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TOP THINGS TO DO IN ALICE SPRINGS

A FIRST-TIMER’S GUIDE


At the heart of Australia’s Red Centre is the outback town of Alice Springs. Alice, as the locals call it, is nestled among stunning desert landscapes and sweeping mountain ranges. It has an incredible sense of community, filled with a rich history and a strong Aboriginal culture. Situated towards the southern border of the Northern Territory, Alice is a great place to start your NT adventures.

Welcome To Alice Springs Sign - Top Things To Do

 

QUICK LINKS

 

WEST MACDONNELL RANGES

 

Sitting on either side of Alice Springs are the West and East MacDonnell Ranges, offering an abundance of places to explore. Many popular hiking trails, waterholes and picnic spots are in Tjoritka/West MacDonnell National Park, which spans 161 km (100 mi) west of Alice.

 

There are a few transport options to the park, including guided tours, but we highly recommend hiring a car to explore at your own pace.

 

Redbank Gorge is one of the most popular spots. Situated at the base of Mount Sonder and less than a two-hour drive from Alice, it is a great place for swimming, hiking, camping, wildlife, and photography. The return walk takes around 1.5 hours and includes walking through dry, sandy creek beds and scrambling over large boulders.

Redbank Gorge, NT - Top Things To Do in Alice Springs

 

Travelling to this spot is mostly on the sealed Namatjira Drive, but the turnoff and last 5 km (3 mi) to the trailhead is an unsealed road recommended for vehicles with high clearance. 

 

Occasionally, Redbank Gorge is affected by a natural phenomenon called fish-kills or die-offs. As the name suggests, this results in the death of most of the fish in the area, leaving a swimming spot that is not so appealing to jump into. You can check recent reviews on sites like Google to see if this has occurred before you arrive. We were unlucky to experience this on our visit, but the walk was beautiful nonetheless.

 

If you are interested in a site that doesn’t require hiking, head to the Ochre Pits. Located 110 km (68 mi) west of Alice, between Ellery Creek and Ormiston Gorge, these cliffs of cascading colour are an easy stop on your journey through the ranges. Ochre is a type of clay that will appear in various colours depending on its minerals. The ochre at this site has been mined for thousands of years by the Aranda people. It is still an important part of everyday and ceremonial life for the local Aboriginal people today.

Ochre Pits in the NT - Things to do in Alice Springs

 

KINGS CANYON RIM WALK

 

Kings Canyon is an unmissable destination in Australia’s Northern Territory. The iconic Rim Walk conquers the towering sandstone walls, ventures through The Lost City and the Garden of Eden and provides panoramic views of the vast red desert and valley of palm trees.

 

Hiking Kings Canyon was our top experience from our NT trip. For more information, check out our Kings Canyon Know Before You Go guide.

 

TODD MALL

 

Todd Mall, an outdoor pedestrian mall in the centre of town, offers a range of places to eat, shop and peruse, including many art galleries featuring collections of Aboriginal Art. If you are even a little bit interested in art, you could find yourself lost here for hours.



OLIVE PINK BOTANIC GARDENS

 

The Olive Pink Botanic Gardens were developed in the 1950s by Miss Olive Pink as a reserve for arid region plants. It is only a short drive from the centre of town and a perfect place to spend a peaceful morning. Explore the gardens and discover over 500 species of plant native to the Red Centre, and have fun spotting the many different birds, butterflies, reptiles and wallabies that call these gardens home. You can stop by the Visitors Centre to learn more about Miss Olive Pink or relax in The Bean Tree Café.

 


Things To Do in Alice Springs - Welcome to Alice sign

“WELCOME TO ALICE SPRINGS” SIGN

 

This landmark, located on the Stuart Highway on the south side of Alice, is a big, warm welcome for visitors driving into town. There is plenty of space to pull over and take the obligatory, iconic photo, marking the start of your time in the Red Centre.

 

There is also a lesser-known twin sign heading north out of town. This sign is marked on Google Maps as “Alice Springs Landmark”. Snapping both signs is a perfect way to bookend your adventures in Alice.


 

VISIT ULURU

 

Arguably one of the most iconic natural landmarks in Australia, Uluru is a destination everyone should experience in their lifetime. The ancient monolith is undoubtedly beautiful, with its vibrant colour and picturesque backdrop of the red central Australian desert. Even more powerful is the spiritual significance to the Anangu people, the traditional owners of the land.


Uluru is approximately 5.5 hours from Alice Springs, so we recommend staying overnight there if you can. For more information, check out our Top Things To Do in Uluru guide.

 

DOWNLOAD OUR GOOGLE MAPS

 

When planning our travel destinations, we pin our wishlist of sites to see and recommend places to eat and drink on Google Maps. We are then never lost for ideas when travelling, and we can easily share these lists for our friends and family to use too.

 

Click here to download our Google Maps for Top Things To Do In Alice Springs.

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