Visiting Australia’s Red Centre, here’s our run down of the best things to do in Alice Springs.
Alice Springs, the one-and-only destination from which to explore the highlights of Australia’s interior desert region, The Red Centre.
Situated in the Northern Territory equidistant from both Adelaide and Darwin you’ll travel through hundreds of miles of outback to reach this desert town. It has become known as a gateway to the Red Centre and is a haven for travellers after a whole host of outback adventures. However, it must be said the town is a destination in its own right. With a complex mix of European and Aboriginal colonial history, a bustling arts scene and rich cultural heritage there is loads to see and do in Alice Springs. So, should you find yourself in this neck of the woods in between tours to Uluru tours from Darwin or on your way to Adelaide here’s what you can do to keep yourself busy.
The Araluen Arts Centre
Notable for its Central and Western Desert peoples artwork including the “dot paintings” synonymous with the Red Centre, Alice Springs is one of the best locations to view and purchase traditional Australian art work. The Araluen Arts Centre is a great example of many traditional art pieces and also features travelling exhibitions, craft displays and live performances.
Todd Mall Market
Todd Mall comes to life on Sunday Market Days, held throughout the year from February to December. Colourful entertainment and street cafes makes for a vibrant affair where stalls offer a selection of art, crafts and local produce. Monthly Night Markets also run from August to November and make for a pleasant atmosphere offering amazing multicultural street food, Indigenous art, handmade clothing and souvenirs.
Olive Pink Botanic Gardens
Specialising in the flora and fauna of Australia’s arid centre the Olive Pink Botanic Gardens were founded in 1956 and opened to the public in 1985. Now home to 600 Australian plants, over 80 species of birds, and plenty of native wildlife including the Black-Footed Rock Wallaby, these gardens are perfect for getting a real feel of the Red Centre’s capabilities to support all matter of life.
The Alice Springs Telegraph Station Historical Reserve
Situated just 4km North of the town centre, take a walk to The Alice Springs Telegraph Station Historical Reserve and immerse yourself in some remarkable history. Established in 1871 to relay messages between Darwin and Adelaide, it also marks the original site of the first European settlement in Alice Springs. Most importantly it is responsible for creating the first real communications between Australia and the rest of the world. A must do for the historian in you!
Alice Springs Reptile Centre
With over 50 different species of reptiles exhibited inside and outside in naturally landscaped surroundings you can get up close to some of Australia’s deadliest creatures! Alongside lethal Taipans, Death Adders, huge Goannas and Frilled-Neck Lizards you can also meet Terry, the Saltwater Crocodile, who is a rescued Rouge croc from Darwin Harbour!
Points of Interest from Alice Springs
While in the area there are of course some major “must see” outback destinations! When travelling to and from Alice Springs consider journeys such as the Red Centre Way, The Explorers Highway and the Larapinta Trail. These routes will enable you to experience some of the many outback highlights of the Red Centre and really understand why the NT is such a culturally important State of Australia:
- Uluru-Kata Tjuta – Millions of years old and dominating the landscape of the Central Australian Desert, these Red Rocks are icons of Australia and its Indigenous history. www.parksaustralia.gov.au/uluru
- Kings Canyon in Watarrka National Park – Between the ancient beauty of Alice Springs and the marvel of Uluru discover the spellbinding scenery of the Australian outback at Kings Canyon.
- West MacDonnell Ranges – An area of aboriginal significance that is home to most spectacular rock scenery of gorges and gaps including: Orche Pits, Serpentine Gorge and Ellery Creek.
- Simpson Desert – who’d have thought that brilliant wildflowers, rare pine trees and unique wildlife could thrive in the deep red sands and rolling dunes of the Simpson Desert? It’s a must see!
- Devils Marbles – The Devils Marbles are huge granite boulders, ranging from 50cm to 6m in diameter and quite literally scattered across a wide, shallow valley. They are of huge importance to the Aboriginal people and are worth a visit if driving past.
See all the highlights of Australia’s Red Centre with Mulgas Adventures tours departing from Alice Springs and Darwin.
by Gemma Glover