As the gateway to some of Australia’s most iconic landscapes, Alice Springs is often passed through on the way to Uluru (Ayers Rock) and the MacDonnell Ranges; however, there’s much more here than meets the eye. Here are a few ways to spend one day in Alice Springs.
Morning: Soar Over the Desert
Start your day bright and early with a hot-air balloon ride. Excursions typically depart before dawn, when the sky is starry and the air is cool, and allow you to watch sunrise over the ancient red land. With luck, you might even spot native wildlife such as red kangaroos from above.
Alternatively, active travelers can opt for a bike tour through the outback and along some of the best bike trails in Australia. Some tours combine adventure with culture by making stops at local cafes and galleries that exhibit indigenous artists.
Afternoon: Discover the Outback
In the afternoon, discover the dispersed highlights of Alice Springs with ease on a sightseeing tour, which typically cover the historic Overland Telegraph Station, the ultra-remote Royal Flying Doctor Service base, and the School of the Air. Tours often also include a visit to Alice Springs Reptile Park and take in sweeping views of the West MacDonnell Ranges from the top of Anzac Hill.
If you’d prefer to go off the beaten path, choose a tour of the West MacDonnell Ranges by 4WD vehicle. These tours typically visit Simpsons Gap, the Standley Chasm, and the aboriginal rock art of Emily Gap.
Night: Ride a Camel into the Sunset
Round out your day in Alice Springs with a sunset camel ride. As you ride along red sand tracks and through forest trails, you’ll have the chance to spot native wildlife such as kangaroos and wallabies. If wildlife is your main interest, there’s also the option of an evening tour of the Alice Springs Desert Park, which increases your chances of spotting creatures such as echidna and mala (rufous-hare wallaby) as they become active after dark.
Afterward, head for the town center for dinner. Alice Springs is home to a surprisingly diverse array of restaurants, which serves everything from modern Australian cuisine to Thai and tapas.