Bustling cities and crowded streets might be some people’s idea of a holiday – but for many of us, getting away from the chaos of everyday life is exactly the kind of holiday we need. Alice Springs – in Australia’s famous Red Centre, is renowned for its year round blue skies and serene natural beauty. There are so many things to see and do in The Alice, whether it’s camping, four-wheel driving, or hiking across the breathtaking bushland there’s something here for everyone to enjoy. It’s a place to relax and forget about the rest of the world. Here is a selection of some of the best things to see and do in Alice Springs.
Imagine floating up in the sky, the vast escarpment below, the sunrise forming a backdrop overhead and the rocky ridges of the MacDonnell Ranges illuminated beneath you. Hot air ballooning is a relaxing way to wake up and experience Alice Springs, spending a few hours immersing yourself in the mystical tranquillity of this magnificent land. Outback Ballooning is the only established company that specialises in hot air ballooning in remote outback Australia. They operate in the morning everyday, weather permitting. Their fleet of large balloons can carry up to 20 passengers and the reliable desert weather means they have the lowest cancellation rates in the world. You can reserve a flight online or book a gift certificate for a friend or family member. All flights are followed by a picnic breakfast and refreshments.
Camp in Rainbow Valley
Rainbow Valley is a spectacular setting for an overnight camping trip far away from the cares of modern living. There are sheer cliffs of multi-coloured rock to explore which are more spectacular during certain parts of the day when the rock changes colour. Many of the tours around Rainbow Valley begin in Alice Springs, and discuss in-depth the Aboriginal significance of these majestic formations. If you’re keen for bird watching, some of the most strikingly unique birds dot the sky and hide among the trees in Rainbow Valley, making the walking tracks the perfect spot to quietly bird watch for hours.
Rainbow Valley Conservation Reserve has a great campsite located 75km south from Alice Springs, which can only be accessed by 4WD vehicles. There is no charge to camp at Rainbow Valley Reserve but camping facilities are quite basic with pit toilets, gas barbecues and a picnic area. You will need to bring your own food, firewood and water.
Experience Aboriginal Culture
The Australian outback is more than just a vast empty landscape. There are many hidden wonders with a unique and sacred history. According to the Arrernte people of Alice Springs, the jagged rock formation known as the MacDonnell Ranges was formed in the Dreamtime by giant caterpillars. You can find ancient Aboriginal rock art at Emily Gap which tells the story of the three giant caterpillars. The Indigenous people have developed a rich culture bound in respect for the land. Witness the MacDonnell Ranges for yourself and you’ll come to appreciate their spiritual significance.
Relax by a swimming hole
Australia may be an arid land but it’s not without surprises. There are plenty of picturesque swimming holes in the Alice Springs area to cool off in with plenty of trees to seek shade under in the hot sun. Swimming holes are located at Ellery Creek, Ormiston Gorge, Glen Helen Gorge and Redbank Gorge in the West Macdonnell Ranges.
Sample a traditional Australian cuisine
The Australian climate makes for a good outdoor barbecue every day of the week. Australian delicacies include prawns, barramundi, mud crabs, kangaroo meat and a side of fresh leafy salad. There are other slightly more exotic options including emu, crocodile and buffalo with damper. You can wash down the exotic fare with a locally-produced fruit-based wine, a crisp sauvignon blanc or rich red as per your tastes.