| The red
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.