A trip to Australia isn’t complete without experiencing the Red Centre. Fly into Alice Springs, to begin your Australian Outback adventure of a lifetime.
“The Alice” is a remote, colourful city characterised by red dust and rugged features. It’s a lively place full of personality, culture and history, and the gateway city to the Outback and renowned Uluru desert rock. Experience this city in all its unique glory, and then grab your motorhome rental and hit the desert road.
In this guide, you’ll find out what to do in the area, fun annual festivities to plan around and where to head next in your campervan hire. Plus, find more motorhome travel tips including information on local campsites, dump stations, and rest stops, on the ‘On the Road’ tab to the right of this page.
Itineraries beginning or ending in Alice Springs
Located in the heartland of Australia, Alice Springs is your gateway to the Red Centre. Grab your motorhome rental from the city and head north or south for one memorable road trip.
Red Centre Adventure: Adelaide to Darwin: (or Darwin to Adelaide)
Start from the tip top of Australia in Darwin, the southern coast in Adelaide, or smack dab in the middle of the desert in Alice Springs for a once-in-a-lifetime experience through the Red Centre. Take as little as 18 days or as many as 36 for this outback adventure. Traverse the Australian desert and visit Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park for a must-see sunset (and sunrise) at Uluru, a famed and sacred red rock in the middle of nowhere. You can stare in awe at ancient cave paintings, walk through the desert on the back of a camel, get your adrenaline pumping on a quad bike tour and much more when you opt for this fantastic route. If you make your way towards Darwin, stop by Katherine Gorge and Kakadu National Park, both exquisite natural landscapes where you can kayak, swim, camp, hike and more. Cruising south to Adelaide? Swing through Port Augusta visiting Wadlata Outback Centre and don’t miss cellar door hopping through Barossa Valley vineyards, an hour north of the state capital.
Don’t forget to read up on safety tips for driving through the Outback.
Annual Events in Alice Springs
This desert city is host to some of the coolest festivals in Australia. Try to time your visit to match up with one of the following events:
An art exhibition that awards one winner the Alice Prize. The winning national contemporary artist is chosen on opening night and their work is displayed for a month long at the Araluen Arts Centre. This event occurs every 2 years.
Celebrate the day Northern Territorians split from the Commonwealth governance with an explosion of fun. Hosted at the Anzac Oval, visitors can enjoy a free concert, chow down at food stalls and finish the night off with a massive firework display.
This annual fest allows attendees to encounter a futuristic utopia that stimulates guests with new experiences over three weeks. It’s a pop-up venue offering live entertainment, workshops, and food and drink.
Racing fans love the Red Centre NATS fest that features on and off-track competitions, and entertainment for 5 days held at the Alice Springs Inland Dragway and Blatherskite Park.
One of the coolest festivals happening in the Australian desert is the Parrtjima Light Festival, showcasing new artistic technology techniques using 300-million year old rocks as the canvas.
Image: Joanna Penn
What to do in Alice Springs
Spend a few days adventuring around Alice Springs. Here are a few activities worth checking out during your trip:
The history in the area is mind-blowing. Start by visiting the Australian Aboriginal art galleries to hear stories dating back 30,000 years and see rock carvings, body painting and ground designs. Then drop by Papunya Tula gallery and Araluen Arts Centre, followed by a stop at the Sounds of Starlight for a didgeridoo performance or book a workshop to learn to play the indigenous instrument.
Spend hours in the desert exploring national parks and learning about the Red Centre’s flora and fauna. Experience a desert oasis in Palm Valley, located in Finke Gorge National Park. Head there to hike, swim, camp, or book a 4WD adventure. It will take an entire day to travel to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, but it’s worth it! Catch a sunset at Uluru, the sacred red rock and stay for a night of mind-blowing star gazing.
Exploring the outdoors is why most tourists visit the Red Centre and the activities are endless. For a sweeping view of the city and MacDonnell Ranges climb up Anzac Hill or book a helicopter or hot air balloon ride to see the ranges from above. If you’re heading to Uluru, make sure to stop by Kings Canyon to find mesmerising red rock faces alongside dense palm forests where you can hike, book a camel or quad bike tour or a helicopter ride. It’s also a great spot to catch a sunrise or sunset.
Enjoy a wide-variety of international cuisine in Alice Springs including Indian, Italian and wild game meats such as crocodile, camel and kangaroo. Here’s a list of the best restaurants in town:
Helpful motorhome tips for your Alice Springs road trip
Read on for more information and articles to make your motorhome adventure one you’ll never forget.
For more information on what to do in Alice Springs and what vehicle to select for your holiday, read on.
This harsh environment is not for the ill-equipped or last second planners. Learn from Allan Whiting of Outback Travel Australia for safety tips on how to survive the Outback.
Love visiting national parks? Read about the top 5 Australian National Parks great for campervans.
Confused about the names and different styles of campervans available to rent? You are not alone. We break it down for you in our easy guide to campervan lingo.
Prefer less tourists on the open road? Try visiting in winter when you can save on motorhome rates, plus enjoy cooler weather in the typically hot sections of Australia.
For help with the eccentric Aussie language, read our guide “Traveler’s Guide to Australian Slang.”
Is this your first motorhome rental in Australia? Learn the essential tips for camping in Australia.