Alice Springs for families – 3 days
This three day itinerary highlights the best of Alice Springs and is guaranteed to keep even the fussiest child interested. There’s nowhere like this outback capital for a family adventure, which will introduce the family to the oldest living culture in the world, and to the wonderful wildlife that call this region home.
Start your engines
If you have arrived in Alice Springs by any other means than driving, it is highly recommended the first thing you do is hire a vehicle for the trip. There is so much to see and do in and around Alice Springs and having a reliable mode of transport means nothing will be missed.
First stop, Alice Springs Desert Park
Spend a couple of hours meeting the animals at the Alice Springs Desert Park on the outskirts of town – highlights are the birds of prey flying display and the nocturnal house full of bilbies and other night-loving creatures. Stroll along the 1.6 kilometre trail to experience three separate habitat areas within the park. There are informative talks throughout the day, including a presentation on Aboriginal survival. Make your way around the park at your leisure, then relax with some refreshments at the onsite café.
Meet new scaly friends
Get up close and personal with some of the Northern Territory’s favourite wildlife at the Reptile Centre, which is home to the largest reptile display in Central Australia. Pre-bookings are required.
Here visitors will meet Terry the Saltwater Crocodile, see huge perentie goannas, thorny devils, frill-neck lizards and some of the world’s most venomous snakes. Join one of the daily shows to learn more about the variety of lizards and pythons, which is followed by a supervised handling session – a perfect photo opportunity!
Check into your accommodation. There are many options available in Alice Springs, from luxury hotel rooms to camping under the stars including:
• Big4 MacDonnell Range Holiday Park
• Desert Palms
• Quest Alice Springs
Drift away on a hot air balloon ride
Rise early and take to the skies in a hot air balloon with Outback Ballooning for a magnificent bird’s eye view of Alice Springs and the Red Centre. As you drift into an outback sunrise of pastel blues, purples and yellows, keep an eye out for native wildlife and the iconic Red Kangaroo down below. The recommended minimum age is 6 years old, as younger children can not generally see over the side of basket (1.2 metres high).
Indulge the senses at Olive Pink Botanic Garden
Once your feet are planted firmly on the ground again, it’s time to indulge in a cooked breakfast at the Bean Tree Café which you can find nestled in the Olive Pink Botanic Garden.
It is Australia’s only arid zone botanic garden and the perfect place to relax for breakfast or lunch among the native surrounds. Take the time to wander along the walking trails to see the hundreds of plant species that are native to the Red Centre, or spot some of the 80 bird species which have been recorded at the park.
Be inspired by the early pioneers
Next stop is the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Get among the interactive displays and step inside a full-sized replica of a modern PC-12 airplane, part of the exciting new collection. Here, visitors will gain an insight into the iconic Australian outback service established by pioneers in 1928. There is an onsite café, where you can lunch under the original veranda and enjoy the amazing blue skies Alice Springs is known for. Sit back and relax with a coffee, specially blended for the RFDS by a local coffee roaster.
Back to school
Just outside of the CBD, families can visit the world’s largest classroom at Alice Springs School of the Air. Visitors will learn about the innovative techniques making it possible for isolated students to participate in school classes, without having to travel vast distances every day.
Where knowledge and passion collide
Situated just 15 minutes from Alice Springs, Earth Sanctuary is an entertaining and informative night for the whole family.
Discover the West Macs
Pack your lunch, the swimsuits and sneakers because today is all about exploring rocky gorges and splashing about in secluded waterholes in the West MacDonnell Ranges which has long been known as Alice Springs’ adventure land!
Soak up the spirituality of Simpsons Gap
Drive out to Simpsons Gap, just 18 kilometres from Alice Springs. This permanent waterhole is home to a variety of resident wildlife, including the Black-footed Rock wallabies. There are numerous walking trails within the area,all well-marked with directional signs, and many suited for family groups.
See the beauty of Ellery Creek Big Hole
Ellery Creek Big Hole is 60 kilometres down the road, and the perfect spot for a swim. This location is one of the most popular and picturesque swimming, camping and picnic spots in the region.
You'll understand why when you set eyes on the spectacular waterhole surrounded by the high red cliffs and sandy creek. You can also take a dip at Ormiston Gorge. This gorge has a near-permanent waterhole which is ideal for swimming, especially in the warmer months. There’s also a great kiosk located here too.
See Alice by camel
Make your way back to Alice Springs in time for a sunset camel tour at Pyndan Camel Tracks. A camel ride will definitely be one of the most memorable experiences of an Alice Springs visit.
The camel tour starts at Pyndan Camel Tracks yard, through White Gums Station and follows an avenue of Iron Bark and Mulga trees across a clay pan flat. You'll be led on your ride by one of Pyndan’s camel experts who will enlighten you about these iconic animals.
Finish the ride and the end of the journey with amazing views of the glowing MacDonnell Ranges as the sun goes down.