Alice Springs – One of Australia’s Most Famous Outback Towns
Are you craving for holiday destinations that can give you a little adventure, a little solitude? Get back to nature and discover the rugged beauty that is Alice Springs, Australia! This remote desert town is the heartbeat of central Australia, and welcomes you with its boundless vistas, charming pioneer history, and proud Aboriginal culture. Alice Springs’ cavernous gorges are a major draw to this fantastic region, and the town serves as a hub for travelers visiting many of Northern Territory’s assets such as Ayers Rock and Kata Tjuta, as well as Kings Canyon. This hardy town embodies the spirit of the Red Centre’s rough outback, and visitors to Alice Springs find themselves rewarded with the most incredible Australian travel experiences.
Located practically in the exact centre of the country, Alice Springs is roughly twelve hundred kilometres from the nearest coast, and fifteen hundred kilometres from any of the closest major cities like Adelaide and Darwin. In fact, this remote town is the midpoint of the Adelaide–Darwin Railway. Towards the south loom the imposing McDonnell Ranges, ushering all transport links to the south through the Heavitree Gap – a narrow gap in the McDonnell Ranges where the railway, highway and Todd River sneak through avoiding any climb over the obstacle. All roads around Alice Springs are flat for the most part, and have a tendency to dodge a lot of the hills – some of which are sacred sites to the local Aboriginal people.
Exciting and One-of-a-Kind Alice Springs Events
Alice Springs may be remote but it still draws quite a crowd, and the town knows how to celebrate throughout the year! Depending on the time of year you might find yourself in Alice Springs, you can enjoy one of many events that take place in this desert town.
Finke Desert Race (June 10th, 2016)
The Alice Springs located Finke Desert Race is Australia’s iconic off road desert vehicle motorsport event featuring motorcycles, 4WD buggies, cars and trucks etc, racing over the Finke river track. Come and enjoy a day of dirt, sand, and fun!
Beanie Festival (Friday June 24th to Monday June 27th, 2016)
This coming June 2016 will mark the twentieth anniversary of Alice Springs’ annual Beanie Festival! This wacky knitting festival features a crazy amount of ‘beanie’ hats, knit from a startling variety of material in every shape and size, all for sale. The festival also includes afternoon teas as well as a variety of displays of art and musical performances.
Alice Show (July 1st and 2nd, 2016)
Alice Springs’ annual traditional festival with entertainment, farming competitions, shopping, fairground rides, animal displays, music, fireworks shows, art and crafts, races and a variety of performances.
Camel Cup (Saturday July 9th, 2016)
The camel race is a fun family event and fundraiser for the Alice Springs Lions Club. Watch the camel races and enjoy the excitement, good food and fun.
Henley On Todd (August 15th to 20th, 2016)
A humorous “boat” race on a dry sandy river bed, Henley on Todd pokes fun at the British tradition of boat racing in late August each year by running Flintstones-style in handmade boats across the dirt and decorating the dry river bed as though it were wet – posting “no fishing signs” and sporting swimwear. It’s a light-hearted event, with food and drinks served and entertainment throughout the day. Henley On Todd is the only boat race to have ever been cancelled due to the fact that there was water in the river!
Alice Masters Games (October 8th to 15th, 2016)
A thrilling sports event for people of all ages, held every other year, with people taking part in over thirty different types of sports categories.
Alice Springs – A Resourceful and Reliable Desert Town
Ever since the beginning of the Alice Springs tourist boom in the early eighties, the town’s population has substantially increased to about 28,000. It is a fun town, and well worth a visit! Given its remoteness, the people that inhabit Alice Springs are remarkable quite ingenious and creative when it comes to making things last, and are also quite resourceful.
Due to the town’s distance from any major city, you might discover that some things can cost more than in the cities – such as imported fruit and vegetables, as well as some clothing. Overall, however, the town isn’t extremely expensive when it comes to getting any of the necessary requirements you might need when planning a trip and staying for any number of days. Alice Springs has several excellent large grocery stores just as good as any you might find in Australia, and a large regional hospital.
Accommodations In Alice Springs – Where to Stay When Visiting This Curious Town?
Something to take into consideration when choosing your accommodations is that hotels in Alice Springs are rated a little differently than hotels in European or American countries – as hotels are rated on their facilities rather than the actual rooms. The reason for that is due to the town’s remoteness, and the distance that Alice Springs is from any other town or city which creates difficulties in getting building materials. The star ratings do reflect the quality of the establishment.
Camel Cottage Alice Springs 1 or 2 Bedroom Apartment
Condo/Apartment /2 Bedrooms, 1 Bathroom, Sleeps 4
Camel Cottage accommodations offers visitors a choice of self-contained one or two bedroom units in a quiet, pretty street in Alice Springs. You’ll have a comfortable queen sized bed, air conditioned rooms, and a large bathroom with shower and bath with a separate toilet and vanity basin. There is a fully equipped kitchen as well as a gas hob, fridge, washing machine, microwave, iron, oven, and toaster. The room offers views over the salt water swimming pool and to the outback beyond. Accommodations include TV with dvd, as well as free Wi-Fi. Enjoy the outdoor seating, and bbq facilities.
Rates from just $140 AUD per night.
You’ll be well away from the Alice Springs traffic noise, allowing you to relax with a drink, or have a swim in the pool and watch kangaroos and birds in the garden. Spend some time in the outdoor hot tub, great for star-gazing on winter nights! Camel Cottage offers guests a separate entrance with parking in a quiet residential area, only five minutes from the downtown core of Alice Springs. Buses also service the Alice Springs centre along Larapinta Drive on a regular basis. Sit back and take in the phenomenal sunsets behind Mount Gillen in the MacDonnell Range every night from the Camel Cottage garden viewing platform!
Squeaky Windmill Boutique Bed and Breakfast
Squeaky Windmill Boutique Tent Bed and Breakfast features a breathtaking view of the Australian outback, which is recommended to be enjoyed from the front deck of a luxury tent as you sip a glass of Australian wine and nibble from a delicious food platter. This is a true “glamping” experience in Alice Springs. The facility currently offers two tents which sleep two people per tent, in either queen-size or single bed set-ups. Just let the proprietor know which beds you need to have set up when you book your stay. Located nearby the famous Larapinta Trail and the Ilparpa Claypans, and a quick cycle away from Simpson’s Gap, Squeaky Windmill is an excellent place to absorb the bountiful splendor of Central Australia.
Old Ambalindum Homestead
Old Ambalindum Homestead is a welcoming, comfortable, and affordable Alice Springs accommodation. Offering visitors an authentic Australian outback experience, Old Ambalindum Homestead features self-catered accommodations, camping opportunities, four-wheel-driving tracks and fossicking tours. It really is the perfect Australian outback getaway for a relaxing couples retreat, or for a family Australian adventure.
Ambalindum Station is an operating cattle station and one of the original properties settled in Central Australia in the early 1900’s. At well over three thousand square kilometers, this station and its immediate surrounds offer visitors some of the absolute most extraordinary scenery the Red Centre Alice Springs region has to offer. The Old Ambalindum Homestead has an array of accommodations available, including the original Old Ambalindum Homestead, the Cottage, the Bunkhouse and a grassy, shaded campground with powered sites. The facilities include a toilet and shower blocks.
Alice Springs Aboriginal History
The Arrernte (pronounced Arrenda) Aboriginal people have lived, hunted, and cared for the land in the Central Australian desert where Alice Springs now stands for greater than fifty thousand years. The indigenous name for Alice Springs is Mparntwe. Three major groups of Aboriginal people make up the indigenous population of this region – Western, Eastern and Central Arrernte people. These populations live in Central Australia, and their traditional land includes the area of Alice Springs as well as East/West MacDonnell Ranges. These indigenous groups are also referred to as Aranda, Arrarnta, Arunta, and several other similar variations of spellings.
Arrernte country is blessed with an abundance of rugged natural beauty. Mountain ranges, water holes, and gorges crop up from the dry desert earth. As a result, the Arrernte people set aside specific conservation areas in which distinct species are protected. According to the Arrernte traditional lore, the land in and around the desert that encompasses Alice Springs was shaped by caterpillars, wild dogs, travelling boys, sisters, euros (a kangaroo like creature) and many other ancestral figures.
Alice Springs is home to many sites of traditional importance in and around the desert town, such as Anth Werke (Emily Gap), Ntaripe (Heavitree Gap), Akeyulerre (Billy Goat Hill), Atnelkentyarliweke (Anzac Hill), and Alhekulyele (Mt. Gillen). Many Arrernte Aboriginal people also make their homes in communities outside of Alice Springs.
Don’t Miss These Alice Springs Region Cultural Attractions
Henbury Meteorites Conservation Reserve, Ernest Giles Road
Tel: +61 (8) 8951 8250
Visit the twelve craters that were formed when a meteor hit the earth’s surface almost five thousand years ago. The Henbury Meteor, weighing several tonnes and accelerating to over 40,000 kilometres per hour, disintegrated before impact and the fragments formed the twelve craters we see near Alice Springs today. Entry to the reserve is free.
Museum of Central Australia
Araluen Cultural Precinct (Corner of Larapinta Drive and Memorial Avenue)
Tel: +61 (8) 8951 1120
The exhibitions display the unique features of the Alice Springs region through time and space, explaining the evolution of the geography and the wildlife that call it home. You will see a replica of a local paleontological dig, an ancient waterhole with some fascinating mega fauna – including a giant freshwater crocodile – as well as the largest bird that ever lived on our planet, Dromornis stirtoni, who lived about eight million years ago. Other museum exhibits feature modern Central Australian mammals, reptiles, insects and fragments of meteorites.
Anzac Oval Reserve, Undoolya Rd, Alice Springs NT 0870, Australia
Totem Theatre opens to the public whenever they are featuring a play. This unique little local theatre is a heritage listed building put up during World War 2 to keep troops entertained, after they retreated from Darwin due to the Japanese bombing. Smaller local Alice Springs and traveling theatre groups put on productions on a semi-regular basis – just ask at Dymocks if there are any performances.
Araluen Arts & Cultural Centre
61 Larapinta Drive, Araluen NT 0870, Australia
Tel: +61 8 8951 1120
This arts centre is also a fantastic local art museum, displaying works by Namatjira and other artists from Alice Springs and environs. Regular scheduled traveling art shows will be featured, as well as plays, and film festivals. Ask at the front desk to find out what events are ongoing – there’s always something happening at Araluen Arts & Cultural Centre.
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