With excellent museums and desert gardens, plenty of quality places to camp and eat, and the nearest town to the MacDonnell Ranges and Uluru, Alice Springs is a handy and comfortable base from which to explore Central Australia.
There are free 24 hour rest stops with water, toilets, picnic tables and BBQs along the way if you get tired. These are mapped at the bottom of the article. So rest up, make tea and stretch your muscles every two hours to prevent fatigue.
We've listed 15 things to do in Alice Springs and the best camping and caravan parks in the region. It's all mapped at the bottom of the page.
First rays of sun on the MacDonnell Ranges. Photo: Lauren_McBriarty
The desert is not a lifeless wasteland, it is full of life,
and the Alice Springs Desert Park will prove it. Follow the board alk through
different desert landscapes including sand country, woodland, and desert
rivers. You’ll see dingoes, emu, birds of prey, bilbies, thorny devil lizards
and many other desert creatures. Facilities here include cafes, toilets, drinking water,
picnic areas, and free WiFi.
COST: $32 adults | $16 kids.
Eagle encounter and photo sessions $30 for up to 2 adults | $40 for a family pass (2 kids 2 adults).
This is an arid zone botanic gardens specializing in
Australia’s intriguing desert species including red mulga trees, spinifex
grass, and the yellow-flowering wattle. There is a display of botanical art and
Thorny Devil. Photo: alisonfromashes via IG
The Alice Springs Telegraph Station marks the site of the
first European settlement in Alice Springs in 1871. The stone buildings are
still in tact and contain interesting displays that will take you back in time.
It was established to relay messages between Darwin and Adelaide, and was
linked with an underwater cable network to London, making it the first real
communication post between Australia and England. Guided tours are included in
the entry price.
COST: $15 adults | $6 - $10 kids | $35 Family (2 adults, 2 kids)
The view straight down the middle of Alice Springs is great,
especially at dawn or dusk. A war memorial is on top of the hill and the walk
up is easy.
View from ANZAC hill. Photo: aatkings via IG
Take a guided sunset tour through the 188 acre kangaroo
sanctuary, just when the kangaroos are starting to wake up. This is a combined
hospital and sanctuary for sick, injured and rehabilitating kangaroos.
COST: Adult $85 | kids $45
Kangaroo Sanctuary, Alice Springs. Photo: sophiahxlr via IG
Float silently over the rugged West MacDonnell Ranges as the
sun rises and get a birds eye view of the landscapes and wildlife. Cruise like
this for 30 minutes or an hour and celebrate with champagne upon landing.
COST: $295 - $390
Outback Hot Air Ballooning. Photo: ostone via IG
Take an hour long camel ride through the
beautiful White Gums Valley among the MacDonnell Ranges at sunset. Our camels
are well behaved and each has its own personality. You will see kangaroos and
other wildlife during your camel ride. Afterwards learn all about camels in our
COST: $89 adults | $49 kids as Sunset. Less if you go in the middle of the day.
Pyndan Camel Tracks
see an impressive range of reptiles that includes Terry the Saltwater
Crocodile, enormous Perentie Goannas, Thorny Devils, Frill-neck Lizards and all
kinds of geckos in the Gecko Cave. They have a daily show at 11am, 1pm and 3.30pm
that includes a fun talk on selected lizards and pythons followed by a
supervised handling session.
COST: $18 adults | $10 kids
Tangentyere Artists is a cooperative of 400 central
Australian artists. The space provides art training and a place to exhibit
their work. It has a huge diversity of styles and mediums and includes
traditional motifs as well as contemporary work. There are other studios and
galleries scattered around Alice Springs but this is a good place to start.
Celebrating the contributions and achievements of Australian
Women, the collection includes women’s objects donated from across the countryfrom
women who have been first in their field.
COST: $15 adults | $5 kids.
Araluen Arts Centre is the centre for visual and performing arts in Central Australia. Exhibitions change and at the time of writing there was an Albert Namatjira exhibition which explored the significance of country to Aboriginal People, as well as an exhibition of contemporary desert art and woodcarving.
The Araluen Arts Centre is part of the cultural precinct located in the middle of town and includes the Central Craft Gallery (free admission) Aviation Museum, Strehlow Research Centre and the Museum of Central Australia ($8 adults) You can buy a pass that includes most of the museums.
COST: $8 adults | $6 kids | $20 family (includes admission to Araluen Arts Centre, Aviation Museum, Craft Gallery, Strehlow Research Centre)
Araluen Arts Centre
The Aviation Museum is housed in the original Connellan
Airways Hangar. Connellan was the aviation company that serviced the Royal
Flying Doctors. After a suicide flight ran into the hangar killing five
employees it was established as a museum and now houses Royal Flying Doctor
Service planes and other historic aircraft and memorabilia.
COST: Included in the Araluen Pass $8 adults | $6 kids
An important collection of Film and Sound archives related
to Aboriginal ceremonial life.
COST: Included in the Araluen Pass $8 adults | $6 kids
This Museum is part of the Araluen Cultural Precinct along with the Art Gallery and Aviation Museum. Beautiful
displays of everything relating to Central Australia fossils, desert life
forms, minerals, and the region’s natural wonders.
COST: Adults $8 | kids $5
The trailhead for this hike is located on the outskirts of town at John Flynn’s Grave. The best time to make the climb is around dawn and dusk due to the heat and flies that make it less pleasant through the middle of the day. Take a torch and some water. The trail has loose rocks and some rock scrambling is involved.If you are fit, the climb will take 90 minutes. Allow an extra 20 minutes if going to the cairn. On reaching the summit, the views over Alice Springs and the McDonnell's are stunning.
Mount Gillen climb, Alice Springs. Photo: elleschembri via IG
If you would like to spend a night or two in town, rather than spending your entire time in the MacDonnell Ranges, you are spoiled for choice. The following are all rated highly (4 stars or more on Trip Advisor and Google) and have security gates.
Located 5km south of Alice Springs away from highway noise in
beautiful surrounds, this has all the facilities you would expect from a BIG 4
Holiday Park: A gym and reading room, lots of fun fo the kids (go karts, games
room, bike hire, basketball, TV room, playground, 2 jumping pillows, BMX
track), 3 heated swimming pools, 2 camp kitchens with electric cooktops, gas
BBQs, microwaves, ovens, fridges, toasters, kettles etc. There are fire places,
hot showers, toilets, laundry, family bathroom, babies amenities, gas swaps,
sewage dump point, tourist information and they have a free pancake breakfast
every Sunday morning.
RATES: from $38 for 2 adults. Additional adults $16 kids $9 (with membership)
BIG 4 MacDonnell Range Caravan Park. Photo: troopy.shedders
Near the BIG 4, this is a quiet and spacious caravan park
beneath shady mature gum trees with beautifully appointed facilities including
a large swimming pool, BBQ facilities, camp kitchen with fridge, hot showers,
toilets, laundry, gas refills. Tourist information and booking, internet
access. It is a short walk to the supermarket. The staff are friendly and provide great tourist advice.
RATES: $36 for two adults. Additional adults $10, kids $6
If you want to feel like you are in the middle of nowhere
(which you will be) and you would like to go gemstone fossicking (take home a
garnet or zircon) then you might like the rustic outback Gemtree which lies to
the north of Alice Springs. Facilities include a swimming pool, camp kitchen, hot
showers, laundry, free WiFi, grocery store, ice, fuel, sewage dump and their
Billabong Bar where you can watch sport or just have a drink.
RATES: $35 for two adults. Additional adults $14.
Gemtree Cabins and Caravan Park
Conveniently located opposite the Aruluen Cultural Precinct in Alice Springs with mature gum trees and all the usual amenities - camp kitchen with fridge,
hot showers, laundry, BBQ areas, TV room, swimming pool, tourist booking, LP
gas, mini grocery store, free WiFi, dishwashing areas, playground.
RATES: $35 for 2 adults, $15 additional adults.
A clean, tidy and shady caravan park with grassy sites that
is centrally located with the usual amenities.
RATES: $41 for two adults. Additional adults $18
Alice Springs is part of the Adelaide to Darwin Drive through Central Australia which is mapped below. For more road trips, see our list of Campervan Road Trips in Australia.
Camperman offers the lowest all inclusive rates on campervan hire in Australia. Comprehensive insurance, additional drivers, foreign licenses, kitchen equipment, bedding - EVERYTHING is included.
18 Main Terrace,
South Australia 5033 Phone: 1800 216 223
344 Shute Harbour Road, Airlie Beach, Queensland 4802 Phone: 1800 216 223
20 Noble Avenue,
Northgate, Queensland 4013
Phone: 1800 216 223
440 Sheridan Street,
Queensland 4870 Phone: 1800 216 223
2/11 Northview St, Mermaid Waters QLD 4218 Phone: 1800 216 223
273 Elizabeth Street,
Victoria 3058 Phone: 1800 216 223
23-25 Erskine Rd,
Sydney, NSW 2229 Phone: 1800 216 223
167 Mount Low Parkway, Townsville,
Queensland 4814 Phone: 1800 216 223