3 days in Alice Springs
This three-day trip will show you around the bustling and sophisticated metropolis set against the majestic MacDonnell Ranges. Alice Springs is the starting point for your expedition. It's only a 3.5-hour flight from most Australian capital cities, and it's also accessible by road via the famed Ghan train. This three-day trip will show you around the bustling and sophisticated metropolis set against the majestic MacDonnell Ranges. You'll be enticed by the town's rich history as well as the town's historic and significant Aboriginal art and culture.
Start your engines
If you have arrived in Alice Springs by any method other than driving, the first thing you should do is hire a vehicle for the journey. There's a lot to see and do in and around Alice Springs, and having your own reliable form of transportation will ensure you don't miss out.
First stop, Alice Springs Desert Park
Make the Alice Springs Desert Park your first stop. The Desert Park, located on Larapinta Drive, is a must-see for all visitors to the Red Centre. In the dim light of the nighttime house, spot rare and endangered species, and learn about the star attractions at the ‘free-flying birds of prey' display. You'll be able to observe the desert come to life here. Take a walk along the 1.6-kilometer trail to see three different ecological regions within the park. Throughout the day, there will be informative seminars, including one on Aboriginal Survival. Enjoy a leisurely stroll through the park before relaxing with a drink at the onsite café.
Alice Springs Desert ParkAlice Springs Desert Park, Larapinta Drive, Alice Springs NT, Australia
Take in the history at the Telegraph Station Historical Reserve
Get your body going on a mountain biking tour that departs from the Trail Station at the Alice Springs Telegraph Station Historical Reserve. Every day at 2:30 p.m., tours depart with all gear provided and are led by an experienced local rider. If you give the company 24 hours' notice, you can schedule a time that is convenient for you. There is no requirement for prior experience; this is a fun hobby for people of all ages.
Alice Springs Telegraph Station Historical ReserveAlice Springs Telegraph Station Historical Reserve, Herbert Heritage Drive, Stuart NT, Australia
Make your way to your lodging. In Alice Springs, there are a variety of lodging options available, ranging from luxurious hotel rooms to camping under the stars. Choose your favorite and get a good night's sleep in preparation for a big day tomorrow.
Take a hot air balloon journey to get away from it all.
Take to the skies in a hot air balloon early in the morning for a spectacular bird's eye view over Alice Springs and the Red Centre. Keep a look out for native animals and the famed Red Kangaroo as you glide into an outback morning of pastel blues, purples, and yellows.
Indulge your senses at Olive Pink Botanic Garden
When your feet are firmly planted on the ground again, it's time to treat yourself to a cooked breakfast at the Bean Tree Café, which is located in the Olive Pink Botanic Garden. It's Australia's only desert zone botanic garden, and it's the ideal spot for a relaxing breakfast or lunch in the natural setting. Take a walk around the pathways to explore the hundreds of plant species native to the Red Centre, or look for some of the 80 bird species that have been documented at the park.
Olive Pink Botanic GardenOlive Pink Botanic Garden, Tuncks Road, Alice Springs NT, Australia
Be inspired by the early pioneers
The Royal Flying Doctor Service is the next stop. Step inside a full-size reproduction of a modern PC-12 airplane, part of the fascinating new collection, and engage with the interactive displays. You'll learn about the legendary Australian outback service, which was founded by pioneers in 1928. There is an onsite café where you may dine under the original verandah while seeing Alice Springs' famous blue skies. Relax with a cup of coffee made specifically for the RFDS by a local coffee roaster. The onsite RFDS Doc Shop sells the ‘Flying Doctor Coffee,' so be sure to buy some up to take home with you while perusing their other goodies!
Royal Flying Doctor Service Alice Springs Tourist FacilityRoyal Flying Doctor Service Alice Springs Tourist Facility, Stuart Terrace, Alice Springs NT, Australia
Meet new scaley friends
At the Reptile Centre, which has the largest reptile display in Central Australia, it's now time to get up up and personal with some of the Northern Territory's favorite wildlife. You can meet Terry the Saltwater Crocodile here, as well as view massive perentie goannas, thorny devils, frill-neck lizards, and some of the world's most dangerous snakes. Join one of the daily performances to learn more about lizards and pythons, followed by a supervised handling session - a great photo op!
Reptile CentreReptile Centre, Stuart Terrace, The Gap NT, Australia
Enjoy a bush tucker meal beneath the stars
Enjoy a unique dinner prepared in the wilderness and served under the Milky Way. For this stunning three-course lunch situated in the West MacDonnell Ranges, your host, a local Arrernte man, will expose you to bush delicacies and traditional cuisine.
Soak up the spirituality of Simpsons Gap
Get to know the surroundings of Alice Springs by taking the Larapinta Road 18 kilometers west of Alice Springs to Simpsons Gap, a magnificent opening between the West MacDonnell Ranges' high rocks. The place is also sacred to the Arrernte Aboriginal people, as it is where various dreaming routes and legends intersect.
Simpsons GapSimpsons Gap, Burt Plain NT, Australia
See the beauty of Ellery Creek Big Hole
Continue along Larapinta Drive, turning right into Namatjira Drive to reach Ellery Creek Big Hole, where you can cool yourself in the water. This is one of the region's most popular and beautiful swimming, camping, and picnic places. When you see the magnificent waterhole surrounded by huge red cliffs and a sandy brook, you'll understand why.
Ellery Creek Big HoleEllery Creek Big Hole, Namatjira NT, Australia
Lunch at Glen Helen Lodge
Stop at Glen Helen Lodge as you continue west. The scenery around Glen Helen is breathtaking, with towering sandstone walls greeting you as you approach. With so much excellent cuisine on the menu for lunch, you'll be spoilt for choice - but few people can resist the famed Glen Helen Burger. Relax on the restored homestead's rear verandah, which overlooks the spectacular Glen Helen Gorge, while eating lunch and sipping a nice beverage. Sign up for a 4WD trip or a picturesque helicopter flight to see more of the area if you're feeling brave.
Discovery Parks - Glen HelenDiscovery Parks - Glen Helen, Namatjira Drive, Alice Springs NT, Australia
See Alice by camel
Return to Alice Springs just in time for a sunset camel ride at Pyndan Camel Tracks. A camel ride will undoubtedly be an unforgettable event that you will want to share with your friends. The camel journey begins at Pyndan Camel Tracks, continues via White Gums Station, then crosses a clay pan flat through an avenue of Iron Bark and Mulga trees. One of Pyndan's camel specialists will accompany you on your ride and explain you all about these fascinating animals. As the sun sets, the ride and your voyage come to a close with breathtaking vistas of the blazing MacDonnell Ranges.