There are many fun tours and things to do in Alice Springs and you can spend at least a week or two in the area to see it all. Come with us while we showcase the very best tours and review the excellent Alice Springs accommodation that is available in the remote centre of Australia.
Our suggestion is the Alice Springs Standley Chasm Tour. One you should not miss.
Some believe that Alice Springs was first mapped by that great Australian explorer John McDouall Stuart way back in 1862. This belief may be terribly wrong.
While the consensus seems to think that it was Stuart’s exploration that made it possible for the Overland Telegraph Line from Adelaide to Darwin to be built in 1872, it was the mapping of the telegraph line by either William Whitfield Mills or John Ross in 1871, which found the spring and directly led to the land being opened up for pastoral use.
Gold was discovered in 1887 at Arltunga which paved the way for people to settle at Alice Springs.
The settlement was originally named Stuart after the explorer, with the Telegraph Station named as Alice Springs after Lady Alice Todd, the wife of Sir Charles Todd, who was then Postmaster-General of South Australia.
In 1933, to avoid much confusion that had occurred over the years, the township was officially named Alice Springs. The highway leading into Alice Springs has been named Stuart Highway in memory of the heroic explorer.
Today Alice Springs is a thriving city with a population of around 30,000 people, with some 17% of that population of indigenous heritage.
Situated roughly 1300 kms from both Adelaide and Darwin, Alice Springs is not just a town where you can go to see Ayers Rock Uluru, there are some fabulous historical attractions and natural beauty right on the door step.
People come to Alice Springs to see the wonders of Standley Chasm, the West MacDonnell Ranges with Uluru – Kata Tjuta National Park about 475km distance by road from Alice Springs (4 hours driving time).
Things to do in Alice Springs
Alice Springs to Uluru Shuttle Bus
With hotel pickup at selected hotels, the Ayers Rock, Uluru shuttle from Alice Springs is certainly the best way to travel the 460 kilometer distance to Ayers Rock Resort.
Air flights direct to Ayers Rock Airport can be very expensive. The more affordable alternative is to fly into Alice Springs, see a few of the awesome attractions while your there and then catch the daily shuttle to Uluru. You will save big dollars if you take the shuttle bus option.
It is a good idea to get online and check out all the prices to grab the best price option.
If you want to see a few of the awesome tourist attractions around Alice Springs like Palm Valley or Standley Chasm, either on your way to Uluru or when you come back again, then you certainly will save money by flying into and out of Alice Springs to any capital city in Australia.
Fly to Alice first, then use the daily shuttle bus between Alice Springs and Ayers Rock.
You can see the West Macdonnell Ranges from the bus and there is a stop at the Outback Camel Farm for refreshments.
For those who feel like a little excitement, they can take a camel ride while at the farm at your own expense. the camel ride is one of those unique experiences that you can tell your friends and family about.
Sit back and enjoy the sightseeing and listen to the tales of pioneering hardship and aboriginal legends, as the driver points out places of interest and relates tales from the past.
This is the economical way to travel between Alice Springs and Uluru, departing at 7:00am and arriving at Ayers Rock Resort around 12.30pm. Book ahead as the shuttle bus fills quickly and you could miss out.
Palm Valley 4WD Tour
Day tour to ancient Palm Valley on Finke River. See historic mission buildings at Hermannsburg Aboriginal Community. Read reviews of 4wd tour to West MacDonnell Ranges which includes morning tea and picnic lunch.
Palm Valley Tour commences at 7.00am and concludes at around 4.30pm. Palm Valley is the only place in the world where you can see the ancient Livistonia Mariae, the red cabbage palm.
This is an amazing full day tour to one of the wonders of the Red Centre.
Leaving Alice Springs by 4WD, you travel to the Finke River and the journey to Palm Valley.
Palm Valley is noted for the relic cabbage palm Livistona Mariae. It is a wonder how these palms have lasted in the arid land of Central Australia since the beginning of time and really is one of the most popular tourist attractions outback of Alice Springs.
You have the opportunity to hike to Kalarranga Lookout and then Cycad Gorge. This country is awesome and very remote, so you seem to travel backwards in time.
After a delicious picnic lunch, you will travel into the West MacDonnell Ranges with a stop at the historic Hermannsburg Aboriginal Community.
The famous aboriginal painter, Albert Namatjira, was born at the Hermannsburg mission in 1902 and today aboriginal sand paintings and artifacts are available for purchased at the tea rooms.
Don’t miss this tour while you are in Alice Springs, Palm Valley is truly a sight that everyone should visit.
Camel Dinner Tour
Ultimate Alice Springs dinner where you ride a camel to the Frontier Camel Farm restaurant. Take a camel to Dinner is fun and fabulously unique to Alice Springs.
Here’s a unique way to have a delicious dinner in the Australian outback at Alice Springs, ride a camel to the dining venue and enjoy an evening you will never forget.
Before dinner you will be picked up from your Alice Springs hotel and taken on a one hour camel ride in the dry creek bed of the Todd River to the Frontier Camel Farm.
On the camel ride you will pass beautiful red river gum trees and perhaps spot a kangaroo or frilled neck lizard. Watch out for sulfur crested cockatoos and beautiful galahs, you also might see a few wild budgerigars while riding along the river bed.
At the camel farm you will say good-bye to your camel then treated to pre dinner drinks and nibbles of Australian bush tucker. You may like to take a visit to the kangaroo enclosure or browse the camel shop before dinner.
Dinner is comprised of either fresh Barramundi fillets, a fish of succulent taste which is native to northern Australian waters, or juicy rib fillet steaks, delicious. Vegetarians are catered for. Wash this down with beer or wine and enjoy sweets. What a meal.
Alice Springs Sightseeing Bus
Here’s an innovative way to see all the attractions of Alice Springs for one low price.
Alice Springs hop on hop off bus tour allows for sightseeing the efficient way by getting off the bus where you want, spending time at that attraction and getting back on to travel to the next tourist stop.
The Alice Springs town tour is a hop on hop off style tour bus, where you can either stay on the bus for a 70 minute town tour or opt to hop off at one attraction, wait for the bus to come around again and hop back on for the next stop.
With a stop at the best tourist attractions in Alice Springs, you can see such sights as the Old Telegraph Station, Anzac Hill, Royal Flying Doctor Base and Olive Pink Botanic Gardens, plus there are more stops that will be of interest to many.
Use your ticket to hop on and hop off all day, this is the best way to see the sights of The Alice and you get more value for your dollar.
See your accommodation tour desk for details.
Alice Springs Hot Air Balloon Rides
Here’s your chance to enjoy a hot air balloon flight just before sunrise and watch the land below come to life. There is no greater thrill than silently floating through the early morning air and there is no better place to do it than the desert regions around Alice Springs.
You will be picked up from your Alice Springs accommodation and taken to the launch site before dawn. Here you can help inflate the balloon and prepare it for the flight and when all is ready climb aboard the basket and enjoy the take off.
There are 2 flights available, a 30 minute ride and a longer 60 minute flight. Both are exhilarating and offer spectacular sights over the desert and across the land to the impressive West MacDonnell Ranges.
At the completion of your hot air balloon ride you will be treated to a 4 course gourmet bush breakfast. What a way to end the perfect morning in Alice Springs.
During winter wear warm clothing and it is recommended that you wear sturdy footwear and comfortable clothes that would be suitable for bush walking. Don’t miss taking a balloon ride in the desert and book ahead to secure your spot in the basket.
One of the most popular things to do in Alice Springs. Hot air ballooning in the early morning is more than an enjoyable way to start a fantastic day.
Enjoy the thrill of a hot air balloon ride over the desert landscape, see wildlife and the beauty of Central Australia from the air.
Prices start from around $AUD 265.00 per person with child rates applicable for those between 6 and 15 years.
3 Day Alice Springs Bus Tour
This is a wonderful 3 days 2 night tour by luxury coach to tour Uluru, Ayers Rock and Kings Canyon with all transfers, hotel accommodation and Kata Tjuta National Park fees included.
This tour commences and concludes in Alice Springs and is ideal for those using Alice Springs Airport as their entry and exit portal to Australia’s Red Centre. The 3 day bus tour is an economical and efficient way to see Ayers Rock, The Olgas and the mighty Kings Canyon.
Day one takes you from Alice Springs to the Ayers Rock resort where you will book into your chosen hotel. You will then rejoin the tour for a fun trip to Kata Tjuta, (better known as The Olga’s), to see these 36 sandstone domes, the biggest of which is taller than Ayers Rock. Take a walk into beautiful Olga Gorge and be amazed at the desert flora, found nowhere else on earth.
Nearing the end of the day, you will be taken to the “Sunset Strip” to see the changing colours of Uluru at sundown. Enjoy a glass of champagne and see Ayers Rock change colour from red, to brows and be amazed at the transformation.
Day two starts early and takes you to see Uluru change colour as the sun rises. After the sunrise viewing, enjoy a guided walk to Mutitjulu Waterhole, a place of deep significance to the local aboriginal people, or you can climb to the top of Uluru if you so desire.
In the afternoon you will board the bus and travel out to Kings Creek Station to your overnight accommodation at the Kings Canyon Resort.
Day Three has you up and exploring the ancient Kings Canyon. For those of reasonable fitness, there is a 3 hour walk along the rim of the canyon giving fantastic views, then you will hike to the spectacular rock formation of the Lost City and walk into the Garden Of Eden, where ancient palm trees exist in the middle of Australia.
For those with less fitness there is an easy walk into the floor of Kings Canyon, with fantastic flora and fauna and great panoramic views.
After lunch re board the coach to return to Alice Springs, completely absorbed by the beauty of Central Australia. With prices starting around AUD $800.00 per person twin share, this is a fantastic trip and great value.
Alice Springs Standley Chasm Day Tour
Alice Springs day trip to West Macdonnell Ranges, Simpsons Gap and famous Standley Chasm. See striking rock formations, permanent waterholes, deep gorges and impressive Standley Chasm.
The West MacDonnell Ranges, just west of Alice Springs via a sealed road, holds some of the most impressive geological formations in the whole of the Northern Territory. This tour visits some of the more important locations such as Simpsons Gap and Standley Chasm.
Simpsons Gap is exactly what it was named by it’s founder back in 1871, a gap through the West Macdonnell Ranges. With permanent waterholes and abundant flora and fauna, Simpsons Gap is an important geological feature of the beautiful area roughly 18 kilometers from Alice Springs.
A feature of the Simpsons Gap topography is the 2 striking ghost gums that stand like sentinels in the desert, guarding access to the area beyond. The famous aboriginal painter, Albert Namatjira, painted these very 2 ghost gums and the Simpsons Gap area was a favorite place for him to paint and enjoy the quiet solitude of this ancient land.
Standley Chasm is a 5 meter fissure in solid rock which leads through the range, and a place where sunlight hits the floor of the chasm only at midday. With deep red sandstone walls, Standley Chasm is certainly one of the most strikingly beautiful places one can visit from Alice Springs and is a must see spot for all tourists.
A delicious picnic lunch is provided and the tour has the option of also including entry to the Alice Springs Desert Park.
Starting around $75 per person, the West Macdonnell Ranges tour includes a visit to Reverend Flynn’s gravesite, the man who is regarded as the founder of the Royal Flying Doctor Service and a stop at Anzac Hill for scenic views over Alice Springs.
Tour commences at 9.00am and concludes at 1.00pm with the optional tour to the Alice Springs Desert Park concluding at 5.00pm. Hotel pick up and drop off is included in the price plus all park entry fees applicable on the day.
Alice Springs Day Tour
Bus trip Alice Springs to Uluru, Olgas. Return to Alice Springs late evening same day.
This is a great tour for those with limited time in the red centre or those wishing to avoid paying costly accommodation at Ayers Rock Resort. Fabulous bus tour from Alice Springs to see Ayers Rock and The Olgas, what a terrific day trip!
Ayers Rock is some 460 kilometers distance by road from Alice Springs and it takes around 5 hours drive time. Stops will be made along the way for breakfast and snacks (own expense) before arriving at Ayers Rock Resort.
When you arrive at Uluru, ou will have a guided tour around the base and visit the famous Mutitjulu Waterhole, the life giving permanent waterhole so sacred to the Aboriginal people who have lived in the desert for thousands of years.
Visit the Uluru and Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre and learn about Aboriginal culture and art. Reboard the bus and tour to Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) and walk in ancient valley’s beneath the mysterious shaped domes.
Return to the Uluru sunset strip and sip cool sparkling wine while watching the changing colours of Uluru.
Enjoy a picnic dinner meal before boarding the bus for the journey back to Alice Springs, fully satisfied on a day to be remembered forever.
The full cost which includes hotel transfers, morning tea, sunset buffet dinner with sparkling wine or juice, guided walks at Mala and Mutitjulu Waterhole is around $226 per person. (Prices subject to change by tour company.)
(A national park entry fee of $25 per adult is now included in the price. Children may enter the national park free.)
Alice Springs 3 Day Camping Tour
Here’s a 3 day camping tour departing Alice Springs that is perfect for the budget traveler, yet gives you the opportunity to see all the wonders of the fabulous Australian outback.
See the changing colours of Uluru, walk among the domes of Kata Tjuta, (The Olgas) and see the beauty of Kings Canyon. This camping tour Package to Uluru is fantastic value, ideal for the backpacker or anyone that wants value for money.
You do rough it a little more than you would in hotel accommodation, yet you will have a great 3 days in the Aussie outback. We highly recommend this camping tour to all.
There is nothing like camping out in the Australian bush, with a canopy of stars above your head and the quiet sounds that fill the night air. If this sounds good to you then we are sure you will be more than interested in the 3 day 2 night camping tour that also visits all the major tour spots in Central Australia.
Departing from Alice Springs, day one takes you to Ayers Rock Uluru with a stop at the Outback Camel Farm along the way. You will arrive at Ayers Rock Resort camping ground where your tents are ready and waiting. Have a spot of lunch and take a tour of the mysterious domes of the Olgas.
Later you will return to see the sunset on Ayers Rock, which is absolutely spectacular.
Day 2 and your up early to see the changing colours at sunrise and the opportunity to climb Ayers Rock Uluru. Many people ask if it is okay to climb Ayers Rock. The answer is yes, you can climb Uluru, Ayers Rock, it is entirely your choice.
There is a notice near the climb starting location giving the reasons why the Anangu Aboriginal people prefer you not to climb, but many hundreds of people take the climb everyday. It is your decision if you climb or not.
After the climb you will be taken on a guided tour of the base to see rock paintings, unusual rock formations and ancient caves. You return to camp for lunch and then in the afternoon travel to Kings Creek Station, near Kings Canyon, for your evening camp.
Day 3 starts with a delicious bush breakfast and then 4 hours of exploring the beautiful Kings Canyon. Take a walk around the canyon rim or to the fabulous ‘Garden of Eden’ where you can view ancient plants and life giving waterholes.
After lunch make the return journey to Alice Springs arriving around 6.30pm.
The Alice Springs camping package costs around $700 twin share with all meals, equipment and National Park fees included. Prices can, and do, change, so check below for latest prices.
Alice Springs Camel Rides
Taking a ride on a camel is something that is kind of a must thing to do when in the Australian outback. This tour takes you out to the Frontier Camel Farm for a fabulous camel ride on the gentle, but smelly, animals.
Called the Camel Ramble, this tour gives you a full one hour camel ride down the banks of the Todd River, Alice Springs.
Starting mid morning, with additional tours mid afternoon during May to Sept, you will be collected from your Alice Springs accommodation and taken out to the Frontier Camel Farm for an experience you will never forget.
Meet the camels and get ready for a fascinating trip through the real Aussie bush. The Todd River is usually a dry sandy creek bed, ideal for wandering along on the back of a camel and seeing an array of wildlife, beautiful river gums and birds such as wild budgerigars, sulphur crested cockatoos and galahs.
Alice Spring holds the Camel Cup each year so no tours are conducted on that great day (July 14). In September, Henley On Todd, a boating regatta, is held on the river, so the camels won’t go near the place on that day. Perhaps the camels know a little better than the competitors trying to sail down a dry river bed. But it’s all in good fun and well worth being there to see the festival.
Camel rides are held daily except for the Camel Cup and Christmas Day. Hotel pickups begin around 10:30am and returns 1.00pm. Prices start at AUD $60.00, child prices available. This is a great day out and something you must try, you will enjoy it!