Alice Springs is the gateway for explorers of Australia’s vast red centre. This famous Northern Territory outback town is the place to base yourself to visit sights like Uluru. Find the best things to do in Alice Springs at Adrenaline, including breathtaking helicopter flights and hot air balloon rides.
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Why to visit Alice Springs
Alice Springs is the beloved central hub of Australia’s outback, and it’s a destination you need to tick off your bucket list. Affectionately known to locals as ‘Alice’, the town is characterised by stunning landscapes, remote communities, traditional and contemporary art, events and rich aboriginal culture. Of course, it’s also renowned as the perfect base for exploring the iconic natural wonders of Australia’s Red Centre.
The number one most popular thing to see near Alice Springs is Uluru. Uluru is a world-famous Aussie icon, and nothing compares to how majestic the giant red rock formation is when you see it with your own eyes. It sits within Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park, which is a 330,000-acre park set up to protect the sacred rock and surrounding natural features.
As there is no accommodation or services for tourists within Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park, Alice Springs is the most popular base for people wanting to visit the outback icons. Alice Springs is about a five to six hour drive from Uluru, or you can take buses, fly, or take tours that will show you the best of what Central Australia has to offer.
But Uluru isn’t the only attraction worth visiting near Alice Springs. In fact, you’ll find there are so many amazing things to do and see in and around this small town in Northern Territory. See the breathtaking red rock cliffs of Kings Canyon, which plunge 100 metres down to Kings Creek at the bottom. Just a five and a half hour drive away, travelling from Alice Springs to Kings Canyon is a must-do.
Besides Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon, Alice Springs also gives you easy access to the West MacDonnell Ranges and the renowned Larapinta Trail if you’re up for some trekking. You can also see the endless red sands of the Simpson Desert, and the massive granite boulders known as Karlu Karlu or ‘The Devils Marbles’.
Between sightseeing, discovering Aboriginal culture and enjoying unforgettable experiences, Alice Springs should be at the top of your list for exploring Australia’s iconic outback.
Where is Alice Springs
When we talk about Australia’s outback or Red Centre, Alice Springs is the quintessential destination. It’s literally located roughly in Australia’s geographic centre, and the town and its surroundings look exactly how you would expect the Aussie outback to look.
Alice Springs is in the Northern Territory, but it’s about equidistant from South Australian capital city, Adelaide, and the Northern Territory capital city, Darwin. If you’re up for it, Darwin to Alice Springs or Adelaide to Alice Springs is about a 16 hour drive, with plenty of petrol stations, small towns and roadhouses along the way.
Another popular way to travel is by The Ghan, a scenic train journey that takes you between Adelaide and Darwin via Alice Springs and Katherine. Alternatively, you can get direct flights to Alice Springs from most major cities in Australia via commercial airlines.
Needless to say, Alice Springs being located in Central Australia does mean it has hot, arid conditions all year round. This is the classic desert, Australian outback and the heat is all part of the experience. Alice Springs and Uluru tourism is most popular during the mild winter months (May to September) and you may want to take that into consideration when planning your trip.
Uluru tours from Alice Springs
If you’re looking for a way to see Uluru from Alice Springs, you’re in the right place. At Adrenaline we have hand-picked experiences around Australia that give you something to get excited about. Whether you’re a tourist looking to make your Alice Springs trip memorable or a local looking to mark a special occasion, a helicopter flight from Alice Springs to Uluru is the perfect choice.
Nothing compares to the view of Uluru and Kata Tjuta that you’ll see from your helicopter flight. It’s impossible to really appreciate the impressive size and scale of Uluru from the ground, but during your flight you’ll soak up panoramic aerial views that make any postcard pale in comparison. This is your opportunity to see Uluru and Australia’s Red Centre in all its glory.
Your helicopter flight from Alice Springs to Uluru will also take you soaring over Kata Tjuta, which is an incredible rock formation and sacred landmark. Kata Tjuta is a group of 36 rock domes which stand up to 198 metres taller than Uluru and date back 500 million years. The vastness of the Kata Tjuta domes and rules around sacred sites mean that access from the ground is highly restricted. So the only way to see the entire site is from the sky.
Of all the Uluru tours from Alice Springs, a scenic helicopter flight is definitely at the top of the list of experiences not to miss.
Hot air balloon Alice Springs
The unique outback landscape of Alice Springs makes it the perfect place for a hot air ballooning experience. Get up nice and early to float away into the sky just as the first light begins to filter over the town and surrounding landmarks. Your sunrise Alice Springs hot air balloon ride will take you soaring over the rugged MacDonnell Ranges and the vast expanse of the Central Australian outback.
Look out for native wildlife and enjoy breathtaking views as you fly over Australia’s remote Red Centre. Once you land you’ll be treated to refreshments and snacks as you enjoy the desert tranquility. Sip and graze on Australian sparkling wine, tropical fruit juice, muffins, cheese and fresh fruit before you’re taken back to your hotel.Whether you opt for a 30 minute or 60 minute Alice Springs hot air balloon flight, it’s an unforgettable way to get your heart racing and experience the Australian outback.