Alice Springs in the Red Centre
is the second biggest town in the Northern Territory, after the capital, Darwin. The original Alice Spring, the permanent waterhole that became the key terminal for the Overland Telegraph Station in 1870, is still running, but the city that has grown around the well is now the vibrant hub of Central Australia. The restored buildings of the original repeater are preserved in a historic reserve 3 kilometres north of The Alice centre.
The city is the point from which the intrepid strike south for the Simpson Desert and east to the ghost towns of the MacDonnell Ranges, from which the fossickers head north for the gemfields and from which tens of thousands of tourists bus or fly west to Australia’s best-known icon, Uluru
. Known for many years by millions of tourists as Ayers Rock until Aborigines reclaimed The Rock and the timeless name, Uluru is the world's largest monolith and stands 546 metres above the plain in the heart of the largest island continent. The road ringing Uluru gives a magnificent, three-dimensional view of the Rock and an appreciation of its awesome size. Alice’s desert climate supports horticulture and grape industries worth $50 million a year.
It’s a city where visitors not only come to prepare for sorties into the unique bush, but to absorb the singular ambience. The Alice is also a major outlet for Aboriginal art, and contemporary paintings are exhibited in a number of galleries in the city.
- Alice is Wonderland (March), Country Music Festival (May), Finke Desert Race (June), Camel Cup (July), Henley-on-Todd Regatta (August), Corkwood Festival (November),
Things to do
Alice Springs Desert Park - with desert animals and plants displayed in their range of different habitats
Olive Pink Botanic Gardens - an arid zone display of plants
Flynn Memorial Church - in memory of the founder of the Royal Flying Doctor Service
Aboriginal Art and Culture Centre - for Aboriginal art and artifacts
Panorama 'Guth' - a landscape painting of Central Australian landscape in 360 degrees
National Pioneer Women's Hall of Fame
Minerals House - with geological displays
Old Stuart Gaol
Araluen Galleries - with its stained glass window
Anzac Hill - for the best views over the town, particularly good at sunrise and sunset
In the area
Alice Springs Telegraph Station & Homestead - with original equipment and stone buildings
Gemtree - for prospecting for zircons and
Pitchi Ritchi Sanctuary - clay sculpture displays
Frontier Camel Park - rides, reptile house and displays that show the importance of camels and Afghan workers in the area
Emily & Jessies Gap - nature parks
Old Timers' Museum - with exhibits from the 1890s and the Ghan Railway Museum at MacDonnell Siding
Chambers Pillar Historical Reserve - with the 50 metre high rock pillar
Henbury Meteorites Conservation Reserve - where a meteorite hit the earth thousands of years before
Gravesite for John Flynn - he's not buried there but the memorial still stands
Mereenie Loop - linking Alice Springs, Kings Canyon, Uluru, Kata Juta along the West MacDonnell ranges and Glen Helen (permit required for some parts of this track that pass through Aboriginal land.)
Find out more about the Red Centre.