In the heart of Australia lies a city with a story to tell. Alice Springs calls to travellers with a sense of adventure and a curiosity about the mighty Outback. Upon arrival, you will be struck by the heat, red dust and intense remoteness of the city - and ready to explore. Refer to our Outback itinerary to do just that, and chop and change as you see fit to make the most of the time you have.
You can also drive to Alice instead and pick up a campervan in another city - try Darwin or Adelaide.
Welcome to Alice Springs
A commercial and cultural centre for the residents of the legendary Outback, Alice Springs is a vastly important outpost to this rugged and remote part of the Australian interior. More than a quarter of a million people live here and while you would not describe this town as pretty, you can see the attraction. It feels otherworldly and offers a gateway to arid, expansive landscapes that can send the imagination off into dreamland. Take a couple of days to have a look around and enjoy some cultural sights before you submit to the pull of the unknown.
Accommodation in Alice Springs
If you plan to pick up your motorhome rental as soon as you touch down in Alice, there are campgrounds and holiday parks on the outskirts of town ready to host your group of any size. Book ahead to ensure you don’t miss out on the grounds of choice. Hot tip: You can score some free pancakes if you stay at MacDonnell Range Holiday Park on any given Sunday.
If you’d prefer a couple of nights in the city before picking up your rental, The Alice is well equipped to house visitors with options to suit any budget. You should be able to find a cheap bed at the numerous hostels in the city. Try Alice Lodge Backpackers or Annie’s Place. Bed and Breakfasts tend to be located more towards the suburbs but don’t worry - the city isn’t large enough to get too far away from downtown. If you’re looking for luxury, top end chains located in the city and near the river such as Chifley and Lasseters offer four and five-star accommodation.
Notable events in Alice Springs
Small community events keep Alice Springs thriving all year long - local theatre, night markets, park playgroups, school fundraisers, yoga classes, etc - but there are a few annual events to look forward to:
April: Heritage Week - Learn about Alice Springs’ history, both native and pioneering.
April: XXXX Gold Alice Springs Cup Carnival - Enjoy five days of Outback racing at its finest, mixed with a lot of partying and fashion.
July: Lasseters Camel Cup - Enjoy this annual one-day carnival that puts camels through their paces.
September: Alice Desert Festival - Celebrate the region and its rich cultural landscape.
Dining out in Alice Springs
The Alice does not want for places to eat and drink. Dine quick and cheap at one of the many pizza and takeaway places. McDonald's always has your back but if you’re looking for a nice local option, try La Casalinga. Sit down at one of the numerous restaurants at Todd Mall: Sporties is your quintessential sports pub; or try Overlanders Steakhouse and get into the spirit of the Outback. Dine on steak from many an Australian animal - beef, croc, camel, emu or kangaroo.
You can also have a pint or two at Todd Mall or nearly any of the hotels in town - most are equipped with bars. Just don’t go walking around with it - public drinking is illegal here.
Alice Springs – The Geography, The Culture, The People
Alice Springs is central to everything in Australia, yet a long way from anything! A frontier town, its residents have learned to make do with what they have and have formed a rugged and resourceful group, who welcome those venturing that far inland. The community they have carved out of the dry and beautiful outback is becoming better connected to the outside world, but the ethos remains. The pioneering spirit of the community brings intrepid travellers to the town to hire campervans or cars and set off on their own adventure.
The original owners of the land are the Arrente people, and their culture, traditions and languages are part of everyday life in Alice Springs. The nearby Uluru and Kata Tjuta rock formations are sacred sites for aboriginal people, and tourists are invited to respectfully explore these and learn about the way of life for those who have called Australia home for many thousands of years.
Exploring Alice Springs And Its Surrounds
There are many ways to explore and things to do in the desert landscapes surrounding Alice Springs. Why not hop aboard a camel for a unique half-day journey? If dromedaries aren’t your thing, there are always quad bikes or motorcycles, as well as foot power. For a great overview, book a trip in a hot air balloon and see the interesting places and spaces from above.
Anzac Hill, high on the list of essential places to visit, overlooks the town centre and is a wonderful spot to get a view of the sunset or sunrise, or panoramic views of the town during the day. A war memorial on top pays tribute to those who served during World War I, and other wars involving Australia. Walk up the goat track or drive up Anzac Hill Road.
The Museum of Central Australia has a variety of exhibits on the natural and social history of the region, or the Araluen Arts and Cultural Centre which has galleries, a theatre and cinema to showcase local and aboriginal art. History can be further explored at the Telegraph Station Historical Reserve on the edge of town. This represents the very early stages of settlement in the area, and guided tours are available if you want to take a break from driving your camper hire.
Transport - Alice Springs
Public buses in Alice Springs run from Monday to Saturday, excluding public holidays. There is an extensive network covering the town and suburbs, colour coded to make getting around simple. The interchange is located on Railway Terrace.
There are plenty of airport shuttle options for those travelling by air, and tour buses like the Alice Wanderer visiting attractions such as Uluru and Kata Tjuta. Flights land and go to major Australian cities such as Perth, Melbourne and Sydney.
Greyhound buses connect Alice Springs with Darwin to the north and Adelaide to the south.
Rent a campervan for easy accommodation and the ability to travel on your own schedule.
Weather in Alice Springs
Hot and dry is the usual weather forecast, although in winter (June, July and August) it can be quite cold when the sun is not out - temperatures occasionally drop to freezing at night. It is classified as an arid desert climate, which means rainfall is rare and the amount can vary widely from year to year. Bring a hat and plenty of sunscreen, as clouds are not a common sight.
Alice Springs not your location of choice in Australia? Consider other options including a campervan hire from Canberra, Tasmania campervan rental or a rental from Cairns, Newcastle, or Brisbane.