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Young man and women sitting on beach in front of Apollo rental campervan

 
Alyssa Tresider
/ Categories: AU Blog

Things to do in Alice Springs.

Are you ready to swap your couch for a campervan and hit the red-dust roads of Alice Springs? Whether you're a family rolling through in a campervan looking for family-friendly things to do in Alice Springs, a solo traveller with a thirst for culture, or a bunch of mates chasing the great Australian outdoors, Alice Springs is the ultimate Outback playground for your adventure.

In this blog, we're not just spilling the beans on the best things to do in Alice Springs, Australia; we're serving them up with a side of Aussie spirit and heaps of handy campervan tips. From pedalling through the scenic bike trails, walking down memory lane of the Old Telegraph Station, and feasting at Todd Mall Market – your Outback adventure awaits! Let’s dive in, shall we?

 

What you need to know when visiting Alice Springs

First off, let's talk basics. If you’re wondering ‘why do people go to Alice Springs’... well, let’s set the record straight. Alice Springs isn't just your average Outback town; Alice is the beating heart of Australia's Red Centre. It’s a place where the skies are as wide as the locals' smiles. If you're planning to explore Alice Springs, you’re in for a treat, and we're here to guide you through everything from Alice Springs weather to the best campervan park ups and everything in between. 

 

The weather in Alice Springs

During summer (December to February), you can expect the Alice Springs weather to be hotter than a BBQ at midday – ranging from 20 to a sizzling 35 degrees Celsius (and it's not uncommon for it to rise above a scorching 45 degrees!) Come winter (June to August), the Alice Springs weather flips, dropping to a crisp 4-20 degrees. Nights are so cold you’ll wish you had a kangaroo to cuddle up with, so be sure to pack layers! Remember, Alice Springs is in the desert, so it’s important to come prepared for the extremes.

Image: Lachlan Gardiner

 

When to visit Alice Springs

So, when's the best time to steer your campervan towards Alice Springs, Australia? If you're not a fan of melting like an ice cream in the Outback sun, autumn (March to May) is your best bet. The weather's milder, but like a popular campsite, it can get crowded, so it’s wise to book your campervan hire and Alice Springs accommodation in advance. Whether you're chasing the sun or escaping it, remember, in Alice Springs, every season has its own magic.

 

What’s the best way to explore Alice Springs?

Now, let's get down to the nitty-gritty: exploring Alice Springs and the best Alice Springs tourist attractions. And what better way to do that than in an Apollo campervan? Imagine waking up to a different breathtaking view every morning, from the rugged MacDonnell Ranges to the iconic Uluru. A campervan gives you the freedom to roam and the versatility to explore hidden gems (not to mention it's kinder to your wallet than a regular hotel.) And for the adventurous souls, Apollo's got you covered with their 4WD camper options, perfect for conquering the more rugged terrains of Alice Springs. Whether you’re a family on a road trip or a couple seeking an Outback adventure, a campervan is your ticket to an unforgettable Alice Springs experience. Looking for a bit of road trip inspiration for a larger Australia travel itinerary? Here are some of our most loved Alice Springs itineraries to check out: 

 

The best things to do in Alice Springs

Now that you're all set with the essentials, let's jump into the heart of the matter – the best things to do in Alice Springs. This town is a vibrant canvas of activities, sights, and experiences. Whether you're here for the art, the trails, or the sheer joy of Outback adventure, Alice Springs is bound to surprise you at every turn.

 

1. Check out the art galleries

Alice Springs is a hub for art enthusiasts, especially those who appreciate Aboriginal artwork. The town is home to numerous art galleries, each showcasing a unique aspect of indigenous art and culture. One of the highlights is the Iltja Ntjarra Art Centre, renowned for its authentic Hermannsburg Watercolours by local Arrernte artists. This art centre provides a unique opportunity to not only view but also to purchase these distinctive watercolour landscapes, which reflect the deep connection between the Aboriginal people and their land.

Another notable mention is the Araluen Arts Centre, where the works of Albert Namatjira, one of Australia's most famous Aboriginal artists, are displayed. These galleries are the perfect mix of artistic and educational experiences and provide deep insights into the ancient stories and traditions of the Aboriginal people. Discover more about Alice Springs' vibrant art scene by visiting Northern Territory's guide to local art galleries. Regardless of which centre you visit to see local Aboriginal art in Alice Springs, immersing yourself in these artistic expressions is a fast-track way to understand the heart and soul of the Territory and its people.

 

2. Rent a bike and hit the trails 

For those who prefer active holidays, renting a bike and hitting the trails is a perfect choice for things to do in Alice Springs. The region offers a variety of cycling paths that cater to all levels, from leisurely rides to more challenging mountain bike trails. One of the most popular trails is the Simpsons Gap Bike Path, a 17-kilometre route that takes you through stunning landscapes and offers a chance to encounter local wildlife like kangaroos and wallabies.

Another great option is the Larapinta Trail, which, although more known for hiking, offers sections that are bike-friendly. While Apollo campervans are a fantastic way to travel around Alice Springs, they aren't equipped with bike racks. Fortunately, My Ride Alice Springs provides bike rental services, allowing you to rent a bike for a day to set out on these scenic rides. 

 

3. Take a day trip to Uluru

A visit to Alice Springs is incomplete without a day trip to the iconic Uluru (also known as the less traditional term Ayers Rock). This massive sandstone monolith is a spectacular natural formation and a deeply spiritual place for the Anangu, the traditional Aboriginal owners of the land. Uluru stands majestically about 450 kilometres southwest of Alice Springs, making it an accessible day trip from Alice Springs to Uluru for those with a campervan or motorhome.

The Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park offers plenty of activities, from guided walks around the base of Uluru to learning about the local flora, fauna, and Aboriginal culture at the cultural centre. Witnessing the sunrise or sunset at Uluru is a breathtaking experience, with the rock changing colours under the shifting light.

 

4. Wander the Todd Mall Market

Immerse yourself in the local vibe of Alice Springs by wandering through the Todd Mall Markets, a bustling hub of activity and colour in the town centre. This vibrant market is a paradise for those who love crafts, local art, jewellery, and delicious food. Stroll through the stalls to find unique handmade products, from intricately designed jewellery to Aboriginal art and crafts.

Nestled amidst various cafes, art galleries, and boutiques, Todd Mall is also the perfect spot to experience the town's pulse. The market operates on select dates throughout the year, so be sure to check their schedule at the Todd Mall Markets website to plan your visit. A day at the Todd Mall Market is a delightful way to connect with the local community and pick up unique souvenirs.

 

5. See the Old Telegraph Station

Step back in time with a visit to the Old Telegraph Station in Alice Springs. This historical site marks the original location of the first European settlement in Alice Springs and played a crucial role in bridging the communication gap between Australia's interior and the rest of the world via the overland telegraph line to Adelaide. Today, the beautifully preserved buildings of the Old Telegraph Station offer a glimpse into the life and challenges of the early settlers and telegraph operators. To get the most out of this experience, be sure to time your arrival with one of the daily guided tours (included in the entry fee.) Don't forget to stop by the Trail Station Cafe for a refreshing drink or a bite to eat. 

 

6. Visit the Women’s Museum of Australia

The Women's Museum of Australia, located in the heart of Alice Springs town centre, is one of the most unique and inspiring Alice Springs attractions. Its mission? To celebrate the achievements and contributions of Australian women. Housed in the historic Old Gaol on Gaol Road, this museum in Alice Springs provides a profound insight into the lives of women who have shaped the nation's history and culture.

Here, you'll encounter a range of exhibits that span various aspects of women's history, from pioneering efforts in the Outback to significant contributions in various fields like science, arts, and politics. The museum also sheds light on the stories of indigenous women and their vital role in Australian society. The museum is easily accessible from the Alice Springs town centre. Whether you're travelling by campervan or wandering in on foot, it's just a short journey to Gaol Road, where the museum is located. 

 

7. Explore the Solar Centre

The Solar Centre in Alice Springs (DKASC) offers a unique and futuristic experience that perfectly complements the traditional and natural things to do in Alice Springs, Australia. Located at the Desert Knowledge Precinct on South Stuart Highway, it's a short 10-minute drive from the Alice Springs town centre, making it easily accessible for those exploring the area in a motorhome or 4WD campervan.

What sets the Solar Centre apart is that it showcases over 40 installations – making it one of the most diverse solar photovoltaic (PV) installations in the world. Overall, the centre demonstrates how solar power is harnessed in remote areas, highlighting Alice Springs' position as a leader in solar energy research and development. Admission to the Solar Centre is free and is an enlightening addition to any Alice Springs travel itinerary for anyone interested in renewable energy and sustainability.

 

8. See Adelaide House Museum

The Adelaide House Museum, located in the Todd Mall in the heart of Alice Springs, is a fascinating destination for history buffs and curious travellers alike. Initially designed by the famous Reverend John Flynn, known as the founder of the Royal Flying Doctor Service (also the guy on your Aussie $20 bill), the Adelaide House Museum showcases a range of medical equipment and historical artifacts that tell the story of healthcare in the remote Outback. The museum was the location of the first hospital in the town, so provides great insights into the life and work of Flynn and the early European settlers in the region. The Adelaide House Museum can be accessed by a short walk or drive from any part of Alice Springs, making it a convenient road trip stop for those touring Alice Springs town centre in a campervan. 

Image: Lachlan Gardiner

 

Where to stay in Alice Springs

After a day of exploring the wonders of Alice Springs tourist attractions, you'll likely be searching for a spot to park your campervan and rest up for the next day's adventures. Thankfully, there are plenty of places to stay in Alice Springs that are perfect for the occasion. Whether you're looking for a spot with all the modern amenities or a more natural, serene setting, you'll find the perfect place to stay in this vibrant Outback town. Let's explore some of the best places to stay in Alice Springs for your Alice Springs camper road trip.

 

Alice Springs Caravan and Holiday Park

Discovery Parks - Alice Springs Caravan & Holiday Park is a top choice for travellers looking for comfort and convenience. Located on Palm Place, just a short drive from the Alice Springs town centre, it is a perfect base for exploring local attractions like the Todd Mall Market and the Old Telegraph Station.

The park boasts a range of top-tier facilities, including a swimming pool, BBQ areas, and a kids' playground, making it ideal for families. For those seeking more luxurious accommodations or a night away from the camper, there are deluxe cabins available. Plus, its proximity to key Alice Springs tourist attractions and other activities makes it a convenient choice for places to stay in Alice Springs when travelling in a campervan.

 

Alice Springs Tourist Park

Another great option for places to stay in Alice Springs is the Alice Springs Tourist Park, renowned for its friendly atmosphere and excellent facilities. Located on Larapinta Drive, it's a stone's throw away from Alice Springs town centre, offering easy access to its myriad attractions.

The park features amenities such as a swimming pool, camp kitchen, an on-site mini-mart, and laundry facilities, ensuring a comfortable stay. The park's central location makes it a convenient choice for those looking to explore Alice Springs and its surroundings.

 

Heritage Caravan Park

For a more tranquil setting, consider the Heritage Caravan Park. Situated on Ragonesi Road, it offers a peaceful environment, away from the hustle and bustle of the Alice Springs town centre but still within easy reach of Alice Springs' tourist attractions.

This park stands out for its natural setting, surrounded by native flora and fauna, providing a true Outback experience. Facilities include a swimming pool, BBQ areas, and a camp kitchen. It's a fantastic option for those seeking a quieter stay, with the added bonus of experiencing the natural beauty of the region.

 

Is Alice Springs next on your travel list?

From immersing yourself in the Aboriginal art of Alice Springs at the Iltja Ntjarra Art Centre to circumnavigating the natural wonder of Uluru, this vibrant town in Australia's Red Centre is a must-visit for any traveller looking to experience the best of the Northern Territory. Whether you're cycling through the picturesque trails, delving into history at the Old Telegraph Station, or browsing the lively Todd Mall Market, there are plenty of things to see in Alice Springs. Is Alice Springs next on your travel list? Then book your camper from Apollo today and pick it up from any Apollo branch to begin your Outback adventure!

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