Alice Springs, Northern Territory

Backed by the rugged MacDonnell Ranges, Alice Springs sits in the centre of Australia, a melting pot of cultures and traditions. Alice Springs is a spirited bush town that grew from humble beginnings. It started out in the 1870's as a lonely repeater station for the overland telegraph line that ran the length of Australia and on to Europe. 'The Alice', as locals call it, has since grown into a modern town that still wears its Outback heritage on its sleeve. Situated in the middle of a huge, sparsely populated continent, Alice Springs is legendary for its isolated position on the map.

Innovation has worked in bridging distances - Alice Springs is home to great Australian institutions such as the Royal Flying Doctor Service (an airborne medical service to remote bush communities) and the School of the Air, which uses two-way radios to give lessons to children on far-flung cattle stations. Humour has also helped overcome the isolation. Bottomless boat races held annually on this desert town's dry riverbed point to a community that really knows how to enjoy itself. Times are changing. With travel time by plane from Australia's east coast now only three and a half hours, the Alice is within easy reach for travellers. Alice Springs has a variety of things to do and see. It also serves as a good starting point for exploring the surrounding attractions of Central Australia including the MacDonnell Ranges, Kings Canyon and Uluru (Ayers Rock). Make sure that Alice Springs is part of your Outback itinerary.

Alice Springs Attractions

Aboriginal Art & Cultural Centre: This includes a gallery showing Arrernate culture and an Aboriginal music museum. Learn to play a didgeridoo at the only Didgeridoo University in the world. You can have a go at spear throwing, try billy tea and damper and experiment with bush tucker.

Adelaide House Museum: Previously home to the first hospital in Alice Springs, the building was designed by John Flynn in 1926 and was fitted with a unique air conditioning system. The museum houses period artefacts and presents information on Flynn's vision of a mantle of safety for people in outback Australia.

Alice Springs Cultural Precinct: The precinct presents a wonderful array of Australian culture and history. Wander through the Araluen galleries or the Memorial Cemetery where many early Centralian characters lay buried or relax in the Frank McEllister Park. Visit the Central Aviation Museum, Museum of Central Australia or see the Grand Circle Yeperenye Sculpture.

Alice Springs Desert Park: Discover the secrets of the Desert. Stroll through 3 beautiful desert habitats and the nocturnal house and let the guides and amazing displays show you how the animals, plants and Aboriginal people live in the desert. Allow 3 hours to a full day.

Alice Springs Reptile Centre: Visit the largest reptile display in the Northern Territory. View frillneck lizards, thorny devils, huge perentie goannas, large pythons, venomous snakes and salt water crocodiles. Daily talks at set times offer hands on fun for everyone; you can feed the lizards or even play with a python.

Alice Springs School of the Air: It is the biggest classroom in the world, 1.3 million square kilometres and for the children living in isolated communities around the NT, it is the only classroom they know. This unique educational facility was the first of its type. On school days you can hear school lessons being broadcast.

Frontier Camel Farm: For fun and information visit the Frontier Camel Farm 4kms along the Ross Highway. All you ever wanted to know about camels in the camel display. Tours (click to tours page) available

National Women's Hall of Fame: This heritage listed building houses major exhibitions including over 100 photographs of women who fought social convention to become the first females in their profession. In addition, Women at the Heart tells the story of the women who helped pioneer Central Australia.

National Road Transport Hall of Fame: This catalogue features an outstanding display of heavy vehicles, including the world's first motorised road train and is unique in its approach to the preservation and presentation of road transport

Old Stuart Town Goal: Adjacent to the Alice Springs Court House, the Stuart Town Goal was constructed and in use from 1909 - 1938 and is Alice Springs oldest surviving building

Royal Flying Doctor Service: Visit a working base in operation since 1939 to learn more about this outback aero medical service. Enjoy the audio-visual presentation, a guided tour of the communications area then browse through the interactive museum.

Sunrise over Alice Springs Red Centre Waterhole Bush Tucker Alice Springs Aerial Alice Springs Town