Here’s a list of the 15 best things to do in Alice Springs (Australia), along with famous landmarks, museums, and other points of interest.
Alice Springs is a relatively remote town, located halfway between Darwin and Adelaide in the Northern Territory. It mostly serves as a gateway to exploring Australia’s interior desert region, also known as the Red Centre.
The Arrernte tribe has lived on these lands for at least 30,000 years, and the original name for Alice Springs is Mparntwe. Europeans arrived here as late as 1861 on an expedition led by John Mdouall Stuart.
Today, there are many historic buildings to be seen in the area, such as the Overland Telegraph Station. It’s also a great place to learn more about the Arrernte people and their traditions and culture.
In this article, I’m sharing some of the best places to visit in Alice Springs as well as attractions that shouldn’t be missed while visiting.
Watch the sunset from Anzac Hill
Anzac Hill is one of the first spots you should be visiting when coming to Alice Springs as it offers a fantastic panorama of the city and its surroundings.
The hill is located right in the middle of the city and features the 1934 Anzac Memorial. Sunsets are very impressive on Anzac Hill and many residents of the city regularly come here to enjoy them.
Olive Pink Botanic Gardens
The Olive Pink Botanical Gardens consists of 40 acres of fantastic flora native to this arid region of Australia. What sets the gardens apart from others of its kind is that they are much more natural and less cultivated which gives them a more authentic feel.
The gardens also include the so-called Tharrarltneme (Anne Meyer Hill) which is considered a sacred site for the Arrernte people.
Desert Park, located 10 km west of the city, is a great place to come if you are interested in the flora and fauna of this arid region. There are lovely footpaths found here that lead along the park including its wildlife and many interesting exhibits and information centers.
If you want, you can take part in a guided tour or attend some of the public animal feedings. There is also a nocturnal house here. The Desert Park is a great spot for families.
Alice Springs Golf Club
Alice Springs Golf Club is a world-class venue that hosts several prestigious golf events such as the Alice Springs TIO Open or the Northern Territory Open Golf Championships every year.
The greenery of the golf club with its fully grassed fairways makes it stand out a lot from the dry surroundings of the area. The Alice Springs Golf Club offers 18 holes as well as a driving range and a practice area.
The stunning MacDonnell Ranges add a beautiful backdrop to the scenery of the golf club, which also makes it one of the most beautiful golf courses in Australia.
Araluen Cultural Precinct
Araluen Cultural Precinct is the city’s cultural highlight and offers four fantastic galleries featuring many of Central Australia’s most important artists as well as cultural treasures.
The collections found here are considered one of the most significant for Aboriginal artworks and include the famous works of Albert Namatjira. The Araluen Cultural Precinct also offers a 500 seat theater that hosts numerous events throughout the year.
Wide Open Space Festival
Wide Open Space Festival is one of the most interesting musical events of the year in all of Central Australia and is a great meeting point for open-minded people.
There is an impressive program of music and arts on offer here as well as workshops and a dedicated area for kids. There is also a market found here that offers interesting handmade crafts as well as great food.
The Wide Open Space Festival takes place in the MacDonnell Ranges and pays respect to the Arrernte people.
Camp at Rainbow Valley
The Rainbow Valley is known for its colored rocks and sandstone bluffs which have been formed by millions of years of rain erosion and wind.
Especially during the mornings and evenings, the valley becomes a truly majestic place as the sunshine brings the colors of the rocks alive and is creating marvelous scenery.
Even though the Rainbow Valley is located around 75 km south of Alice Springs coming here is very much worth it and there is also the opportunity to camp here as the site offers dedicated camping facilities including toilets, fire pits, and a picnic area.
Staying overnight in such an impressive area is sure to be one of the highlights of your trip.
Tjoritja West MacDonnell Ranges
Tjoritja West Macdonnell Ranges are a perfect place to explore if you like wilderness and scenic beauty. The ranges stretch for around 160 km west of Alice Springs and offer a fantastic landscape that is perfect for adventurous trips with an AWD vehicle.
You can also go hiking here as there are many marked trails catering to all levels of fitness. It’s one of the best places to visit in Alice Springs for outdoor enthusiasts.
There are also campsites scattered across the area. It’s also important to remember that the Tjoritja West MacDonnell Ranges is considered a holy place by the local Arrernte people.
East MacDonnell Ranges
East MacDonnell Ranges stretch around 150 km east of Alice Springs and are considered one of Central Australia’s most impressive landscapes.
This area features not just fantastic gorges, cliffs, and geological formations but also interesting aboriginal art.
The road leading through the East MacDonnell Ranges is sealed for the first 75 km but if you are keen on exploring further an AWD vehicle is required. You can also join one of the guided tours from Alice Springs.
Astronomy tour at Earth Sanctuary
Central Australia offers thousands of visible stars during the night and a perfect place to discover the beautiful night sky is the Earth Sanctuary 15 km south of Alice Springs.
The facility won several awards for its sustainable practices and offers interesting Astronomy nights that are very interesting for the whole family.
An experienced sky guide will help you discover the most beautiful stars with a telescope and a laser pointer. There are also private tours available that offer a more intimate experience.
Alice Springs Telegraph Station Historical Reserve
Alice Springs Telegraph Station was built in 1871 and is considered the birthplace of Alice Springs’ European settlement and to preserve it, a historical reserve has been established here.
Today the site is a popular tourist attraction and there are daily guided tours running throughout the year. The guides will tell you a lot of interesting stories about how Alice Springs was founded and how the families living here dealt with the harsh surroundings.
The telegraph station is well-preserved and much of the historic equipment has been retained as well.
Alice Springs Brewery
The Alice Springs Brewery is the city’s most popular address for beer-lovers. It has been founded in 2018 and offers various locally produced craft beers.
Only the best quality ingredients are used here. There is also a great restaurant on-site that offers flavorsome food, making the brewery an ideal place to spend an evening. The brewery is located south of the city center in a relaxed area next to the Todd River.
Simpsons Gap is one of the highlights of the West MacDonnell Ranges. The gap is only a few meters wide and is located between two massive rock formations.
This area is home to a large population of black-footed rock wallaby and offers spectacular views. The red hue of the rocks is especially impressive during the evenings or early mornings when the sunlight gives it a special glimmer.
Despite its remote location, the Simpsons Gap is accessible by car and it only takes a few hundred meters to walk from the car park to the gap and its small creek.
Hot Air Balloon Ride with Outback Ballooning
Outback Ballooning offers fantastic balloon rides that allow an incomparable panorama of the city and its majestic MacDonnell Ranges. There is no better way to experience the Australian Outback than from a hot air balloon dozens of meters above the ground.
If you pay close attention you can even spot kangaroos and other wildlife. There are 30-minute and 60-minute rides available depending on your budget. Needless to say, a hot air balloon ride in this stunning area is a dream come true for photographers.
The School of the Air
The School of the Air is a remote-learning institution based in Alice Springs and offers an interesting visitor’s center that can be worth exploring as it features many interesting exhibits as well as insights into how this unique school works.
There are many interesting information points regarding the school’s interesting history. Many of the walls are decorated with colorful paintings, some of which were made by the students themselves.
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