rain) Todd River runs parallel to the mall. A compact town, a taxi trip within the city boundaries won’t take any longer than 10 minutes.

To the west, you’ll find the Larapinta Trail - a popular 223km trail which extends from the old telegraph station in Alice and extends through the MacDonnell Ranges.

Uluru

Australia’s most iconic image - the monolithic sandstone formerly known as Ayers Rock – is the ultimate Australian pilgrimage. Camels, motorbikes, motorhomes and travellers of all nationalities teem around this sacred aboriginal site of the Anangu,people. Yawning red desert stretches out around it, which quickly turns pink and blue with the blooming of the wildflower season. To the east, you’ll find Fink Gorge, including the ancient Palm Valley.

Alice Springs

The magnificent Western MacDonnell Ranges forms a natural city wall on the south-west side of Mparntwe (the Arrernte name for Alice Springs) with the bottom tip of the diamond-shape town slotting in to Heavitree Gap, the granite cleft in the ranges.

Things to do in Alice Springs and surrounds

Visitors to Alice are inevitably on the way to the famous sights of the Northern Territory and have heard about quirky calendar events such as the world’s only dry-river boat race Henley-On-Todd Regatta and the equally colourful Camel Cup. But there is plenty more to do within this small and singular city.

  • Visit the School of the Air to get a taste of a virtual classroom that spans 1.3 million square kilometres
  • Walk all or part of the breathtaking Larapinta Trail through the MacDonnell Ranges
  • Wander Old Pioneer Cemetery to see the graves of Lasseter, Albert Namatjira and Olive Pink
  • Visit the Royal Flying Doctors Service base
  • Climb Anzac Hill at sunrise or sunset for a dramatic view of the town and the ranges
  • Share a mixed grill of emu, camel, crocodile, buffalo and kangaroo at the Overlanders Steakhouse
  • Explore the Araluen Arts Precinct, particularly during the Desert Mob Art Show in September
  • Visit the evocative and historic Overland Telegraph Station and surrounding parklands
  • Visit Lasseter’s Casino, the final destination in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

Bestselling tours in the Red Centre at qantas.com right now

  1. Uluru (Ayers Rock) and The Olgas Tour Including Sunset Dinner from Alice Springs
  2. Alice Springs Highlights Half-Day Tour
  3. 4-Day 4WD Camping Tour: Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon
  4. 3-Day Best of Australia's Red Center: Ayers Rock, Kata Tjuta and Sounds of Silence Dinner
  5. 3-Day 4WD Tour from Alice Springs: Kings Canyon, Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta
  6. Overnight Uluru (Ayers Rock) Small-Group Camping Tour

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Getting to and around Alice Springs

Central Alice Springs is small enough to explore on foot. Bus and taxi services are also available, and it’s wise to use taxis at night for safety reasons. If you’re visiting the national parks, Uluru and Kata Tjuta, you’ll need to hire a car, or take a guided tour.

At the heart of Arrernte country, Alice is also the place to start from to explore the extraordinary desert icons Uluru (Ayers Rock), Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) and Karlu Karlu (Devils Marbles) to the north; Watarrka National Park (Kings Canyon) to the south-west and the West MacDonnell Ranges to the east.

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Other great destinations offered by Qantas...

Darwin

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Broome

Tropical, laid-back and spectacularly beautiful, Broome is synonymous with pearls, turquoise seas and brilliant sunsets. Find out more about Broome.

Cairns and Port Douglas

If your idea of a holiday is a lush tropical retreat beside a crystal clear ocean fringed with palm trees with the option of afternoon reef snorkelling to keep things interesting; it’s time to book your flight to Cairns.

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See the Red Centre from the road - Uluru, the Olgas and West MacDonnell Ranges await. Qantas Frequent Flyers can earn 3 Qantas Points^ per A$1 spent on the Base Rate within Australia

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