48 Hours in… Alice Springs edition

The beating heart of the Red Centre is synonymous with Uluru, but that ain’t all there is to do ‘round here! We’ve found all the golden bits to do in the town called Alice. You’re so welcome.

 The Kangaroo Sanctuary Alice Springs

Kangaroo Sanctuary 

The only thing dreamier than visiting a centre whose sole mission is to rescue, rehabilitate and release orphaned baby kangaroos into the wild is to visit the Sanctuary on a sunset guided tour, topped off with cuddling one of the little bubbas. The Kangaroo Sanctuary’s ethos is that “animals come first”, so visits are only available from the late afternoon to allow the Red Kangaroos to sleep during the hottest part of the day (which is great for you, because they’ll be bright eyed and ready to play with you after their nap!).

You’ll finish up the tour brimming with information about Alice and her kangaroos, as well as admiration for the team behind the Sanctuary. Tours run Tuesday to Friday and take around 3 hours.

Anzac Hill Alice Springs

Walk to ANZAC Hill

If there was ever a time to slap on your walking shoes and spend your time outdoors, it’s in the Red Centre. Fresh air, expansive views, pristine horizons – you don’t get this stuff in the city. Pop to the top of Anzac Hill, a lookout and war memorial, for the very best views of not only the entire town but also the sweeping MacDonnell Ranges and beyond. It’s a relatively flat and therefore easy walk, so anyone is able to stroll up to the 360 degree view. Pro tip, head up for sunset to watch the sky paint itself with neon colours and understand why it’s called the Red Centre.

Hot Air Ballooning Alice Springs

Image credit: Vacations and Travel Magazine

Get high on a hot air balloon ride

The 360 degree view from Anzac Hill is incredible, yes; but why not elevate your trip to new heights by floating over the sun rise across the wild and wonderful West MacDonnell Ranges? The flora and fauna in these parts are so unique that you want to see them from every angle; including birds’ eye. There are two Hot Air Balloon tours operating out of Alice, both offering 4 hour round trips from Alice Springs YHA, a comprehensive and confident pilot and, best yet, a glass of post-flight bubbles while you’re basking in the glory of what you’ve just seen.

YHA Australia members (that’s you, when you stay at any YHA around the country!) score 10% off Spinifex Ballooning (use SPXYHA at checkout) and Outback Ballooning (use OBBYHA at checkout) so there’s really nothing else to do but book yourself in for a breaking of the dawn that you’ll truly never forget.

MacDonnell Ranges NT

MacDonnell Ranges 

The adventurer in you is going to want to get up close and personal to the Ranges having seen it from above – and we know just the trick! This Day Trip departing and returning to Alice Springs YHA introduces you to the magnificent gaps, gorges and chasms that comprise the grand MacDonnell Ranges, and gives you the opportunity of immersing yourself, literally, in Ellery Creek Big Hole. All meals and entry fees are covered on the trip, so all you need to do is gaze in wonder out of your window as the ranges transform before your eyes as the sun rises and sets.

 Alice Springs YHA Outdoor Cinema

Watch a movie with all the stars

The year 1942 heralded the opening of the Pioneer Theatre, an open air cinema to solve the issue of no air-conditioning in the Northern Territory at the time! Also known as the ‘Walk-In’, the cinema’s screen faced south to avoid lighting from the sun and moon. The house attached to the theatre is now known as Alice Springs YHA – a place where the premiere of A Town Like Alice was held in 1956 and where guests still watch films under the stars every night in 2019.

Grab a complimentary blankie and pull up a seat in the courtyard each evening for an al fresco film. Lush.

Gap View Hotel Alice Springs

Image credit: Hannah Millerik

Pub grub – NT Style

Now now now, we know you’re not the kinda traveller to adventure to exotic locations only to order something your Mum used to make you three times a week as a kid. Right? Right. Beeline for Bojangles Saloon and Restaurant to sample their vast menu offering camel, emu, crocodile and kangaroo (all of which taste way, way better than you think they will!). This is the kind of bar where your drink order is remembered and served up ice cold, every time.

Speaking of cold, you’re not going to feel it during your time in Alice; which makes the Gap View Hotel so damn sweet. Offering up all the familiar pub fare, The Gap View has had the ingenious idea to install an outdoor pool for patron use, as well as cold-mist seated areas so you can spritz yourself while ordering your next Spritz. You know where to find us!

 Uluru

 Image credit: Tourism Australia

Three Day Rock Tour from Alice Springs

Now that you’ve become acquainted with the town called Alice, you’re likely not going to want to leave! However, kids, the Rock is calling and it’s time to meet her! This three day trip departing Alice Springs introduces you to Kings Canyon, Kata Tjuta and Uluru, as well as traditional bush tucker and dreamtime stories, rock paintings and cultural lessons and some precious memories made. Top her off with a camel ride back to Alice Springs or a drink at The Rock Bar with your tour guide – you deserve it!

Stay at Alice Springs YHA not only for your rock tour, but for so much more! 

Nearby Hostels

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    From $26.5 per night
    Alice Springs YHA
    Alice Springs YHA backpacker hostel is built within the grounds of an historic outdoor cinema. Make sure you book your accommodation with us, for nightly movies under the stars!
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