Alice Springs

Alice Springs wouldn't win a beauty contest, but there's more going on here than first meets the eye, from the inspirational (excellent museums, a fine wildlife park and outstanding galleries of Indigenous art) to the practical (a wide range of accommodation, good dining options and travel connections).

It's the gateway to some of central Australia's most stirring landscapes: Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is a four-hour drive away, while closer still, the ruggedly beautiful MacDonnell Ranges stretch east and west; you don't have to venture far to find yourself among ochre-red gorges, pastel-hued hills and ghostly white gum trees.

Alice is a key touchstone for understanding Aboriginal Australia in all its complexity and its present-day challenges. The Aboriginal name for Alice Springs is Mparntwe, and the region's traditional owners are the Arrernte, although many different Aboriginal communities now call Alice Spring home.

When it's not too hot, Alice can be good for cycling.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Alice Springs.