One of my favourite things about Australia has to be it’s expansive acreage. And for urban travelers and rugged explorers alike the reassuring quality about our footage, is that there is always somewhere to go for nice weather, no matter the month. From May – September most travelers based in Sydney and below (longitude-ly speaking) will flock north and from November – April everyone north of Brisbane will flock south or abroad! We’re pretty much a migratory species, us Aussies.
The months of May through to September are the best months to visit the Red Center. Why?
- Cooler conditions (temperatures sit at about 35 degrees Celsius during the other months with the assurance of spectacular thunderstorms)
- Less flies (I encountered about 5 on this recent trip, total! Horrah! Normally you can expect 500!)
- Virtually no mosquitoes
- An opportunity to avoid colder weather back home
In May this year I was fortunate to head to the outback for work and was pleasantly surprised that not much had changed in the Alice since my first visit five years ago (as portrayed in the tragic pose in feature image.) Home to the traditional owners, the Arrernte Aboriginal people, Alice Springs’ population is approx 24,000 (as per the 2016 Census) but given the ‘urban’ sprawl, you can often walk around town and feel as if you’re the only one there.
The Todd Mall is where most of the action is when it comes to souvenir shopping, eateries and local artwork. There’s also a pretty savage party vibe at the backpackers and I mean that in a good way, prepare to dance up a dust storm!
Read on for my Top 5 things to do in the Alice:
Kungkus Can Cook
If it’s genuine bush tucker you’re after, look no more. Kungkas Can Cook are a passionate indigenous owned catering business. Produce is harvested around the Central Desert Region by owner Rayleen Brown, which provides a sustainable and ethical supply chain from desert to dish.
Her wild harvested produce is absolutely delightful! Think: Sliced Kangaroo Fillet, Lemon Myrtle Feta Cheese, Bush Tomato Pesto, Quandong Jam, Pepper berry Aioli, Bush Tomato Relish, Wattleseed Dukkah, Served with mini Wattleseed Dampers. Honestly, I’m drooling thinking about how good it was! It is a little out of town, so you may need a taxi or car (if you’re considering renting one) to get there. I would recommend pre-ordering a bush food platter for the above.
Alice Springs Desert Park
Call me a touristy sucker, but I actually really enjoyed this place. There is a lot to learn about the outback and this is the perfect place to acclimatise on arrival. Check out the daily program before you arrive so you know what time to make it for your preferred activity and again maybe hire a car so you can get there on your own and stay as long as you like.
I arrived in Alice late so only had the opportunity to witness the ‘Nature Theatre’ activity which is a jaw dropping, free flying bird show. I didn’t get the chance to attend ‘Survival in the Desert’ but one of the friendly staff walked me through the basics of some of our oldest living cultures of food collection and food as medicine. 70% of Australian mainland is desert so it’s pretty darn impressive how anyone could have survived such conditions for tens of thousands of years.
If I hadn’t had such an early wake up call the following day I would have definitely stayed on for the Nocturnal Tour for the chance of spotting the endangered animals of the Red Centre. Check it out here.
A quick little jaunt from the Todd Mall and you’ll see daily, a mini-pilgrimage heading towards Anzac Hill for sunset. Find 360 degree views of the sprawl of Alice Springs, the West MacDonnell Ranges and Heavitree Gap. Originally dedicated to those who served in WW1 however now has become a memorial for all wars in which Australia has participated. It’s a humbling experience reading about those who sacrificed so much to protect our slice of heaven here down under, whilst looking out at sheer wilderness. It’s silencing.
Easy access to Uluru
In outback speak, it’s “Just down the road!” but be warned, it’s technically a six hour drive to reach Uluru and it’s surroundings. You absolutely should not try to attempt this in one day. During my first visit to the Red Center five years ago, I did a three day G-Adventures tour (which I’ve just discovered they no-longer offer #sadness) which covered Kings Canyon, Kuta Juta and Uluru involving; camping under the stars in a swag, BBQ’s nightly and frequent stops during the long drives to and from Alice. It was epic!
Walk the Larapinta Trail
If you’ve been following the blog avidly, as I know you have been 😉 you will remember my last post about trekking the Larapinta Trail. You can find it here if you forgot. The Trail starts at Alice Springs and heads west over the West MacDonnell Ranges for 231 kilometers. I couldn’t recommend it higher, especially when there are hot showers and Hors d’oeuvre on offer!
You can find more images of the outback on instagram here @whoislexiconnors
Have you been to Alice Springs? Would you add anything to the list?