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I found this amazing place and enjoyed my stay at Alice Springs with plenty to see.
The weather in Alice Springs in Central Australia is a continental desert environment and arid climate with has hot summers and the winters are cool. In the winter months which are from May to September the nights are cold and even get down to below freezing and the days can be cool. Bright and crisp. So if you are visiting during those months you will need warm clothes.
During the summer it is wetter but this is a very rare sight to see.
One of the places I went to was the Reptile Centre where you saw many types of reptiles and even was able to hold them as well. The temperatures can reach during the day over 40 in the summer. So it is essential to wear hats, sun screen and drink plenty of water.
Alice Springs is soaked in history and culture and is an amazing outback town. You can see the Todd Mall with its many shops. Plenty of Indigenous art galleries to wander around.
Places to see and to visit are as follows:
It is a must to go a visit the Alice Springs Desert Park which shows the type of plants and animals found in the desert. You walk around three desert habitats and discover Desert Rivers, Sand Country and Woodland habitat both in day and night.
Also another place to visit is the Overlander Telegraph station you can wander around discovering how in 1872 Australia was connected with the outside world by using a single wire.Communication to United Kingdom which was a major engineering achievement of the nineteenth century and was finished in two years with Charles Todd directing the proceedure.It was very fascinating to see how people lived all those years ago .
Anzac Hill which has the War Memorial and you will be able to see amazing views of Alice Springs both during the day and night with the sun going down.
There is a tourist hop on and hop off bus which is great because they drop you off at all these sites to see for just a small charge and the ticket is valued for 2 days.
Explore this famous outback town and discover the real Australia. With many amazing sites such as the Overlander Telegraph station, the dry Todd River, Anzac Hill lookout at sunset, the Araluen Cultural Precinct, Road Transport Hall of Fame, Olive Pink Botanic Gardens, the Reptile Centre and the National Women's Hall of Fame to name a few it's recommended you take 7 to 10 days to fully explore the region. But even if you can only spare three or four days to see the highlights, you'll have a fantastic time. Be warned though, it will leave you wanting to come back again. So that's why I am saving up to go back out there again to see the things that I could not see during my stay there and also to spend longer.
Alice is also well know for is many annual quirky events throughout the year. There's the Tattersalls Finke Desert Race, the Alice Springs Beanie Festival, the Assa Abloy Henley-on-Todd, the Lion Imparja Camel Cup and the Alice Desert Festival.
This is just a taster of Alice Springs.
Ever since reading Neville Shute's 'A Town Like Alice' when I was about sixteen, I've had this great desire to see Alice Springs. Alice is famous for a number of the more famous Australian icons such as the Flying Doctor Service and the School of the Air. It is also well known for it's famous boat Henley on Todd; the river so rarely has water in it that this boat race is run by people 'wearing' or carrying boats with the bottoms cut out and carried along the dry river bed. The year there was water in the Todd River this boat race had to be cancelled!
We flew from Darwin to Alice Springs which has a small airport but fresh and modern looking. It is possible to drive from Darwin via Katherine or up from Adelaide if you have time available and can cope with the very long and hot drive.
SCHOOL OF THE AIR:
From the airport we went straight to visit the School of the Air which is the largest (physically) classroom in the world. We were there in time for an assembly where all the teachers were introducing themselves to the pupils who were part of this school of the air class. There was a short film explaining how the service has changed over the years when they began using two way radios up to the present day and using the internet. It was very interesting and surprising how few children the service caters for. It is a very costly service and the children include those from the huge cattle farms and a number of Aboriginal children in isolated areas as well.
THE ROYAL FLYING DOCTOR SERVICE:
We went from The School of the air to the Royal Flying Doctor service which serves a huge area geographically and is funded by the government for running costs but relies on donations for capital expenses such as the planes and equipment. We were given a talk before being allowed to view the working area of this amazing service We were advised that we should be drinking at least 2 litres of water per day in the heat and we were able to enjoy some lovely cold tap water in the canteen. My husband enjoyed his first real Aussie meat pie and I had a small cold trifle which was jolly refreshing.
THE FIRST TELEGRAPH STATION:
We then went to the historical village built round the First Telegraph Station. There were more houses in the original settlement but still there and restored were the school teacher's house, the Telegraph operator's house, the barracks and a few other buildings such as the blacksmiths, the carriage and other storage buildings. All round the settlement were labels telling you a bit about each building and explaining how the people lived and who they were. There were photos of the families and other furniture and artefacts too.
There was a building dedicated to an explanation of how half caste Aboriginal/white children were removed from their mothers and taken into care - educated and brought up in the settlement. There were some of these children's stories retold on boards too which I found quite upsetting. It was a shameful period in Australian history which is still having an effect on these people's lives today. If you have seen the film 'Rabbit Proof Fence', then you will have an idea of how this awful idea was implemented.
We then went up to the Anzac memorial which is on a small hill and from there you get a good view of the whole of Alice and surrounding area. War memorials are greatly respected in Australian towns and this one is no exception. It is in a great position above the town and is kept very nicely.
OUR BUSH BBQ:
As part of our your we were offered an optional extra of a Bush BBQ. A couple who owned about 250 hectares local to Alice began this business of offering Aussie Bush BBQs to tourists on their farm. This 250 hectare farm is too small for cattle and too dry and infertile for anything to grow so they decided to ''farm' the tourist industry at $75 Aussie per head. They used to do this every day of the week but now they only do a couple each week. We calculated that in our group there were 40 people at $75 a head was not a bad evening's work. They did nothing to the property just let it be the natural bush.
They had built a large corrugated iron roofed shed beside the dry river bed. There were a couple of generators for electricity and the BBQs. They had a few enormous cool boxes for the drinks and the cold food.
At 6.30 we were collected by Geoff and Alice in two mini vans. During the drive Geoff told us quite a lot about the local flora and pointed out ghost gums, red gums, coolabahs trees and nulla trees. When we arrived on their property he drove around looking for wallabies and we were lucky enough to see at least 20 of differing sizes, both males and females.
We first went into the dry river bed and Geoff showed us how to throw a boomerang. Boomerangs are not thrown at an animal to kill it as some people think they are used to throw over a waterhole to make the water fowl fly and then they could be killed by spears or other weapons. The idea of it returning was to save going to find it or falling in the water. The throwing ability of our group was mixed - some truly pathetic attempts while others were quite good. It certainly gave us an appetite for our barbequing steaks which were ready to go on the fires as we were trying to throw our boomerangs.
By this time the flies had disappeared and we were able to shed our glamorous fly nets and hope that our insect repellent would keep the mossies away. We made our way towards the fire and BBQ area where there was a large roofed hut with tables and chairs. We were offered beer, red or white wine or soft drinks and then Geoff made 3 big dampers in cast iron pots which he then put on cinders and placed hot cinders on the pots too. Then the meat was put on the Barbie - steaks and sausages which were really good and there was a choice of baked potatoes, beetroot, tomato and cucumber, coleslaw, pineapple and coconut. Desert was a huge piece of damper with golden syrup.
After we had eaten our fill we then moved our chairs out into the open and Geoff gave us a star gazing guide and we looked up at the stars, we saw the Southern Cross and also a satellite. On our return drive back to our hotel in the minibus we were treated to a |CD of Australian folk songs such as 'Waltzing Matilda' ,' Click go the Shears' and other similar songs which rounded off a very Australian evening in the bush. It was a really great evening.
For me this area and the Top End of Australia are the real Australia that you read about in books, the romantic stories of shearers, cattle drives, the Flying Doctors and the School of the Air. This is a tough life where the land unforgiving and harsh, where the flies are more plentiful than people. The flies are a pest and I really hated them. I was happy with my fly net as this kept them away from my ears and moth but I still couldn't stand them buzzing around me. There is no way I could live out in this area. It is hot, 40°C and above for the summer months and then the flies all day, once the sun goes down you get a break from the flies but then out come the mosquitoes to chomp on your exposed bits. No, it was great to visit and see these Australian icons and I have a huge respect for those that live there now and an even greater admiration for those people that lived there in times past - they were a tough lot.
Alice Springs a place where the sands run red, and the water runs dry.
I had the sheer pleasure of staying in Alice Springs for about 3 months.
After driving and camping through the Simpson dessert in blistering heat believe it or not Alice became a sanctuary and and well earned pit stop.
Having already been to Uluru,The Olga's and Kings Canyon, Alice Springs was next on the stop list, whilst I was trying to make my way to Townsville on the coast.
Unlike the UK, Australia doesn't have any short cuts or quick routes unless you wanna go by plane, there are just these amazing straight roads spun across it's vast plain.
I stayed at the "In town camp ground" a friendly patch of land, right in the heart of Alice Springs, the sort of place you cant believe exists in such a small place in the middle of town.
The camp site manager showed me to my spot and at I attempted to hammer pins into the concrete ground until I realized the chances of a monsoon were slim and gave up.
The heat was blistering during the day reaching 43oc but cool and balmy in the evening.
My fellow travellers were a great blend from all over the world,Israel,South America,UK,Ireland,Brazil to few to mention, and were all a pleasure to meet.
The toilets were always clean and the camp ground kitchen was also well maintained.
I manged to get a job in a local shop called Cockatoo Second Hand Store where I met the eccentric owner Robyn and his daughter, they sold all manner of things and really supported the local Aboriginal community, go there if you get the chance.
Alice is a great place to meet and see Aboriginal culture for yourself and not to believe all that is said about them,most of which I found negative.
Alice is a prime example of what white people have done to their culture, for example, The community asked for a Mcdonalds not to be built on prime sacred ground, at first the white people agreed, but after time the council found a loop hole and agreed not to build on the most sacred part of the land, they would preserve that by putting a nice 3 ft white Pickett fence around it and continue with the restaurant ,it shows a pathetic plaque telling the tourist is importance in the middle of the car park.
That road is now called the "road of broken promises".
The town centre has an abundance of Aboriginal art, and sculpture and some of the best didgeridoo's i have seen this was the place to buy one that was really made by the Aboriginals.
Every second Sunday there is a market which has a resident band that plays rhythmical tribal songs allowing you to seep in some of Alice Springs wonderful Australian culture.
The best place to eat in town is the Olive Tree cafe, run by an ex pat who was a model in the 60's and emigrated in 1978 when you could emigrated r £10.
The cafe serves delicious home made food,stuffed mushrooms,pumpkin soup and fantastic goats cheese salads.
I loved Alice Springs and was sad to leave, I would say to anyone thinking of going to Australia, get off the hotel and hairdryer roots and get a tent and a car and experience the real Australia for yourself, Alice is a great example of it.
Alice Springs is a place which must not be overlooked when you are visiting Australia. It is the ideal place to visit when you are en route to Uluru (Ayres Rock) whether by road or by plane.
I visited Alice Springs in October 2005 and it was boiling hot as you would expect in the desert, however it also rained! The first time it had rained for about a 2 years I think they said!
We were in Alice for about 3 days and had a brilliant time - it is just so different from a lot of places to visit in Australia. We stayed in a great little hostel but later found out it was on the "wrong" side of Alice and that Alice Springs can be quite a dangerous place especially at night. Had we known this beforehand we might not have had such a good time - as it was 2 girls alone we happily wandered about and walked everywhere at night! You need a torch in some places though as it is not well lit!
We also went at a time of year when there was a fly plague - literally never experienced anything like it - it was in the newspapers about how bad it was. Normally there are flies but this was a plague where thousands had hatched at once and you could not walk down the street without having about 30 flies sitting on you or flying into you face. In the end i succumbed and bought a fly net and had a much more enjoyable holiday! Even the Aborginal people had bought fly nets which the shop keeper said was almost unheard of such was the intensity of the fly plague!! However don't let that put you off going - I doubt it would be as bad as that normally and even though it was like that when we went it was still a fantastic place to visit.
We hired bicycles for a day and in 100 degree heat we cycled for miles visiting the School of the Air and the Flying Doctors museum to name but a few places.
They are both incredibly unique and fascinating places to visit. The school of the Air is the correspondence school that operates over the radio for children who live in the outback and other remote areas. Some children now have wireless internet and get their lessons over broadband while others still use the radios to listen in on their lessons and participate. There is an informative video to watch, and you can watch live broadcasts to children, see their work and basically just learn about how they are given an education remotely. It was incredibly interesting and they showed us pictures of the children when they all get together for 1 week in the year to meet their classmates and teachers face to face.
The Flying Doctor Service museum was equally fascinating - it is an Air Ambulance service for those people again living in the outback and remote areas far away from medical help. I'm sure a lot of people will remember the TV series 'Flying Doctors' well it was a pretty accurate representation! Again in this centre/ museum you will watch a video first which gives a great insight into the work of the flying doctors, then you get a guided tour to the place where the radio calls come in etc and then there is the museum part which has old radio's that were used, medical equipment and planes that have been used. All very interesting.
I would recommend hiring a bicycle as a great way to see Alice Springs as the public transport service is not all that great if you want to go to a lot of different places. However it does get extremely hot and it is well worth leaving as early as possible in the morning to avoid the midday sun. We planned to do that but didn't actually manage it and consequently ended up cycling at the hottest part of the day - don't know how we survived! If you are going to do such a mad thing as we did then take plenty of water and 50 SPF sun block as you will definatley need it! The roads are dust and there can be no shade for miles!!!
Alice Springs is a great centre from which to explore the McDonnell Ranges where you can see some spectacular natural gorges and waterways. Also within driving distance are an assortment of Aboriginal rock carvings and artefacts. The cemetery in the town is the last resting-place of the famous artist Albert Namatjira. Ayres Rock (now called Uluru) is within easy reach of Alice Springs along with the Olgas and the Yulara Resort, all situated in Uluru National Park. The giant monolith Uluru towers 348m above the Mulga plains close by. The sheer enormity of the largest natural attraction in Australia is a breathtaking nine kilometres in circumference. The Olgas, known as Kata Tjuta or 'Many Heads' are 36 dome-shaped peaks which cover an area of 36 square kilometres not far from Uluru. There is a quiet mysterious aura surrounding the Olgas and they are best appreciated at close hand. Alice Springs is an ideal base for exploring places such as Palm Valley, the spectacular gorges of the MacDonnell Ranges and Kings Canyon. I travelled on a Hot air balloon flight over the ranges, which proved to be a mind blowing experience which I would recommend to everybody. Another experience that I would recommend is camel safaris, which run from Alice Springs on a regular basis.
"Alice Springs is a town in the Northern Territory of Australia. Alice Springs (23.8S, 133.89E) has a population of 26,486 (in 2005). The town is 576 metres above sea level in the Northern Territory of Australia. It is the second largest centre in the Northern Territory and is popularly known as "the Alice" or simply "Alice. The town is 200 km south of the absolute centre of Australia and nearly equidistant from Adelaide and Darwin, Alice Springs is known as Mparntwe to its traditional inhabitants, the Arrernte, who have lived in the Central Australian desert in and around Alice Springs for more than 50,000 years."