About Central outback: Alice Springs, Uluru and region
Alice Springs is the heart of Australia in more than the geographical sense. It lies right in the middle of the central Australian outback, and the outback plays a central role in the Australian identity: it is part of Australia’s heritage, its history and its character. You’ll find that Alice Springs, Uluru (Ayers Rock) and the MacDonnell Ranges fulfil all your expectations.
Alice Springs is a pleasant, surprisingly ordinary Australian town, stuck plumb in the middle of some of the most desolate terrain in the world. Beyond the city limits, the red wilderness of the outback begins at once – with a vengeance.
Take a day trip into the MacDonnell Ranges and you’ll find remote gorges, waterholes and some astonishing mountain scenery. But the region’s main attraction is, of course, Uluru, until 1900 known to everyone except the Aborigines as Ayers Rock. This was a sacred Aborigine site long before Ancient Egyptian civilization began. And its sheer presence, astonishing beauty, and the sense of ethereal wonder it often induces, make it undeniably one of the wonders of the world. For once, the reality far outshines the gloss of the travel posters.
It’s possible to see the best places to visit in this region quite comfortably in four days. If you want to explore in greater depth, allow a week.
The best way to get to Alice Springs is, of course, by air. Once you’re there you can hire a car if you prefer to do things independently. However, in Alice Springs you can pick up well-organized tours to all the major sights.