ABSOLUTELY AUSTRALIA TRAVEL GUIDE & DIRECTORY

Alice Springs

 

Surrounded by a red sand desert which stretches for hundreds of kilometres in all directions, Alice Springs is one of Australia’s most famous outback towns. Alice Springs is located approximately 1524 kilometres from Darwin and approximately 293 kilometres north of the South Australian border. It is 576 metres above sea level and is situated on the Todd River.

Australia's "Red Centre" offers magnificent landscapes, ancient cultures as well as every day modern comforts that you would expect in a town of this size. It is a magical place where doctors make house calls by plane, visitors take camel rides to dinner or go on romantic hot air balloon rides at sunrise, locals race their bottomless boats down dry river beds or you just try your luck at Lasseters Casino.

The Alice's History

The Todd River was first discovered and named in 1871 and only flows after heavy rains. The springs, after which the town is named lie to the north east of the town and were also discovered in 1871 by William Whitfield Mills and John Ross, surveyors for the Overland Telegraph.

Alice Springs was surveyed in 1888 and called Stuart, after the explorer, until 1933 when it was changed to Alice Springs. Before the Europeans arrived in the region, the area had been the home of the Aranda Aborigines for at least 10,000 years.

The population of Alice Springs was always small with it originally being used only as an outpost until the gold rush at Arltunga in 1902 which increased its population to about 50 people in 1927, and then with the introduction of the Central Australian Railway (The Ghan) in 1929 to 467 people.

Alice Springs is located approximately 1524 kilometres from Darwin and approximately 293 kilometres north of the South Australian border. It is 576 metres above sea level and is situated on the Todd River.

 

How to get there ...

Via Plane - Flying into Darwin from Asia- Qantas, Garuda Indonesia,Royal Brunei and from other Australian cities by Qantas or Virgin Blue. Alice Springs Airport is located approximately 16km south of the Alice Springs town centre along the Stuart Highway, and is serviced by airport minibus, taxi and backpacker pick-up services.
Train - The Ghan leaves Adelaide for Alice Springs twice a week.

 

Things To Do in Alice Springs (Mparntwe)

Alice Springs RSL Military Museum

War memorabilia from 1854 to the Timor conflict. View the pedal powered quadricycle gun carriage. Housed in the Alice Springs RSL Club on Schwartz Crescent.

Facilities
Car Park, Access Without Assistance for the Disabled, Parking for the Disabled, Toilet facilities for the Disabled, Public Toilet, Public Telephone


The Repeater Station

Entry Fees Apply
The repeater station is situated three kilometres to the north of Alice Springs. It is signposted as the Alice Springs Telegraph Reserve. It was the first European construction in central Australia when it was built between 1871-1872. The station consisted of the postmaster's residence, the telegraph room, an observatory, store room and barracks. The station closed in 1932. Located 4 kilometres north of Alice Springs.

Facilities
BBQ, Picnic Area, Bicycle Rack and Path, Car Park, Disabled Parking and Toilets, Guide, Cafe


Hermannsburg

Hermannsburg was first established as a German Lutheran mission in 1877. The missionaries started a school and learned the local Aboriginal Arrernte language.


Olive Pink Botanic Gardens

Australia's only arid zone botanic garden. The garden consists of 16 hectares and some 300 hundred Central Australia plant species in simulated habitats. Located on Barrett Drive.


Flynn Memorial Church

In memory of the founder of the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Located on the corner of Todd and Parsons Streets


Panorama 'Guth'

A 360 degrees landscape painting of Central Australian landscape by Henk Guth. The painting is 6 metres high and 60 metres around, featuring Ross River, Uluru and Palm Valley.


National Pioneer Women's Hall of Fame

Women's place in Australia's history. Located in the old courthouse in Hartley Street. Open Feb to December.


Minerals House

Geological displays - Hartley Street. Open Mon - Fri


Old Stuart Gaol

Constructed between 1907 - 1909 of stone and timber and remained in use until 1938. Located on Parsons Street. Open Mon - Fri 10am to 12.30 pm and 9.30 am to 12 noon Saturdays between Feb to Dec.


Anzac Hill

War memorial unveiled on 25th April 1934 (Anzac Day). Wonderful views over the town at sunrise and sunset. Located on Wills Terrace.

Facilities
Car Park, Access Without Assistance for the Disabled, Viewing Platform


Technology, Transport and Communications Museum

Memorial Drive


Stuart Town Cemetery

Original town cemetery with graves dating back to 1889. Located on George Crescent, Alice Springs.


School of the Air

Officially opened in 1951 educating outback children in a 1.3 million sq km radius. Located at 80 Head Street, Alice Springs.

Facilities
Car Park, Disabled Parking, Guide, Kiosk


Hartley Street School

Opened in 1929 and closed in 1965. Located on Hartley Street. Open 10am to 2.30 pm Mon - Fri


The Residency

Grand home completed in 1927 now contains displays of local history. Located on the corner of Parsons and Hartley Streets.


Adelaide House

Adelaide House was built between 1920-1926 and is Alice Springs first hospital. It had a unique cooling system of air tunnels and wet heshian bags - commonly known as a "Coolgardie Cooler". The walls are nearly 45 cm thick. A stone radio hut is located behind the main building. This is the place that Alfred Traeger and John Flynn made their first field radio transmission in 1926. It is also the site of the first field radio telegram in Australia. Located in Todd Mall.


Around the Railway Station

There are the old Railway Cottages which were built in 1929 and in the railway yard is the Gnoilya Tmerga or Wild Dog Rock which tells the story of an Aboriginal Legend.


Arltunga Historical Reserve

Historical building/memorial site. Remains of mines, miners camps and stone buildings from the gold rush days dating back to 1887. Located 110 kilometres East of Alice Springs, via Ross Highway

Facilities
Car Park, Picnic Area, Public Toilet, Access Without Assistance for the Disabled, Disabled Toilet Shaded Area, Visitor Information Area


Mbantua Art Gallery and Cultural Museum

Mbantua Art Gallery and Cultural Museum is home to one of the largest collections of Aboriginal art in Australia. Located on Gregory Terrace and specialising in indigenous art from the Utopia region of Central Australia. Art from over 100 Aboriginal artists are on display. Located at 71 Gregory Terrace, Alice Springs.


Ghan Preservation Society Museum

The museum houses the 'Old Ghan' which was replaced back in 1980. This coincided with the new standard gauge railway being completed from Tarcoola to Alice Springs. Rides can still be taken on the 'Old Ghan' to Ewaninga every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday departing at 10:15 am and returning at 4:34 pm. Tickets available at the museum ticket office.

Facilities
Tea Room, Book and Souvenir Shop, Ticket Office


Old Timers Traeger Museum

Photograph and memorabilia displays from early white settlement in central Australia


Frontier Camel Farm

Camel rides and tours, reptile house and museum.


The Date Farm

Australia's first commercial date farm. Relax in the refreshing palm garden.


Pitchi Richi Sanctuary

Entry Fees Apply
Open air museum established in 1955. Displays of William Ricketts' clay sculptures and lessons about the Dreamtime and bush tucker. Located on Palm Court, Alice Springs.


National Road Transport Hall of Fame

Trucks, vehicles and motor bikes of the past display.


Chambers Pillar Historical Reserve

A 40 metre high, single rock pillar on the Simpson Desert named by John Stuart in 1860. Best viewed at dawn or dusk.


Virginia Camel Farm

Located 94 kilometres south of Alice Springs on the Stuart Highway. Camel rides and safaris are available. The Magic Spark Radio Museum is also located here. It is a historic display of early forms of radio and telegraphy communication in the Northern Territory.


Alice Springs Reptile Centre

Is the largest reptile display in the Northern Territory. See huge perentie goannas, frilled neck lizards, thorny devils and many other fascinating reptiles as well as large and small pythons - inland taipans, brown, death adders, mulga (king brown) snakes and saltwater crocodiles. Located at 9 Stuart Terrace, Alice Springs.

Facilities
Car Park, Access Without Assistance for the Disabled, Guide, Interpretive Centre