The local Aboriginal tribe is the Arrente and they have lived in the area for over 20,000 years, there is much to discover learn from the Aboriginal culture. Many of Alice Springs heritage attractions are within walking distance, these include the Aboriginal Arts & Culture Centre, the Reptile Centre, three art galleries featuring works of local aboriginal artists, the Museum of Central Australia and the Royal Flying Doctor Service base.
The predominant colour of this part of Australia is red, from the sand and dust. There is much to see of natural beauty including the MacDonnell and James Ranges, Standley Chasm, Kings Canyon and mysterious meteorite craters. The Alice Springs Desert Park has displays of desert animals, plants and aboriginal culture.
Red Centre Way tourism drive
Beginning in Alice Springs, the Red Centre Way links the Northern Territory’s world-renowned landmarks of Uluru (Ayers Rock), Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) and Watarrka National Park (Kings Canyon). The drive stretches alongside the West MacDonnell Ranges and will have travellers immersed in this area’s cultural and natural history.
East and West MacDonnell Ranges
Surrounding Alice Springs is an ancient mountain range that glows red in the evening light – a picturesque backdrop to the town. The MacDonnell Ranges are divided into East and West and feature gorges, chasms, walking trails and swimming holes. While the West Macs are more popular and accessible, the appeal of the East MacDonnell Range is its remoteness and cultural significance.
The early pioneers used camels to travel through the Northern Territory’s harsh terrain. You can ride a camel to dinner in Alice Springs. For the more intrepid travellers, treks on these ancient ‘ships of the desert’ across the Simpson Desert, or into the surrounding outback of Alice Springs can be booked with local tour companies.
Alice Springs Desert Park
A great introduction to Central Australia, the Desert Park showcases the natural and cultural environment of the Red Centre in three desert habitats. Professional guides, including local Aboriginal people, share stories of the region. There are displays of free-flying birds of prey, close viewing of unique and rare animals in the nocturnal house and interpretation of the plants, animals and people of the Australian deserts.
Alice Springs owes its existence to a cross-section of plucky pioneers and today, travellers can ponder various historic milestones at a number of key heritage sites in and around the town. Visit the Overland Telegraph Station, the National Road Transport Hall of Fame, the original base of the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the School of the Air.
Photos courtesy of Tourism NT