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Northern Territory guide
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Last updated : Nov 2009
Northern Territory Sightseeing
Northern Territory Sightseeing Guide - TravelPuppy.com
The red centre

Alice Springs
is situated in what is almost the geographical centre of the continent. A pleasant little town, set in red desert country, it is a popular tourist resort and a base for exploring the wonders of the Outback. There are many brilliant hotels and motels, a casino, a variety of restaurants and varied sporting facilities ranging from golf and tennis to hot air ballooning and tandem parachuting.

The Royal Flying Doctor Base
is open each day to the public (excluding public holidays) and the School of the Air is operational during the school term. There are also museums and preserved buildings which help visitors to value the history of this remote town. Not least among these are the Aboriginal Arts & Culture Centre and the Dreamtime Gallery.

The Telegraph Station Historical Reserve, 3 kilometres (2 miles) north of the town, is an historical reserve featuring original buildings, restored equipment and an illustrated display including early photographs, papers and documents. Anzac Hill War Memorial lies just behind Alice Springs and provides a panoramic view of the surrounding ranges and town.

The region around Alice Springs is full of colourful gorges, canyons, valley pools and awe-inspiring chasms. These include Standley Chasm, 57 kilometres (35 miles) west of Alice, Glen Helen Gorge, 140 kilometres (9 miles) west, Ormiston Gorge, 130 kilometres (80 miles) west, Kings Canyon, 330 kilometres (205 miles) southwest and N’Dhala Gorge, 96 kilometres (59 miles) east, which is also notable for its ancient rock engravings.

Palm Valley lies around 1 and a half hours drive to the southwest and Rainbow Valley to the southeast on the edge of the Simpson Desert.

Château Hornsby, the Northern Territory’s only vineyard, is located approximately 10 kilometres (6 miles) from the town centre and is a venue for tastings, barbecues, and Aboriginal corroborees.

Uluru (Ayers Rock)

Alice Springs is the main base for tours to Uluru, approximately 460 kilometres (285 miles) or 5 hours drive away, and the East and Western MacDonnell Ranges.

Uluru is the world’s largest monolith and plays an essential part in Aboriginal mythology, in which it is believed to have been created by ancestors of the Aborigines. Visitors may still climb the rock, although to do so is believed a gross sacrilege by the indigenous people, or explore some of the fascinating caves at its base.

Sunrise and sunset must be seen as the sun’s rays change the rock’s colour from blazing orange to red and even deep purple, depending on the atmospheric conditions. 22 kilometres (13 miles) from Uluru (Ayers Rock) is the Ayers Rock Resort (Yulara), a village built to cater for the growing number of visitors to the area.

The resort contains top class hotels, self catering maisonettes, lodges, shops, bank, post office, restaurants, caravan park and campsites and caters for all the needs of the traveller. Tours leave throughout the day for the Rock, the nearby Olgas and Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, as well as other points of interest.

Uluru (Ayers Rock) has its own airport with daily flights to Alice Springs and direct connections to Sydney and other cities in Australia. Car hire is available and all main coach companies service Ayers Rock on a daily basis.

Other points of interest in the Red Centre include Aboriginal tours to the Ross River Homestead for horse riding, log cabins and boomerang throwing and to Pitjantjatjara country.

Kings Canyon (Watarrka National Park) is 4 hours drive south west of Alice Springs, offers stunning views, while visitors can discover the ‘Lost City’ (a maze of eroded earth domes) and the ‘Garden of Eden’ (a sheltered green waterhole) when walking around the canyon.

Hotel accommodation is available at the Kings Canyon Resort and campsite pitches are available at Kings Creek Station. Tennant Creek offers trail rides, half day cattle drives and gold mine tours. An hour’s drive from Tennant Creek is the remarkable formation of 7 metres (23 feet) boulders called The Devil’s Marbles.