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Smack bang in the middle of the desert, Alice Springs is the biggest town in Australia’s ‘Red Centre’ and a jumping-off point for exploring Uluru, the Larapinta Trail and the Aussie outback. Known as ‘Mparntwe’ to its Aboriginal population – the Arrernte – Alice Springs has a lot to see and do despite its remote location: national parks and desert, Indigenous culture, museums, the Todd River, and nightlife. Book your Alice Springs hotel with us and explore the rugged red heart of this sunburnt country.
The Arrernte people have called Alice Springs home for over fifty thousand years. John McDouall Stuart led an expedition through the area in 1862. A decade later, a station was built for the Overland Telegraph Line, the 3200 km milestone that connected Port Augusta with Darwin. In 1871, surveyor William Mills discovered a waterhole and named its location after Alice Todd, the wife of Charles Todd, South Australia’s telegraph superintendent.
This is your chance to see Uluru (Ayers Rock) for yourself! An important spiritual centre for the local Indigenous people, Uluru is a breathtaking sandstone rock that changes colour throughout the day. Nearby you’ll find the just-as-spectacular Kata Tjuta (The Olgas), made up of 36 red domed rocks. Uluru is a six-hour drive from Alice Springs, and you can take a road trip adventure along the National Highway, hop on a bus or book one of our Alice Springs to Ayers Rock flights.
Love to bushwalk or hike? If you’re up for a challenge, take on the Larapinta Trail, a six-day hike that starts at the old Alice Springs telegraph station and passes through 12 sections, past deserts, gorges, creeks and waterholes, on the back of the West MacDonnell Ranges.
You can also take your pick of smaller hikes, such as the 6km Rim Walk or the 2.4km Kathleen Springs Walk in scenic Kings Canyon, which is part of the Watarrka National Park. Kings Canyon is located between Alice Springs and Uluru, so it’s the perfect detour on your way to Ayers Rock. Check out its towering vertical cliffs and lush vegetation.
But you don’t have to leave town to spend time in nature. The Olive Pink Botanic Garden is in the middle of Alice Springs, and despite the arid ground, the place has 600 different Australian plants covering 16 hectares. Take a walk and you might see kangaroos or other wildlife just hanging out. The region has a selection of national parks, too, from Alice Springs Desert Park to Finke Gorge National Park, known for its red cabbage palms.
Don’t forget to check out Alice’s Aboriginal art galleries, interesting museums and range of nightclubs and bars.
Alice Springs has local art and gifts for sale, and two CBD shopping malls: Yeperenye Shopping Centre and Alice Plaza. Alice Plaza is at the top of Todd Mall, where you’ll find an outdoor market every second Sunday.
Dining in Alice Springs ranges from a steakhouse with cuts of croc, camel and kangaroo, to a circus-themed restaurant, to vegetarian and Asian cuisine. There are also tea houses and cafes where you can start a day of exploring with a caffeine hit or filling Aussie breakfast.
To save even more money on your Alice Springs trip, check out our cheap flights to Alice Springs. You can get around Alice Springs by taxi, bus or hire car. Don’t get stuck in the outback! Book your Alice Springs accommodation with us and see it in style for less.
Need insider tips on must-see attractions in Alice Springs? Check out our Alice Springs travel guide!
Hotels in Alice Springs start at AU$71 per night. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.