Stretching just over 223 kilometres from Alice Springs to Mount Sonder, the Larapinta Trail gives enthusiastic walkers an intimate look at the Australian outback. Trailing through the West MacDonnell Ranges and National Park, the walk covers diverse terrain of arid mountains, gorges, dry creek beds and waterholes. Expect to see important Aboriginal sites and the occasional snake as you make your way through the desert on a hike that usually takes just under a week to complete. Not surprisingly this is one of the most highly regarded walks in the country.
Go myth busting at Alice Springs Desert Park
Prepare to have your preconceived notions of the desert shaken up by a visit to Alice Springs Desert Park. Here you can get up close and personal with the people and animals that call this so-called barren terrain home, and in doing so learn that it is not so barren at all. Watch eagles soar through the sky, admire echidnas on a nocturnal tour, and hear the secrets of the desert told by those who know it best.
Find ancient rock art at Emily Gap
Join the red-tailed black cockatoo of Emily Gap to admire ancient Aboriginal artworks of the desert. Part of Yeperenye nature park, which also includes Jessie Gap, the area plays an important role in telling the caterpillar dreaming story of the Aboriginal people, which tells how Alice Springs was formed. Not to be touched or photographed, these artworks have limitless spiritual and cultural significance, making them one of the most important spots in Alice Springs, Australia.
Cycle to Simpsons Gap
Found just 18-kilometres west of Alice Springs, cycling to the Simpsons Gap is a great way to get outdoors and see the West MacDonnell Ranges without embarking on the full 6-day walking hike of the Larapinta Trail. Cruising past red quartzite peaks you may spot gorges, limestone, and an array of wildlife as you become one with the great Australian outback.
Meet Kangaroo Dundee
While Australia’s Crocodile Dundee might have an international fame and following, a more humble animal hero can be found in The Kangaroo Sanctuary of Alice Springs. Chris ‘Brolga’ Barns rescues and raises orphaned baby kangaroos, caring for almost 30 of them like his own blood children on a 188-acre wildlife reserve. It is open to the public in the late afternoons after the roos have had a good morning nap; their happiness and habits are the sanctuary’s number one priority. The space also operates as a kangaroo hospital, meaning your visit supports very special work done by Brolga and his caring tribe.
Things to do in Alice Springs
Tatts Finke Desert Race
Grab your vehicle of choice - bike, car, buggie or quad - and spend two days thrashing about in the wild in one of the most remote and difficult off-road races in the world. The Tatts Finke Desert Race has been running annually since 1974, making it an important part of Alice Springs heritage.
Apex Camel Cup
If it’s a squeal inducing, eye-popping cultural festival you are looking for in Alice Springs, look no further than the Apex Camel Cup. Dusty outback tracks see camels and their riders whipping along their routes, in a one day annual event that draws in visitors from across the globe.
Blatherskite Park and Alice Springs Inland Dragway ignite during the Red CentreNATS festival, which drags in automotive fans from across the region. The event’s 3-day program features serious scrutineering, burnout competitions, off road jumps and more.
Parrtjima, A Festival in Light
The 10-day Parrtjima festival honours the artistic heritage of Australia’s indigenous culture by an integration with modern technologies. The result is a visually astounding display of Aboriginal art installations that celebrate this ancient culture, making Parrtjima a rapidly evolving festival worth visiting Alice Spring for.
Desert Festival (or ‘des fest’ as the locals often call it) is a Spring celebration of all things Central Australia. Packed with music, arts, and plenty of unique outback traditions, this event has been inspiring the local community and engaging visitors for over 15-years.
Top 5 Festivals In Alice Springs
Fasten your seatbelts and prepare for an intensive kaleidoscope of culture, dished up in the form of the Alice Springs festival calendar. Watch camels race through the desert and admire illuminated Aboriginal artwork, or partake in an off-road automotive adventure if you’re feeling brave.
Adelaide House Museum
Step into the 70 years old building of the first hospital in Alice Springs, now a museum space dedicated to the founder of the flying doctors, Rev. John Flynn D.D.. Offering an interesting insight into life in the outback in days gone by, this museum is a must visit in Alice Springs.
The Residency, Alice Springs
From 1927 to 1931, the central paddock of Australia had a brief stint of legislative independence from the Northern Territory. The Residency in Alice Springs stands as a symbol of this time and the region’s strength, as it was designed to house the Government Resident. The traditionally designed structure is now a hub of arts and culture, open to the public from 10am-3pm on all weekdays.
Hartley Street School
Hartley Street School was the first school opened in Alice Springs, which has now been converted into a charming museum. The space offers a window into life and education in the early 1900s of outback Australia.
Strehlow Research Centre
One of the most important things to do in Alice Springs, the Strehlow Research Centre houses many important artefacts of indigenous central Australia. This archive of important historic objects opened in 1991 and tells stories of ceremony, family history and the impact of invasion.
Top 4 Museums In Alice Springs
History buffs are called to the red centre by this museum collection, taking visitors back in time to eras of limitless cultural significance. See important indigenous artifacts and learn the truth of life in the desert; there’s no comparison to the unique offering of museums in Alice Springs travel.
Northern Territory-inspired share plates
Smoked cod croquettes, barbeque pulled pork sliders and potato skins with bacon, cheese and sour cream are just some of the share plates on offer at Deck Eatery. Blending the adored concept of Spanish tapas with local NT produce is a culinary hit sure to leave you craving more.
Best eaten at Deck Eatery and Bar, 82 Barrett Drive, Desert Springs NT 0870
Australian all-day breakfast
There's nothing Australians love more than kicking off a day of outdoor adventures with a hearty breakfast. Join the crowd of locals at Page 27 at Todd Mall for a tempting menu featuring the likes of french toast with mascarpone and pistachios, and smashed avocado with minted yoghurt on rye.
Best eaten at Page 27, Fan Arcade, Todd Mall, NT 0870
Fine dining NT style
Found in the Double Tree hotel by Hilton, Hanuman offers innovative and sophisticated menu items inspired by countries across Asia. Expect the likes of masala fried fish, taro yam spring rolls and Koh Samui style slipper lobster.
Best eaten at Page 27, Fan Arcade, Todd Mall, NT 0870
One of very few food items that Australians can call their very own, the yeast extract food spread of Vegemite is an acquired taste that makes many foreigners squirm. Found in just about every supermarket across the country, it should be spread lightly over buttered toast for the perfect Vegemite introduction.
Best eaten at DIY at a local supermarket
Traditionally this may be an Italian dish, but parmigiana has well and truly established itself as an Australian favourite. Settle yourself in at Bojangles Saloon and Dining Room for a slab of chicken lathered in a tomato sauce and topped with grilled cheese. Hot tip: The Aussies have abbreviated its name, look out for the word "parma" or "parmy" on pub menus.
Best eaten at Bojangles Saloon and Dining Room, 80 Todd St, Alice Springs NT 0870
Food in Alice Springs
The landscape may be barren but your plate need not be, as you journey through the culinary delights of the red centre. You’ll find all manner of local delicacies as well as international cuisine with an Australian twist; think masala fried fish, spanish tapas, and pistachio french toast.