Having never actually been to the NT at all prior to our trip, I really didn’t know what to expect – apart from a lot of desert! But I was absolutely blown away by just how beautiful and how much there was on offer in and around Alice Springs.
Even just flying in across from the East Coast is the most spectacular view, so make sure you’ve got the window seat on the way in! We flew with Qantas, who fly once a day from Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide (plus some Qantas Link from other destinations). Car hire is available from the airport and a 4WD is the best way to go. Around $400 for a 5 day hire.
We stayed at the Crowne Plaza Lasseters, which is only a short walk from town. It’s a huge hotel with a variety of accommodation options, but we stayed in one of their two story apartments which had two separate rooms and bathrooms – perfect for a family of 4-5! There was a big pool area with several pools, plus a bar poolside 😉 The DoubleTree by Hilton was right next door and that looked nice also.
If you are planning a trip to the Red Centre, I would suggest at least 3-4 days as there really is son much to see and do! In the 3 days we were there we covered A LOT, but still so much we wanted to see and do we just couldn’t fit in! But there were my favorite spots we visited. One thing you’ll notice is that this beautiful part of Australia just has so much to offer naturally that almost everything is little to no cost!!
Experience The Parrtjima Light Festival
This really is one of the most amazing experiences and things I’ve ever seen! Parrtjima is the only authentic Aboriginal light festival of its kind. The annual festival takes over Alice Springs with ten nights of light installations from a number aboriginal artists set against the majestic MacDonnell Ranges. and best of all the entire festival is FREE.
Every year is also different so if you fall in love with the place like I did then you’ll likely be back!!
Check Out Alice Spring Desert Park
This place is really something special and has so much to offer. We first went and checked out their epic bird show, where you get up super close and personal with many of our birds of prey, plus some cute little local fellas. The kids really enjoyed it!
We also got the chance to forage for bush foods, learn about the local landscape and how the indigenous people of this land learn and live from the land. It’s a really great education experiences that the kids will love.
Take a Picnic & Explore The West McDonnell Ranges
Like I mentioned you might need a few days to check out all that’s on offer. There are dozens of beautiful spots to stop, and you’ll want to just set up camp for the whole day at your first stop no doubt because it’s so serene. I will note that there is not much out this way in way of food and petrol so make sure you’ve got a full tank and also pack a picnic. Stop somewhere like Glen Helen and set up along the water front!
Go Swimming at Ellery Creek Big Hole or Ormiston Gorge
It’s hard to imagine that you can pack your togs and sun-bake in the sand next to some beautiful watering holes. We first stopped at Ellery Creek Big Hole and I honest;y could have just spent the day here. It’s perfect for kids also because it’s so still and sandy bottoms to walk out in. Same goes for Ormiston Gorge, another gorgeous spot and well worth the drive. I’ll let the photos do the talking on this one!
Walk Through Standleys Chasm
This was the one suggestion we got from my husbands Mum, and I’m so glad we listened. There is a small entry fee, but absolutely worth it to see this wonder the Alice has to offer. It’s about a 900m easy walk (kids did it fine) and apparently the best time to go is midday when the sun shines thorough. We went late in the arvo and I still think it was pretty special.
Cuddle Baby Animals & Meet Kangaroo Dundee
This is an absolute MUST DO, you cannot come to Alice Springs and not meet Brolga aka Kangaroo Dundee and the infamous Rodger! As well as get to cuddle some gorgeous little joeys who had sadly been rescued when their mamas became road kill.
Just meeting Brolga and seeing his love and passion for his work and his love for these Kangaroos is enough to break the toughest of tough!
Note that this is not a place you can just pop into, you must book a tour and they are only held at dusk!
Pay Your Respects at ANZAC HILL
One of the best spots to look out over Alice Springs and The West MacDonnell Ranges. It is also a fascinating spot to learn about Australia’s involvement in wars around the world. Just a short drive up the hill, completely walk able and the kids enjoyed being able to look out and run around!
As you guys can tell there is absolutely LOADS to see and do. A lot at no cost! We absolutely didn’t get to see all that is on offer and next time I’d absolutely love to hope on a Camel Rid and Hot Air Ballooning at sunrise, we saw a few up when we visited the Kangaroo Sanctuary and it looks pretty bloody cool!