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Things to do in Alice Springs

Things to do in  Alice Springs

Welcome to Alice Springs

The third-largest town in Australia’s Red Centre, Alice Springs acts as a gateway to the Northern Territory and the Outback—and to a cultural understanding of Aboriginal Australia. Colonial and Aboriginal influences are strong here, and top sights include the Alice Springs Telegraph Station (built in 1872) for history, Alice Springs Desert Park for native wildlife, and numerous museums and indigenous art galleries. Yet for most visitors, the magic happens beyond Alice Springs. The vast, culturally and geologically rich landscapes that surround Alice Springs are best experienced via the informative guided tours that leave town for a day, two—or even six. Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, a relatively brief four-hour drive away, tops most tours’ itineraries. The park’s crown jewel is Uluru, aka Ayers Rock, whose sheer mass and ochre hues astound even the most geology-averse. Circumambulate its base for a pilgrimage-like experience of this Aboriginal sacred site. You can even get an unforgettable view of “the Rock” on a sunrise hot-air balloon flight. Nearby, the equally impressive Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) are enormous, huddled rocks whose gorges and valleys are popular for hiking. Some tours also visit Kings Canyon, with dramatic sandstone domes, sheer red cliffs, and native wildlife. Closer to town lie the rugged West MacDonnell Ranges, and day-long tours hit highlights such as Simpsons Gap and Ellery Creek Big Hole. And serious bushwalkers can spend five nights hiking and camping along the Outback’s Larapinta Trail.

Top 10 attractions in Alice Springs


MacDonnell Ranges

Offering spectacular views both east and west of Alice Springs, the MacDonnell Ranges are a 400 mile (644 kilometer) stretch of mountain ranges. The ranges hold some of the Northern Territory's finest attractions including the ancient ghost gums and rock wallabies at the majestic Simpson's Gap, the stark beauty of Standley Chasm in the midday sun and the secluded waterholes of Serpentine Gorge and Ellery Creek Big Hole. The ranges are dotted with micro-climates offering rare wildlife including the Centralian Tree Frog that lives in some of the very cold rock pools. There are many sites of significance to the traditional owners, the Arrernte. These include ancient rock paintings at Emily Gap, Trephina Gorge and N’Dhala Gorge. You can also visit the old ochre pits where they quarried for ochre pigment.More

Alice Springs School of the Air Visitor Centre

These days it’s commonplace for many schools to offer programs online, where you can receive a degree without ever seeing a teacher. Well, before the age of the internet, there was radio-- the means of how School of the Air in Alice Springs, Australia, nobly pioneered the idea to reach out to kids in obscure destinations without proper schools. One visit to the school premises, which is now complete with its own Visitor Center, and you can share a moving experience that shows how the utilization of technology we take for granted has not only brought people together, but shaped lives. Teaching primary and secondary level students since the 50’s, today students are outstretched as far as 502,000 square miles from the school. You can watch a film about the history of this truly unique school, and even listen in on live classes, which have since switched from the radio era to a highly more modernized and efficient broadband internet model.More

West MacDonnell Ranges

In the heart of Australia’s Red Centre lie the Western MacDonnell ranges. 1,500 kilometres south of Darwin and just west of the infamous Alice Springs, the western MacDonnell Ranges offer an enchanting look into an ancient culture and an even older landscape. The best ways to explore the often rugged territory are by 4WD, motor-home, or even on bike -a mode of transport that is surprisingly well catered for, with even the famous Simpson’s Gap providing a seven kilometre section of sealed bike track. Covering an area of just over 2,000 square kilometres, the canyons, gorges, and waterholes in the National Park area provide a stunning and insightful backdrop for any number of outdoor activities, including camping, swimming, and hiking, to name a few. Hiking enthusiasts should consider the 250 kilometre Larapinta Trail, which traverses the ranges from Alice Springs to Mount Sonder.More

Standley Chasm (Angkerle Atwatye)

Standley Chasm, also known as Angkerle, is a place of great significance to the local Aboriginal people. A spectacular slot gorge, the deep, narrow chasm cuts through the tough quartzite of the native stone and puts on a magnificent display of color and form as the sun passes through the sky. Surrounding the chasm is a lush valley and an abundance of walking trails. A short walk from the kiosk to the chasm is particularly rewarding at midday when the sun shines directly overhead. Another walk from the kiosk heads west and climbs to a saddle with views of the area's mountains and valleys. For more avid hikers, sections 3 and 4 of the Larapinta Trail meet at Standley Chasm and can be hiked as either long day trips or overnight hikes. Standley Chasm is the easiest place to access the Chewings Ranges for those who do not wish to hike the Larapinta Trail. The Chewings Ranges are home to some of the most rare and threatened wildlife of the West MacDonnell Ranges.More

Simpsons Gap

Simpsons Gap is one of the most prominent areas in the West MacDonnell Ranges, home to one of the most well-known waterholes of the Alice Springs region. There are a few bush walks nearby, including the short Ghost Gum Walk and longer Cassia Hill Walk, which takes one hour each way. Longer walks around Simpsons Gap include the Woodland Trail, which connects Simpsons Gap with Bond Gap on an 11-mile (17-km) return track, and sections one and two of the Larapinta Trail. Visitors also have the opportunity to picnic at Simpsons Gap, with gas barbecues available for free use, or opt for a bicycle ride along a sealed track. The rare black-footed rock wallaby is often seen at Simpsons Gap, best seen in the early morning or late afternoon. The wallaby is one of several creatures unique to Australia’s Red Centre.More

Hermannsburg (Ntaria)

Hermannsburg, known in the local language as Ntaria, is an Aboriginal community approximately 80 miles (131 km) southwest of Alice Springs. The town began life as an Aboriginal mission in 1877, established by missionaries traveling from Germany. When they left in 1891, the settlement remained, undergoing several influencing leaderships until the land was returned to the traditional owners in 1982. These days, the town is named the Hermannsburg Historic Precinct and included on the Australian National Heritage List. Hermannsburg is famous as the home of Albert Namatjira, an Aboriginal landscape watercolor artist. His house is open to visitors and serves as a gallery. Many buildings here are historical reminders of early colonists, and the Kata Anga Tea Rooms serve homemade meals to visitors. Also of note within the town are the Hermannsburg Potters, whose handmade terracotta pots are beautifully decorated and available for sale.More

Ormiston Gorge

Located in the West MacDonnell Ranges, Ormiston Gorge showcases the amazing geology and landforms of the area. Along with a near-permanent waterhole estimated to be up to 45 feet (14 meters) deep, Ormiston Gorge shows towering walls of red earth iconic to the Australian outback. The gorge is an important wildlife refuge, a status cemented when the long-tailed dunnart and central rock rat were rediscovered in the area after it was thought they had died out. The site is ideal for swimming, though visitors should note that the water temperature can be at odds with the heat of the Australian desert, and hypothermia can result from prolonged exposure. The most popular activity at Ormiston Gorge is walking. The five-minute Waterhole Walk and the 20-minute Ghost Gum Lookout walk are the two most popular trails.More

Alice Springs Desert Park

The Alice Springs Desert Park offers the opportunity to experience the main desert environments in Australia. Wander through sand, woodland and river deserts and learn about their different plant and animal inhabitants. You will also learn about the traditional owners of the land, the Arrernte. Animals rarely seen in the wild are on display in the nocturnal house which mimics the night desert offering a peek at rare and endangered animals that only come out in the dark like bilbies and carnivorous ghost bats. The aquarium offers you a look at the animals you might find in a waterhole including fish, yabbies, burrowing frogs and turtles.More

Alice Springs Reptile Centre

The Alice Springs Reptile Centre is the largest collection of reptiles in the Northern Territory. Focusing its collection on indigenous reptiles, the center prides itself on its conservation practices and its showcase of reptiles native to Australia’s Red Centre. More than 50 different species are kept here, making up a collection of over 100 animals. Favorites include a saltwater crocodile, a gecko house with natural exhibits for geckos from the surrounding area and the wacky-looking thorny devil. Along with the reptile displays, the Alice Springs Reptile Centre is heavily involved in local wildlife rescue and rehabilitation. It is home to Wildcare, an initiative that cares for sick and injured Australian wildlife, rehabilitating and releasing them back into the wild.More

Royal Flying Doctor Service Alice Springs Tourist Facility (RFDS Museum)

The Royal Flying Doctors Service is the largest air medical response team in the world. The doctors fly an average of 40,000 miles (65,000 kilometers) a day attending to sick people in the remote outback of Australia. They have 53 aircraft operating out of 21 bases with 964 staff and attend to around 750 patients a day. Alice Springs houses the Central Operations of the service and at the visitors center you can learn all about the incredible history of the RFDS and how it has shaped life in the outback. There is an interactive museum where you can find out what it is like inside the planes, you can even fly one in the flight simulator. Experience life in the early days of the service and try your hand at the Traegar pedal-powered radio which was the primary means of communication for many years.More

Trip ideas

Ayers Rock (Uluru) Tours from Alice Springs

Ayers Rock (Uluru) Tours from Alice Springs

How to Spend 2 Days in Alice Springs

How to Spend 2 Days in Alice Springs

Recent reviews from experiences in Alice Springs

An amazing tour for everyone
Vanny01, Mar 2020
Ayers Rock Day Trip from Alice Springs Including Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Sunset BBQ Dinner
They are full of cultural information and of the scared sure and of the area from Alice Springs to Uluru.
Lauren G, Dec 2019
Ayers Rock Day Trip from Alice Springs Including Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Sunset BBQ Dinner
If you’re thinking about traveling to Alice Springs and Uluru, you must do this tour, there’s nothing else like it.
michaelmC3071HZ, Dec 2019
West MacDonnell Ranges Day Trip from Alice Springs
This was our first visit to Alice Springs and the West MacDonnell Ranges Day trip was the highlight with lots to see (plenty of spectacular scenery) and informative comments from our driver/guide "Bluey".
Worth the Trip
Sunshine67537838854, Oct 2019
Alice Springs Highlights Half-Day Tour
Our guide Tash took us to the RFDS, School of the Air, the original telegraph station and initial site which included Alice's Spring and ANZAC Hill.
Good way to spend a spare afternoon in Alice Springs
frequent-traveler777, May 2019
Alice Springs Highlights Half-Day Tour
This tour of Alice Springs is a good way to occupy any spare time you might have in Alice Springs while stopping there on your way to Ayers Rock (Uluru).
This was an awesome journey through the...
Paul B, Aug 2007
Alice Springs to Ayers Rock (Uluru) One Way Shuttle
This beats catching the plane from Alice Springs.
A very good tour highlighting and...
John D, Oct 2017
West MacDonnell Ranges Day Trip from Alice Springs
A very good tour highlighting and stopping at th best spots, about 5 or 6' in this direction from Alice Springs.
I forgot to review this one as well...
Susan H, Aug 2017
Alice Springs Camel Tour
But our sunset camel ride was a total blast -- definitely a memorable experience and one of the highlights of our stay in Alice Springs.
Best excursion in six weeks of travel in AU and NZ!
goneawas, Nov 2019
Ayers Rock Day Trip from Alice Springs Including Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Sunset BBQ Dinner
Emu's bus driver, Micheal, to and from Ayer's Rock from Alice Springs, and Freddy, our guide at the Rock, were both terrific.
A nice early morning flight outside...
Kjell-Ake A, Mar 2018
Early Morning Ballooning in Alice Springs
A nice early morning flight outside Alice SPrings.
Great trip. We enjoyed Uluru,Kata...
Thomas D, Jul 2016
2-Day Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta Trip from Alice Springs
I would stay one day longer at Alice Springs.
Comfortable, clean and with enough...
Jack S, Dec 2015
Alice Springs to Ayers Rock (Uluru) One Way Shuttle
Would recommend paying a bit more and do the camel ride in Alice Springs as this ride was basically just sitting on the camel and getting your picture taken.
Very good tour looked after well, if...
M L C, Apr 2014
3-Day Alice Springs to Uluru (Ayers Rock) via Kings Canyon Tour
Very good tour looked after well, if going again would use Uluru as my base not Alice Springs
A long day, but worth the effort...
Jeanne H, Sep 2017
Ayers Rock Day Trip from Alice Springs Including Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Sunset BBQ Dinner
The only problem was that the bus driver turned back about l/2 hour into the trip to pick up two people at a hotel in Alice Springs and that made the day even longer.
This is an excellent tour...
Alistair S, Jul 2018
Alice Springs Highlights Half-Day Tour
Although Alice Springs is a long way from Melbourne or Sydney, this trip made it worth making the journey.
Although it was an intense 3 days...
Jairo V, Sep 2016
3-Day Alice Springs to Uluru (Ayers Rock) via Kings Canyon Tour
Although it was an intense 3 days tour, we certainly enjoyed all the activities included.
Our driver was so pleasant and very...
Patricia J F, Aug 2015
Alice Springs to Ayers Rock (Uluru) One Way Shuttle
A very good way to ravel between Alice Springs and Uluru
A must do when visiting Alice...
Julie R, Jul 2016
Alice Springs Highlights Half-Day Tour
A must do when visiting Alice Springs.
Wonderful and informative half day...
Gaye W, Aug 2016
Alice Springs Highlights Half-Day Tour
A must do experience if in Alice Springs to get the full story and history of the area.
If you are in Alice Springs for a...
Alicia C, Mar 2017
Alice Springs Highlights Half-Day Tour
If you are in Alice Springs for a short period of time, this is a great way to see and learn a lot quickly.

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