24 Hour Guide To Alice Springs Australia
The iconic Australian outback is on most travellers hit lists. Red sand, strange animals, and monolithic rocks rising from the desert – it’s a world unlike anything else we have ever seen before.
Alice Springs is a rough around the edges town. Founded in 1872, ten years after an expedition mapped out the best route for the telegraph from Adelaide to Darwin. Alice springs – equidistant between these two cities – was the perfect spot for a repeater station on the overland telegraph line which drastically cut down on communication time between Australia and the rest of the world.
How To Get To Alice Springs
Alice Springs is the main town that services the outback, and is the easiest place to get to via plane or train. This makes it the perfect base for your outback adventures. I arrived in Alice Springs via the Ghan rail journey with Great Southern Rail. The Ghans route goes from Adelaide to Darwin, but you can hop off in Alice Springs for as long as you want, and rejoin the train at a later date – which is what I did.
You can also get to Alice Springs via bus or car. If you chose to drive yourself in the outback, make sure you take all the necessary safety precautions. Our guide to outback driving will help get you started.
What To Do In Alice Springs – A 24 Hour Guide
Morning – Alice Springs Reptile Centre and Royal Flying Doctors
For most people, it can be surprising to learn just how must life thrives in this harsh desert environment. All sorts of animals call the Australian outback home, but one type which does better than any others are the reptiles. The Alice Springs Reptile centre has tons of interesting local reptiles on display. Highlights include a salt water crocodile, frilled necked lizard, and thorny devils.
The centre, although small, makes for a great few hours out. Try to catch one of the daily shows, where you can learn more about the reptiles and even touch or hold some. The daily show happens three times per day, at 11 AM, 1 PM, and 3:30 PM.
Afternoon – Explore Todd Mall and Museum of Central Australia
Todd mall is the heart of the town, and is where the tour booking agencies, souvenir shops, and cafes and restaurants are located. This is a great place to come for lunch, do a bit of shopping, and compare different tour operators. Most people who come to Alice Springs will have a visit to Uluru on the top of their lists, and there are plenty of different tour options available.
Another great day tour option is a visit to the West MacDonnell ranges.
Central Australia is a unique place. It’s history and geography is like nothing else most of us have ever seen. A visit to the Museum of Central Australia will prove to be an enlightening experience. Highlights of the museum include a display of the megafauna which used to call this region home, as well as an exhibit of the different types of modern day animals you may encounter on your travels through the desert.
Evening – Sunset From Anzac Hill Look Out
Anzac Hill is one of the best places to go to get a great overview of the town, as well as views out to the East and West MacDonnell ranges. The best time to visit is in the evening. where you can catch a stunning red centre sun set over it’s most influential towns.
Other Day Trip Ideas Near Alice Springs
For those with extra time in Alice Springs, and who love learning about how different ecosystems work together – will love a visit to the Alice Springs Desert Park. You can easily spend most of the day here, which is why it didn’t make it into our 24 hour Alice Springs itinerary.
Festivals And Events In Alice Springs
Alice Springs is home to some pretty quirky annual events, and if you are visiting at the right time you will want to make sure you don’t miss out.
- Camel Cup – This annual camel race takes places in early July each year
- Henley upon Todd – This “boat” race sees participants race down the sandy and bare bone dry Todd river
- Finke cup – motorbike enthusiasts will love this motorbike/4wd race down the Finke track
My transport to and from Alice Springs was provided by Great Southern Rail, but all opinions remain my own.