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Alice Springs

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View over Alice Springs to Heavitree Gap

A Town Like Alice’ or just ‘The Alice’, as it is affectionately known, is a unique town in the heart of Australia. Built on the flood plain of the Todd and Charles Rivers, it is nestled in the hills and gorges of the MacDonnell Ranges that stretch some 644 km from the East MacDonnell Range to the West MacDonnell Range and what locals consider just a stone throw from our other iconic locales of Kings Canyon, Uluru and Kata Tjuta.

The original Alice Springs was a waterhole located some 3 km north of the present town. Named after Alice Todd (wife of Superintendent of Post and Telegraph Sir Charles Todd), the town was founded as a staging point for the overland telegraph line in 1870.


Our biggest boat race in Central Australia
the single longest running event in the
Northern Territory — the iconic Henley-On-Todd

There is a restored memorial marking the spot, dedicated to the pioneering spirit of the men who built the overland telegraph line from Adelaide to Darwin. Of course, Alice Springs is filled with history, from the original inhabitants, through to the European pioneers. Of course you can also experience the natural beauty of the landscape, whose geological history date back many millions of years, whether by self-drive or through the many fantastic tour operators providing a range of great ways to experience this unique outback region.

For those who have a brief stay in Alice or are staying for longer, following are some of the local attractions within Alice Springs:

  • Alice Springs Cultural Precinct
    — at least half a day.
    A number of fascinating attractions in one unique location, including the Araluen Arts Centre (incorporating the Albert Namatjira Gallery), Museum of Central Australia and Aviation Museum.
  • Alice Springs Desert Park
    — allow 4 hours or more. There is also a cafe.
    Introduction to Australia’s desert, the landscapes, animals and plants of central Australia’s and their traditional use and management by the Aboriginal people.
    Make sure you include the Birds of Prey Show and Nocturnal House.
  • Alice Springs School of the Air
    — an hour.
    Meeting the educational needs of primary school children in the Outback.
  • Alice Springs Telegraph Station Historical Reserve
    — 1 to 2 hours or more if you enjoy the walks and picnic area. There is also a kiosk.
    The original site of the first European settlement in the region. There are also a number of walks to be enjoyed.
  • ANZAC Hill
    — 15 to 30 minutes, unless you are walking up or are waiting for sunrise / sunset.
    A special place to the Aboriginals and the site of the ANZAC Hill War Memorial.
  • Gathering Garden
    — take as long as you like.
    Located in the heart of town, is this newly opened public art and garden. Although only small, it offers a great place to site and contemplate. Over time the trees and shrubs will be larger, providing more shade. A historic site of poetic beauty.
  • National Road Transport Hall of Fame
    — couple of hours or more, especially for the enthusiast.
    Road and rail transport history of Central Australia.
  • Olive Pink Botanic Garden
    — a couple of hours or more, especially if you do the walks. There is a cafe.
    An Arid Zone Botanic Garden in the Northern Territory.
  • Todd Mall and Sunday Markets
    — an hour or more.
    Main shopping area of town. Hosts the markets usually held every second Sunday, including some special additional market days. Contact the Visitor Centre for dates.

The following local attractions are within a few minutes walk of each other and only 10-15 minute walk from Todd Mall:

 Aboriginal Indigenous Artist © Trephina Sultan / ThanguwaCheck out our full list of attractions, activities and events in Alice Springs and surrounding region.

The growth of the current Alice Springs has occurred only in the last 30 years, with the road south to Adelaide being only fully sealed in 1987. Although a major tourist spot you can really appreciate this desert community by visiting the surrounding attractions.

For those planning a visit to Central Australia, making Alice Springs your base, provides a great place from which to visit the wonders of the surrounding region. For those new to the area, a visit to many of the regions attractions from Alice Springs can entail anywhere from half a day to a couple of days, especially if you stay overnight. There is also the unique tourism experience of the ‘Red Centre Way’, an iconic road trip that takes in some of the best attractions of Central Australia.

A popular route taken by visitors to the region is to fly in to Uluru, catch a coach tour via Kings Canyon then to Alice Springs. Whilst in Alice, there is so much to see and do, you can spend at least a month. Some people have even come to visit and stayed.

Check out our Distance chart to view the kilometres to some of the attractions.

Some of the other things to see in the region include:

See our full list of attractions in the Central Australia region.

Special permit to cross through Aboriginal land are required and can be obtained in Alice Springs, Glen Helen, Hermannsburg, or Kings Canyon.

Check out our listing of Alice Springs accommodation and Central Australia accommodation. For additional attractions, tours and other information visit the local tourism visitor centre.

Information Centre

Central Australian Visitor Information Centre
Central Australian Tourism Industry Association (CATIA)
60 Gregory Terrace, ALICE SPRINGS NT 0870
Ph: 08 8952 5800
Freecall: 1800 645 199
Fax: 08 8953 0295
Email
Web: www.centralaustraliantourism.com / www.tourismca.asn.au

GPS (Alice Springs): S 23º 42.051’ E 133º 52.931’

Open
Mon to Fri 8:30 am - 5:30 pm
Sat to Sun and Public Holidays 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Closed Christmas Day
Hours may vary, contact visitor centre

Glen Helen Homestead

Ntaria Supermarket/Petrol Station - Hermannsburg

Visit the Central Australian Tourism site for great maps of CBD, township
and Central Australia.

Travel NT, the Northern Territory Government official website has maps, itineraries, travel advice and other information for Alice Springs.

Central Netted Dragon (Ctenophorus nuchalis) - Alice Springs Reptile Centre
Oh... you...!! come and see us...
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