Alice Springs, the Outback & Ayers Rock - Abbey Travel Experts - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Alice Springs

Alice Springs

Alice Springs is the second largest town in the Northern Territory after Darwin. Alice Springs is situated on the dry Todd River on the northern side of the MacDonnell Ranges. It is just a day trip from the iconic attractions of  Uluru (Ayers Rock), MacDonnell Ranges and Kings Canyon.  It offers a range of activities including Quad Biking, Camel Tracks, Emu runs to the Aboriginal culture centre.  A hot air balloon ride will give you a different perspective on the vast size of the outback. The MacDonnell Ranges are a series of mountain ranges that stretch hundreds of kilometres and have beautiful scenery of gaps and gorges.  There are also pools where you can cool down and take a dip.  Keep an eye out for rock wallabies.  The Kings Canyon is part of the Watarrka National Park. Its walls are over 300 metres high.  Part of this gorge is an Aboriginal sacred site & visitors are discouraged from walking off the trails.  There are two walks you can do, the first is a 2km and takes about 1 hour and the second is a 6km loop, which takes about 3-4 hours. There are different types of accommodation from backpacker’s hostels to hotel’s or apartment accommodation.

Information & Facts


The climate of Alice Springs is arid, being hot, dry and dusty nearly all year round, except for winter nights, which can have temperatures dramatically plummeting to below freezing. Summers are blistering with the mercury regularly rising to over 104ºF (40ºC), with winter daytime temperatures remaining warm. Rain is infrequent and unpredictable, with heavy showers occurring sometimes during summer.

Getting Around

Alice Springs town centre covers only about five blocks and it is easy to get around on foot. A limited public bus system operates. Those wanting to go further afield to surrounding attractions will need to take a guided tour or rent a car.


English is the official language of Australia.


The Australian Dollar (AUD) is divided into 100 cents. Banks and bureaux de change exchange most foreign currencies. Travellers cheques are also welcome everywhere, but banks take a small commission and it is better to take cheques in major currencies (e.g. US dollars or Euros) to avoid additional charges. Credit cards are widely accepted and ATMs are freely available throughout the country. Banking hours are generally 9.30am to 4pm Monday to Thursday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Friday, but some banks offer extended hours and some are open on Saturday mornings.

Located in Todd Mall next to the John Flynn Memorial Church, this impressive and historical Adelaide House was opened as a hospital-hostel in 1926. Sister Jean Findlayson was the brainchild behind the centre, setting it up so that patients did not have to travel to Oodnadatta by wagon. Adelaide House was the only medical centre in Central Australia until the opening of the hospital in 1939 and, during its peak, catered for a population of 950 people. In 1983 it was restored as a museum of local history and a radio room at the back of the house is where the first test radio transmission was received from Hermannsburg by Maurie Fuss in November, 1926, when Flynn and Traeger were experimenting with radio for the Flying Doctor Service. On display are journals, maps, publications and The museum has some fine displays including the story of the Australian Inland Mission, early journals, maps and a vast collection of historic photographs.

Ernabella Arts Inc. is Australia's oldest Indigenous art centre and has been in operation since 1948. Aboriginal men and women can come here to develop and showcase their artworks in order to promote and sustain cultural heritage. These people speak Yankunytjatjara, Pitjantjatjara and Ngaanyatjara from the Western Desert language groups of central Australia. Used by approximately 70 people of all ages, the centre displays Aboriginal art, contemporary art, craft, ceramics and paintings.

Surely, the most iconic image of Australia is the blood-red dust of its sere and sparse Outback - and what better way to experience it than from a hot air balloon, in the dawn hours, with the sky full of a million colours? Alice Springs' Outback Ballooning company has been offering this once-in-a-lifetime experience to eager visitors since 1986, and has built a solid reputation for itself as a high-quality, and dependable tour operator (with an impeccable safety record). You'll be accompanied on your hot air balloon ride - which also includes refreshments and a light breakfast - by an informative guide, to ensure you get the full effect of the unique landscape spread out beneath you. Visitors of all ages, sizes, shapes and fitness levels are welcome, and are all bound to leave with a memory they'll cherish for the rest of their lives. Don't forget to pack your camera.

The Royal Flying Doctor Service Visitor Centre at Alice Springs started out in the 1970s and has since gone on to become one of Central Australia's most popular tourist attractions. Winning a Brolga Award for Tourism Excellence in 2005, the television series based on the RDFS has made this centre an absolute must see. On average, 80,000 people visit the centre each year, visiting the museum where they can browse through old medical equipment and an original Traeger Pedal Radio.

Uluru is the Aboriginal name for Ayers Rock.  It is the largest sandstone rock formation in the Northern Territory and one of Australia’s most recognised icons and is also listed as a World Heritage Site. The top of Uluru is 1,142 feet above the land and the base is an astonishing 5 miles around. Uluru changes colour depending on the time of day due to the light and sunset a particularly remarkable sight when it briefly glows red. Tourists can climb to the top of the Uluru provided that there are not any strong winds. It takes about an hour to climb to the top.  The local Aboriginals do not climb Uluru due to its spiritual significance. In 2009, the Australian government indicated that climbing Uluru might no longer be allowed under the proposed "Draft Management Plan 2009-2019".

About 19 miles (30km) from Uluru is another fascinating geological formation on the desert landscape. Known as Kata Tjuta (formerly known as the Olgas), these comprise 36 domes of red-brown earth, the tallest of which, Mount Olga, is 656ft (200m) taller than Uluru. There is a range of accommodation at Uluru, from luxury resorts to campsites. There is also an Aboriginal cultural centre and an arts and craft centre, along with restaurants, swimming pools, galleries, supermarket, medical centre and post office.

Looking for something a bit different?  Check out our selection of cultural & adventure holidays or if you're looking to go it alone then see our selection of solo holidays.

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