Alice Springs

Tour Guides

Travel NT: In the heart of Central Australia, between the East and West MacDonnell Ranges, sits Australia's most famous outback town. Alice Springs is a thriving, spirited outback centre - as famous for the personality of its locals as the natural wonders that surround it.

The history and heritage of Alice Springs overflow with a rich cast of characters - in the late 1800's and early 1900s only the most intrepid pioneers braved its rugged environment. From Afghan cameleers to flying doctors, today it is possible to pay homage to their legacy at various historic sites around the town.

A great base from which to explore its surrounding natural wonders, the town itself defies most travellers' expectations combining a strong sense of its outback history with all the convenience of modern facilities. Most of all, it is the uncomplicated yet vibrant personality of Alice that leaves a lasting impression on visitors.

Australian Explorer: Alice Springs (or the Alice) received its name in 1933, although it developed in 1871 as a telegraph repeater station between Adelaide and Darwin. The town's development was slow, however, and the old road to Adelaide wasn't replaced until 1987. Although the town is fairly modern and a moderate size, it is set amongst the harsh outback, although ideally situated next to some of Australia's great wonders. From the top of Anzac Hill you can get some great views overlooking Alice Springs and the Eastern MacDonnell Ranges and Western MacDonnell Ranges. By the Aboriginal people the hill is called Untyeyetweleye and is the home to the Corkwood Dreaming Story.

The Small Guide to a Big Country: The Alice Springs Desert Park, with 350 plant species and 120 animal species, puts paid to thoughts that deserts are wastelands. You’ll need a few hours to do it justice. The Olive Pink Botanical Reserve also has more than 300 local species of plants, and you can sponsor your own ‘family tree’. During her 91 years, Miss Olive Pink fought hard for Aboriginal rights and set up the flora reserve. She ran it as a fortress, only opening it to invited guests, and named her trees after public figures. If they didn’t live up to her high expectations, she refused to water them. In 1975 she was buried in the Memorial Cemetery in the only grave facing west. It was her wish to always see the sun set over Mount Gillen. Other residents include prospector and optimist, Harold Bell Lasseter; great Aboriginal artist, Albert Namatjira; and several Afghan cameleers, facing in the direction of Mecca.

Northern Territory Travel: Over the decades, Alice Springs has transformed itself from a simple telegraph station to a bustling and modern town with its many old buildings making way for shopping plazas, hotels and offices. Australia's magnificent outback with all of its natural wonders, however, remain just around the corner from Alice Springs which still retains its unique atmosphere while providing travelers and visitors alike with a place to rest and recharge after a few days of travel.

Wikipedia: Alice Springs is best-known outside the region from the title of the Nevil Shute novel A Town Like Alice, even though little of the story takes place in Alice Springs, and because of its proximity to Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, the monolithic rock that is one of Australia's best-known natural landmarks and an important focus of Aboriginal culture.

Originally named Stuart, the town was established almost as a frontier settlement for north-south travel by camel trains through the desert of the outback. A telegraph station was placed near a permanent waterhole called Alice Springs after the wife of Sir Charles Todd, Postmaster General of South Australia, after whom the Todd River (which is usually dry) was named. The Ghan railway from Adelaide reached Stuart in 1929, and the town moved away from the waterhole, but locals kept the name. In 1933, after much debate, the town of Stuart was officially renamed Alice Springs. The north-south road between Darwin, Alice Springs and Adelaide is still called the Stuart Highway.

Almost in the exact centre of the continent, Alice Springs is some 1200 km from the nearest ocean and 1500 km from the nearest major cities, Darwin and Adelaide. Alice Springs is now the midpoint of the Adelaide-Darwin Railway.

Holiday Company Descriptions

Wordtravels: Alice Springs, the vibrant hub of central Australia, grew up around a permanent waterhole that was a key terminal for the Overland Telegraph Station in 1870. It became a tough frontier town serviced by camel trains from the railhead at Oodnadatta, until the railway reached it in 1929 and it became a major terminus centre. Today the city, with a population of 25,000 and stylish shopping and dining facilities, provides a perfect base from which to access all of the surrounding natural wonders, including Uluru (Ayer's Rock), where you can learn more about the local Arrernte Aboriginal tribal group who have inhabited the area for 20,000 years. The city is also the point from which intrepid adventurers strike south to explore the Simpson Desert, or east to visit the ghost towns of the MacDonnell Ranges. Alice Springs has good connections to Australia's capital cities; there are daily flights to and from the capitals and road and rail access from all capital cities is possible.

Journeys of Distinction: This morning we board our coach which will take us along the scenic Desert Oak Drive to Alice Springs where our accommodation is booked at the first class Crowne Plaza Hotel. The rest of your day is left completely at leisure.

This morning we shall arrange for those that so wish, an optional hot air balloon ride over Australia's outback. After breakfast enjoy a morning exploring this little town. Visits include the Royal Flying Doctor Base and the Old Telegraph Station, now a museum and site of the old springs from which Alice gets its name. Later in the afternoon we make our way to Alice Springs airport for our flight to Adelaide. Upon arrival we will be transferred to the deluxe Adelaide Hilton in the heart of the city where we spend the next three nights. (Meals: Breakfast, Refreshments).

Freedom Australia: Rise early to view Uluru at sunrise. There is the opportunity to climb to the summit (optional). Tour the caves at the base of Uluru and hear stories of the Aboriginal Dreamtime. Later, visit the Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre. This afternoon travel through the desert plains to Kata Tjuta (Olgas). The size and grandeur of these 36 massive domes of conglomerate red rock will amaze you. Take a walk through Walpa Gorge following the natural creek bed between two of the domes. After sunset with sparkling wine, enjoy a delicious Australian barbecue dinner and stargazing.

Viator: Have you ever ridden on a camel? Here's your chance. Enjoy a one hour trek from the back of your camel along the dry river bed of the Todd River. Pass under gum trees as you make your way to the Frontier Camel Farm. Then relax as you enjoy a dinner of Barramundi and Beef... This tour is a must for all those who visit Alice Springs!

The Backpacker: Take a Camel to Dinner Tour - No trip to Alice Springs is complete without a ride on a camel. You are collected from your Alice Springs hotel and transferred to the Date Gardens, where you meet your 'ship of the desert' under the shady palms. Get to know your camel on a leisurely one hour ride along the sandy course of the Todd River bed, past magnificent river red gums, on your way to dinner.

On arrival at the Frontier Camel Farm, enjoy a visit of the Camel Display and the Camel Shop before pre-dinner drinks and bush-tucker tasting. Then sit down to a delicious home-cooked dinner, including nibbles of nutritious native foods and home made bread, a choice of baked fillet of Barramundi (Fish) or Prime Beef with fresh salads, warm sticky date pudding, Australian wine or beer, tea or coffee and fresh local dates. After dinner, you are transferred back to your Alice Springs hotel.

Central Oz Motorcycle Tours: Established in 1992, The award winning Alice Springs 'Central Oz Motorcycle Adventures' provide self-ride & passenger tours on Harley-Davidson motorcycles. We tour Alice Springs & the rest of the Outback Northern Territory. Tours range from 1 hour to 7 days including Ayers Rock/Uluru, MacDonnell Ranges & extended tours to Darwin. We provide what the motorcycling enthusiast is looking for.

From Alice Springs, we cruise out along beautiful winding and undulating roads to visit picturesque water filled Gorges (swimming in warmer months) and other stunning natural Outback landforms such as Ayers Rock. Our tours are conducted at a leisurely pace, in keeping with the relaxed Northern Territory lifestyle, so that you have a chance to absorb the various beautiful locations.

Total Travel: At the very heart of Australia lies the historic town of Alice Springs - situated 462kms from Ayers Rock/Uluru and positioned between the East and West MacDonnell Ranges, Alice Springs makes both a great touring base and a great holiday destination. You can see the original Alice Spring which is still there - the permanent waterhole that clinched the location of the Overland Telegraph Station in the 1870s.

Travelonline: Backed by the rugged MacDonnell Ranges, Alice Springs sits in the centre of Australia, a melting pot of cultures and traditions. 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). More than just an overnight stop, Alice Springs has many attractions to visit. Make sure that Alice Springs is part of your Outback itinerary.

Australia 4 Tours: We start early for the Uluru sunrise. Take a base walk or choose to climb Uluru. We visit Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) and learn about the significance of this spiritual place. After lunch, we depart for Alice Springs viewing the rugged desert scenery along the way. Overnight dorm accommodation included. We cross the Tropic of Capricorn, then stop at Ti tree for the opportunity to purchase authentic Aboriginal art. Next we stop at Barrow Creek Pub to view the historic Telegraph Station and then travel continue onto the Devils Marbles; precariously balanced granite boulders sacred to the traditional owners'. We travel on to the historic Banka Banka Cattle Station for dinner and overnight camp. Weather permitting - take a dip in the picturesque waterhole.

Adventures Abroad: "The Alice," as locals affectionately call this town, lies at almost the exact geographical centre of Australia. Many Aboriginals work as stockmen on the vast stations in this area, and reminders of their rich heritage are everywhere. Wild camels roam throughout the region, and the dry red earth and deep blue sky create a surreal atmosphere. Neville Shute wrote a famous novel, A Town Like Alice, in 1950. That book and the movie based on it put Alice Springs on the international map for the first time, but it was many more years before it began attracting tourists in large numbers. But you need only drive to the edge of town to remind yourself that you are in one of the loneliest places on earth. Within a 800 km (500 mile) radius of Alice Springs you could not find another 10,000 people.

Our tour of Alice Springs includes the panoramic ANZAC Hill, the Old Telegraph Station, and the Royal Flying Doctor Service HQ. "The Alice" began in 1872 as an overland telegraph station linking the north and south. Today it combines the vigour of the frontier-like environment with the convenience of modern facilities. This evening we enjoy a typical outback meal at a local restaurant.

ATT Kings: Tour the sights of 'The Alice' including the historic Telegraph Station and the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Visit the School of the Air where sometimes we are able to listen to the children take lessons on air. Stop at the Alice Springs Reptile Centre where you will see unique Central Australian reptiles such as the Perentie and Thorny Devil. Conclude with a panoramic view of Alice Springs and the surrounding ranges from the top of Anzac Hill.

Desert Explorer: As remote as you can get in Australia. This journey takes you to the heart of outback Australia. From the vast golden what plains and mines to the red centre, Ayers Rock, Kings Canyon & Alice Springs. See places most tourists have never heard of. One of the last adventures in Australia.

Intrepid: Experience the outback the authentic way - get off the bitumen and on to dirt roads. This 4WD adventure allows you to get right off the beaten track through cattle stations to outback icons such as Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Watarrka in a small group, allowing the freedom to explore some remote areas. By night, settle down in your bush camp, cook over a campfire and sleep under the vast, starry sky.

Thomas Cook: A chance to get right into the outback today with a visit to the Western MacDonnell mountain ranges. You'll have views of Simpson's Gap, Ellery Creek Gorge and Standley Chasm.

Holiday Accommodation

Alice Springs Resort: What many refer to as the best accommodation in town, Alice Springs Resort combines efficient and friendly outback service with modern, comfortable facilities. Low rise architecture and lush green lawns contribute to the relaxed atmosphere of our award-winning resort, situated on the banks of the famous Todd River with its magnificent river red gums.

You could be riding a camel down a dry river bed or watching the old Ghan steam into the station; maybe you're sailing above the mighty MacDonnell Ranges in a hot air balloon or enjoying bush tucker under the stars: no matter what you do in and around Alice Springs, you'll discover that the romance of outback Australia is alive and well.

The early days of European settlement are well preserved here with buildings like the old jail and original Telegraph Station still standing. Yet you'll also find Aboriginal culture extremely well presented in the Alice. It is a truly unique place. The location of Alice Springs Resort puts you in a perfect position to explore both the town and surrounding areas.

Best Western Elkira Motel: Centrally located in the heart of the Alice Springs CBD, Best Western Elkira Motel, with its tranquil gardens and friendly staff offers a warm welcome. Only a five-minute walk to the post office or local tourist attractions such as Panorama Guth and the Royal Flying Doctor Service, the Elkira Motel is ideally positioned for both business and leisure.

The Elkira Motel offers three styles of comfortable rooms that have views of the magnificent McDonnell Ranges, lush gardens or the beautiful in-ground pool. The fully licensed Terrace Restaurant is known for great value home style cooking, offering a number of quality Australian wines and beers.

Lasseters Hotel Casino Alice Springs: Set against the McDonnell Ranges and adjoining one of the world’s best dessert golf courses, the Lasseters Hotel Casino Alice Springs offers accommodation of high standards comprising of 127 spacious guestrooms and 13 elegantly appointed suites each fitted with stylish and comfortable furnishings. All rooms and suites boast a private balcony or courtyard with magnificent views of the MacDonnell Ranges, pool, golf course or famous Todd River.

The Samphire Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in a comfortable atmosphere with a variety of choices for all tastes. Overlooking the gaming floor in the casino, the Reef Bar offers the perfect place to meet for a drink and dine casually from the All Day Dining Menu. While at the hotel, you can relax by the pool, play a game of tennis, or use one of the bicycles to follow the trails and visit the nearby attractions.

Crowne Plaza Hotel: Crowne Plaza Alice Springs combines luxury, elegance and resort style facilities. The hotel offers a wide range of services for the leisure and business traveller in a relaxed and stylish environment.

Novotel Outback Hotel: Located in the foothills of the MacDonnell Ranges, Novotel Outback Alice Springs is close to many tourist attractions of the city such as West MacDonnell, Anzac hill, Desert Park, Botanical gardens and racecourse.

Heavitree Gap Outback Lodge Alice Springs: This property is located 4.5 kms south of Alice Springs, in a stunning outback setting. The hotel's courtesy bus takes guests to Alice Springs and back. Next door is a Caravan Park and 3 acres of tent sites. Great spot for lovers of scenic walks.