Alice Springs (or the Alice) received its name in 1933, although it developed in 1871 as a telegraph repeater station between Adelaide and Darwin. The town's development was slow, however, and the old road to Adelaide wasn't replaced until 1987. Although the town is fairly modern and a moderate size, it is set amongst the harsh outback, although ideally situated next to some of Australia's great wonders.
From the top of Anzac Hill you can get some great views overlooking Alice Springs and the Eastern MacDonnell Ranges and Western MacDonnell Ranges. By the Aboriginal people the hill is called Untyeyetweleye and is the home to the Corkwood Dreaming Story.
The town covers only about 5 blocks and is situated in-between the Todd River to the east, Anzac Hill to the north, Stuart Highway to the west and Stuart Terrace to the south. The main shops can be found on Todd Street, with a mall situated to the north of Todd Street. Todd Street also hosts numerous old buildings worth taking a look at. You should visit Adelaide House, and the John Flynn (founder of the Flying Doctor Service) Museum and Church. Getting around town is easy by foot, although there is also an Alice Wanderer that stops off at the major attractions around town.
The three main streets which cross Todd Street are Wills Terrace to the north, Parsons Street and Gregory Terrace in the middle and Stott Terrace to the south. Gregory Terrace is where you will find the tourist information. This is also where you can buy various permits if travelling through Aboriginal land. A few doors down from here there is also an Internet cafe, as well as more Internet access in some of the backpackers.
To find out more about the Arrente Aboriginal people in the area head to the Strehlow Research Centre. A huge vault in the centre contains many artifacts of Aborignal importance, and although these cannot be viewed there are plenty of things to see in the museum. You should also visit the Araluen Arts Centre, where you can see some of the work by Albert Namatjira, as well as Panorama Guth which hosts various Aboriginal artifacts.
Parsons Street is also home to some historic buildings, including the Old Courthouse, the Residence and the Stuart Town Gaol (the town's first official building, construction began in 1907 and officially completed in 1909, the Stuart Town Gaol was in service until 1938).
Also on Parsons Street is the Alice Springs YHA, which even if you are not staying at the YHA it is worth an inspection as it used to be the Pioneer Theatre.
Just south of Stott Terrace is Stuart Terrace, the home of a number of attractions including the Royal Flying Doctors Service which contains an interesting museum, cafe, souvenir shop and offers the opportunity to view the Radio Communication Centre and gain an insight into the history and day to day operations of the service. The RFDS is open everyday (not Sunday am).
Just opposite is The National Pioneer Women's Hall of Fame, which is located within the Old Alice Springs Gaol. In 1993, Molly Clark founded The National Pioneer Women's Hall of Fame to showcase the great contributions made by women in the development of Australia.
If you follow Stott terrace to the other side of Todd River you will get to the Olive Pink Botanic Garden hosting Central Australia's native plantlife. There are plenty of other things to do in and around Alice, including camel riding, horse riding, hot air ballooning, as well as visiting the other nearby places of interest. There are also numerous tours that you can take around Alice itself, as well as to Ayers Rock, Kings Canyon and the MacDonnell Ranges. Between May and August Alice also hosts numerous events and festivals which shouldn't be missed.
Transport enthusiasts will love it, although so should anyone else who visits, as there is a very interesting collection.
There is plenty of accommodation in Alice, mainly situated around the central area. This ranges from backpackers to luxury hotels and apartments. There area also several eating places around town, although many shut reasonably early and don't open until late, so buy your own snacks if heading off early in the morning, or munchies for those late nights on the town. If you want some local entertainment then head to The Settlers for some outback tales, or Sound of Starlight Theatre for a musical outback show.
If you want to travel in style then hop aboard the Ghan which leaves from Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. If you want to take your own transport, but don't want to drive, then this could be the best option for you. However, once in Alice you can hire cars from all of the main car hire companies, who have offices in the airport or in town.
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Destinations within Red Centre
|Other Red Centre Destinations|
|Aileron||Alice Springs||Barrow Creek|
|Eastern MacDonnell Ranges||Hermannsburg||Kata Tjuta|
|Kings Canyon||Simpson Desert||Ti Tree|
|Wauchope||Western MacDonnell Ranges|