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The Top Things to do in Alice Springs

Looking for things to do in Alice Springs? Visit this famous Australian Outback town that serves as the gateway to Ayers Rock / Uluru and experience Australia’s Red Centre! Choose from tours showcasing the natural, cultural and historical features of this thriving desert landscape, or one of a variety of interactive cultural activities designed to add authenticity to your Outback experience. See the town, explore the Uluru – Kata Tjuta National Park, The Simpson Desert, the West MacDonnell Ranges, the wonders of Kings Canyon and Palm Valley and much more!

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The Top Things to do in Alice Springs

Looking for things to do in Alice Springs? Visit this famous Australian Outback town that serves as the gateway to Ayers Rock / Uluru and experience Australia’s Red Centre! Choose from tours showcasing the natural, cultural and historical features of this thriving desert landscape, or one of a variety of interactive cultural activities designed to add authenticity to your Outback experience. See the town, explore the Uluru – Kata Tjuta National Park, The Simpson Desert, the West MacDonnell Ranges, the wonders of Kings Canyon and Palm Valley and much more!

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The Top 10 Things to do in Alice Springs, NT

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by Experience Oz Staff
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Serving as the perfect travel hub for the exploration of Australia's iconic Red Centre, the outback town of Alice Springs is a staple destination for any people planning to visit Uluru and its many surrounding natural and geological highlights.

Something of an icon of the Aussie desert, Alice Springs is a no-frills town that harks back to the days of early frontier colonial Australia while seeing increased development due to its position as a tourist hotspot, all situated in a location amongst the scenery of the ruggedly beautiful MacDonnell ranges.

As such, “The Alice” is now a spot that blends the old with the modern, and offers enough to see and do within both its limits and surrounds that it's become a viable travel destination in its own right.

Still boasting a strong influence from Aboriginal art and culture, this part of the country is spiritually significant to its indigenous inhabitants and as such Aboriginal people and art are an integral part of Alice Springs.

Combine this with unique and tough desert wildlife, the vivid red-brown earth of the Outback, and plenty of historical buildings and landmarks, and Alice Springs is likely to be unlike any other Aussie town you've explored. With all of these factors in mind, here's our list of the Top 10 Things to do in Alice Springs and surrounds:

1. Visit Uluru with Emu Run

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Location: Power Street, Alice Springs, NT

There are no two ways about it - while Alice Springs and its surrounds have their own unique and undeniable charms, the main reason most people make the trek to Alice is they have their sights set on Uluru / Ayers Rock.

As perhaps Australia's most famous natural icon, the massive monolith attracts thousands of tourists from across the globe each year, the majority of whom use Alice Springs as their springboard to get a firsthand look at “the Rock”.

In terms of getting to Uluru from Alice Springs, Emu Run Experience is easy to recommend as specialists in not only getting travellers from point A to point B but making the entire experience a warm, friendly and efficient one. Being a smaller, locally-based company, they provide top-notch service that still retains a personal touch that some of the larger corporate affairs simply don't offer.

There are a variety of tour options available here, with your choice depending on how many days you want to invest in exploring Uluru and its other surrounding highlights such as Kata Tjuta/the Olgas and Kings Canyon – both of which are spectacular in their own right.

Uluru is no doubt the star of the trip, however, and their “express” tour that offers the ability to get from Alice to Uluru and back again within the span of a single (LONG!) day offers an efficient yet thorough way do Uluru in a day.

Be prepared for an early start – tours depart at 6 am from Alice Springs and it's a solid itinerary packed with highlights throughout the rest of the day – and you'll have a day of unmatched Aussie adventure to follow. It's also one that's full of humour and a genuine attitude, which goes a long way to enhancing the experience.

All the essential Uluru-area highlights are covered here, witnessed in a series of stops for scenic hikes, along with a number of additional stops for refreshments and bathroom breaks.

Uluru takes on a whole new life at sunset, as the ever-changing lighting conditions play with the natural contours of the stone to form a truly remarkable spectacle.

Heading out of the bus to explore the surrounds is augmented by the Emu Run's friendly guides who know all the best spots along the way for photos to ensure you get that perfect snapshot of your time here, while breakfast and lunch are included to help recharge your batteries.

Options for shorter or longer walks are available that you can choose to suit your personal fitness level and help alleviate some of the fatigue brought on by the daytime sun.

It's dinnertime that serves as the show-stopper of the tour, however – sunset tours offer the chance to enjoy a quality BBQ meal while witnessing one of the most spectacular views in all of Australia that's “magical” in every sense of the word. Uluru takes on a whole new life at sunset, as the ever-changing lighting conditions play with the natural contours of the stone to form a truly remarkable spectacle.

You don't need a cultural affiliation here to feel that it's somehow a “spiritual” event, which is complimented nicely with the modern benefit of some tasty champagne while watching nature at work. Multi-day camping tours are also available that extend the experience over 2 or 3 days and have the added benefit of being able to spend a night under the stars - in what is widely considered one of the world's best night sky destinations – making for a true bucket-list item.

With a comprehensive itinerary that includes the lookouts of Kata Tjuta, the base of Uluru, cave paintings, salt flats and a visit to the Cultural Centre, this is an exhaustive itinerary all full of local character conducted by people who know their stuff – and it's for this combination of reasons why this comes as our top recommended thing to do in Alice Springs.

2. Hike the Larapinta Trail

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Location: Starts Alice Springs, NT

As far as nature-oriented walking tracks in Australia go, few can compare to the combination of the bush and rugged landscape of the Alice Springs region's Larapinta Trail – an extensive, 223km-long haven for trekkers and tampers worldwide.

Divided up into 12 main sections, the trail offers a diverse array of conditions ranging from the conventional to the scenic, and the relatively easy to the greatly challenging, meaning that every interested adventurer should be able to find a piece of the Larapinta that is best suited to both their desires and ability levels.

But how does one choose which section is ideal for them, and what is the best way to navigate portions of the trail to see all of its best highlights in an itinerary that will suit your schedule? That's where guides Trek Larapinta come in, specialising in taking interested parties on guided walking tours on the trail.

With a core focus on providing trekking expeditions for small groups as well as the ability to transfer independent hikers to and from the Larapinta Trail, they're a go-to service for exploring the best of the track.

As the majority of track conditions are rocky, tough going, first-timers can rest easy by booking a tour that encompasses only however many days they see themselves physically able to tolerate – itineraries are available that range from as short as 3 day introductory samplers focusing on a few highlights, all the way up to an epic 16-day gruelling end-to-end trek that runs the entire spectrum of terrain types and tracks conditions.

If you're looking for a getaway from the bustle of urban life and a way to truly embrace “untouched Australia”, then [the Larapinta Trail] is certainly the way to do so.

As the track contains a large amount of variation in both height, trail quality and physical condition, if you're looking to embrace its challenge and take in some of Australia's rawest scenery, it's certainly a wise investment to plan out a guided adventure beforehand.

This allows more of a focus on simply enjoying the cavalcade of landscapes without having to focus too much concern on safety – your guides know the track like the back of their hand, and thus allow you take in all the incredible sunrises and sunsets, rugged rocky scenery, and wonderful lookout points over the mountainous terrain with far less stress.

If you're looking for a getaway from the bustle of urban life and a way to truly embrace “untouched Australia”, then this is certainly the way to do so.

Camping out under the stars within a comfortable swag and enjoying amazing cooked meals on an open fire or a camp oven is the bright side of “roughing it” at its finest, with designated campsites along the way offering the chance to soak off the days' dust and stiffness in a bath and use of proper toilet facilities.

The Larapinta is a track that is renowned for fairly tough going, but the visual rewards are worth it as crystal-clear blue skies contrast brilliantly with the fiery red of the earth of the Aussie outback. All of this is, of course, made even more special buy the in-depth geological and cultural knowledge that the Trek Larapinta guides possess.

In all, while the track is doable by independent hikers, the ability to have all the hassles and irritants – not to mention dangers – mostly taken out of the equation and simply enjoy the wonderful, untamed landscape as well as the friendly company of fellow travellers makes a guided tour of the Larapinta highly recommended.

3. Go Hot Air Ballooning

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Location: 35 Kennett Ct, Alice Springs

The vastness of the Australian outback is sometimes difficult to comprehend – the size of our country is truly huge, and the sheer degree of rugged emptiness that makes up this portion of the country is both beautiful and humbling at the same time.

What better way, then, to get an entirely new perspective on this dramatic scale than soaring gracefully above the landscape in from several hundred metres above the ground?

It's here that local operator Outback Ballooning comes in, offering a hot air ballooning experience that stands out for offering one of the unique panoramas in the country. With almost universally-clear skies due to the desert's lack of moisture, the clear air means it's the perfect venue to climb into the basket and get airborne for some unforgettable views of the desert.

Departing early in the morning when conditions are at their stillest (don't worry, you'll be kept warm by the flame filling the balloon overhead), the spectacle of the sun slowly rising over the desert and highlighting its many furrows and slopes creates a vivid tableau of colours that have to be seen to be believed.

The sunshine reflects off the rugged MacDonnell Ranges as you float gently across the vast expanses of the Red Centre and offers some incredible photo opportunities, while the eerie silence allows the ballooning guides to provide you with clear and interesting commentary throughout the journey.

What better way to get an entirely new perspective on this dramatic scale than soaring gracefully above the landscape in from several hundred metres above the ground?

Looking down at the landscape below, you'll be able to make out the figures of Red Kangaroos hopping their way across the ground, as well as cattle in what is otherwise a fairly barren environment.

After landing, you'll be able to get involved in assisting the crew to pack the balloon back up, perhaps grab a few photographs throughout the process, and then cap it all off with a glass of champagne and a selection of light refreshments.

Be ready for an early rise in the morning if you're looking to participate, however – as with most hot air ballooning trips, you'll have to be up in the wee hours of the morning as transfers from the Alice Springs hotels commence 1.5 hours before dawn.

This is a necessary evil, however as the time taken to get to the launching site, inflate the balloons and make the most of the morning air – and especially the spectacular sunrise – all require getting up early to take advantage of this time of day.

A hot air balloon flight with Outback Ballooning is a wonderful and distinctive way to see the outback all done efficiently, safely and with a smile and good sense of humour – if you're looking for the best possible vantage point from which to take in this vast expanse of beautiful nothingness, then a hot air balloon offers one of the most unforgettable ways to do so.

4. The Kangaroo Sanctuary

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Location: Parsons St & Todd Mall, Alice Springs

Australia has an amazingly diverse amount of wildlife, yet there are few which resonate with both locals and visitors from overseas alike quite like the kangaroo.

Selected as one of the animals on our Coat of Arms as a metaphor for their inability to walk backwards, the 'Roo is as much a symbol of the Aussie landscape as the didgeridoo, boomerang, or even Uluru itself.

This dedicated sanctuary – originally designed solely for the rescue of kangaroo babies – is one of the best places in the country to get up close with these cute little marsupials. The Kangaroo Sanctuary has enjoyed great fame as a result of owner Brolga (a.k.a Chris Barnes) being the subject of BBC2 film “Kangaroo Dundee”.

Extremely dedicated to his work and with a true passion for caring for his “flock”, Brolga takes a compassionate and interested approach to all of his visitors, no matter their country of origin.

With a visit to the Kangaroo Sanctuary, you'll come away with in-depth knowledge of the animals' diets, habitats, behaviour and more that you simply can't obtain from books, such as advice on what to do if you see an injured or dead kangaroo on the side of the road (baby joeys can often be found stuck in their mother's pouches and are in need of rescue!).

Set out over an untouched, 90-acre wildlife reserve, it's a peaceful, savannah-like environment where the mob of kangaroos have the freedom to roam within. Visits here are limited to small groups to ensure a maximum of personal attention and interaction, and the host is a friendly, pleasant and enthusiastic person to engage in conversation.

This dedicated sanctuary – originally designed solely for the rescue of kangaroo babies – is one of the best places in the country to get up close with these cute little marsupials.

Aside from the ability to feed and pet kangaroos, the undisputed highlight for most visitors is the chance to hold a joey in your own hands – these incredibly cute little creatures are remarkably placid, and it's not a simple commercial-zoo-style “pose for photo and give the animal straight back” experience.

Guests are able to hold the little ones for 5-10 minutes while learning a little more about them, and if you happen to have kids along for the trip this will no doubt remain in their minds as one of the true highlights of their trip to Alice Springs.

Experiencing the Kangaroo Sanctuary is doable via popular sunset tours that take you on a guided journey around the expansive wildlife reserve and last for around 2 and a half hours, aimed at a time of day when the kangaroos become more active. Walking amongst nature while the sun casts its glow on the environment is a truly captivating atmosphere and simply screams “Australia” in every sense of the word.

The tours include return accommodation transfers, with the trip out to the sanctuary showing the first half of the “Kangaroo Dundee” documentary to give you a bit of background on what to expect should you have not seen it beforehand.

If authentic, down-to-earth and a strong focus on kangaroos sound appealing to you, the Kangaroo Sanctuary ticks all of these boxes.

5. Alice Springs Desert Park

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Location: Larapinta Drive, Alice Springs

If you're going to have limited time during your visit to Alice Springs and are looking for a way to get a comprehensive overall look at Aussie desert, flora, fauna and culture all in a single dose, then the Alice Springs Desert Park does a solid job of providing a tasty bite of all of these key aspects of the region in one spot.

As a facility run on traditional Aboriginal grounds and with a focus towards providing visitors with a solid base of regional environmental education, the Park walks the fine line between education and conservation brilliantly.

It's set out over an expansive area of desert environment and divided up into several main “habitat” areas, each of which emphasises a different aspect of the landscapes and ecosystems of the Australian outback.

Each of these habitats contains its own unique Aussie creatures, and each aims to be as faithful a recreation of the animals' natural environment as possible; visitors follow a trail around these habitats and are able to garner an up-close look at what each of them contains and represents.

From the dry riverbeds and bird life of the Desert Rivers environment to the barren surfaces of the Sand Country area as well as a showcase of Aussie favourites such as kangaroos and emus in the Woodland area, it's a balanced at-a-glance view at what makes the outback tick.

While you're there you may be lucky enough to see abseilers coming back up from making the descent into the bowels of the hole, which measures a whopping 176 metres in depth – the longest such drop in New Zealand.

The variety of landscapes on display is an attraction in and of itself, and is similar to taking several “tours” of different parts of the Northern Territory all in the one spot – you simply take a leisurely walk around the track and the landscapes transition appropriately.

It's an incredibly well-organised and run facility that features a strong involvement from local Aboriginal community members who take great care to ensure the Park's development has had a minimal negative impact on the environment. These staff members give presentations on different aspects of their culture throughout the day, such as the preparation of traditional Aboriginal bush tucker and an excellent display of trained birds, as well as a variety of other talks on indigenous culture and history.

It's the sort of comprehensive attraction that serves as a sort of “outdoor museum” with the added bonus of a “natural zoo” added on, and as such offers enough entertainment to spend several hours without getting bored or running out of things to see.

Due to its location and layout in an open-air fashion, it's a good idea to make your journey to the Alice Springs Desert Park earlier in the day, as the biting Alice Springs sunshine can be quite hot as the sun gets stronger; if you're wanting to get the best value out of your visit, the gates open at 7am. Situated just 7km from the centre of Alice Springs, it's possible to get to the park via a short drive, bike ride, public bus (take #400), or via a return transfer service which operates throughout the day.

The ultimate attraction for those wanting to cover all aspects of both the outback environment and Aboriginal culture within the span of a day, Alice Springs Desert Park is an easy recommendation for any time-restricted Alice itinerary.

6. Sounds of Starlight Theatre

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Location: 40 Todd St, Alice Springs, NT

In terms of Aussie musical icons, there are few that can compare with the worldwide recognition that the didgeridoo has on the international stage. It's been featured in countless Hollywood movies, exported Aussie music and promotional marketing campaigns for Australia.

With its characteristic low, drawling note, it's an Aboriginal instrument that has become synonymous with our country, and at Alice Springs' Sounds of Starlight exhibit-slash-theatre, it's the central figure in providing multiple forms of entertainment for those visiting the town.

Located in the heart of the town's Todd Mall, the Sounds of Starlight serves as a hybrid gallery/museum/stage show destination that provides a combined insight into the Aboriginal culture with an interpretive and entertaining visual and aural showcase of what the didgeridoo can do.

Established by didgeridoo-playing icon Andrew Langford, the Sounds of Starlight offers guests who attend in the evenings the chance to take part in a variety of didgeridoo shows that include not only music, but interpretations of long-standing Aboriginal myths, information about its people and insight into the surrounding land of the Outback.

Placing an emphasis on audience engagement, imagery and sound, it's a comprehensive stage experience that manages to convey a deeply spiritual connection to the Australian landscape while adding a modern touch and feel to the proceedings – with added lasers and lighting being a prime example of this.

Placing an emphasis on audience engagement, imagery and sound, it's a comprehensive stage experience that manages to convey a deeply spiritual connection to the Australian landscape.

The show features some stunning pictures of the outback throughout, depicting some impressive visuals behind the changes of the four seasons, and a variety of different songs as Andrew switches amongst a range of different didgeridoos throughout the show. Add to this percussion and other soundscapes and you've got a rich stage presentation full of character and a personal touch.

After the main show presentation is over, guests are encouraged to get “hands-on” with the traditional instruments – feel free to try your hand at the likes of drums, clapsticks, shakers and, of course, the didgeridoos themselves. If you're looking to make a full evening of things, optional dinner packages are also available that allow you to join your fellow travellers for a meal that combines regional local produce into some truly authentic Australian cuisine.

Outside of scheduled evening shows, the Sounds of Starlight theatre also offers workshops for those looking to pick up the art of the didgeridoo for themselves, while also offering a gift shop where visitors can purchase not only didgeridoos but other Aboriginal-themed items such as boomerangs, didgeridoo music compilations and “how to play” guides.

If you're looking to attend a show at the Sounds of Starlight Theatre, the annual running season operates between April and November, so be sure to plan accordingly.

7. Alice Springs School of the Air Visitor's Centre

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Location: 80 Head St, Alice Springs, NT

The development and continued growth of Alice Springs wasn't simply a matter of construction; its ongoing need to educate and grow its community is likewise a challenge given the town's relative isolation – a problem that has become increasingly more feasible to deal with due to improvements in technology.

The Alice Springs School of the Air is a living, breathing example of the sharing of knowledge via technological methods and a true example of a government initiative done right.

Utilising a satellite broadband network to reach its students who can be found amongst a massive physical area of 1.3 million square km in rural areas around Australia, the school is one of the unique education facilities in existence.

Open to the public to visit and observe, the school's dedicated Visitor's Centre offers an insight into the innovative process that allows the facility to function – proceeds of which go towards a series of programs and equipment purchases for students covered by the program.

With guides offering guided tours of the school, it's a unique and insightful way to see all the mechanisms that are required to keep such an endeavour running.

The Alice Springs School of the Air is a living, breathing example of the sharing of knowledge via technological methods and a true example of a government initiative done right.

It's best to come here in the morning – and outside the Northern Territory's school holidays, if possible – to gain a full appreciation of the process, as you'll be able to see a demonstration of teachers holding an online class with students live in progress (if during school hours) or a recorded version thereafter.

The video presentation also showcases a historical overview of the school from its humble beginnings to impressive scale today.

Staff on hand will provide further insight into the mechanics of how students otherwise “in the middle of nowhere” obtain their education, and how their grade scores are comparable to – and even surpass – those educated by more traditional means. They'll also showcase a number of old photos and items depicting the school's past as well as older methods of correspondence education, which help to emphasise just how far we've come.

A tip of the cap must also go to the teachers who work for the school, as they've had to adapt their educational methods and techniques to coincide with the use of technology; a testament to their hard work and ingenuity.

The school is accessible via a public bus from Alice Spring's interchange (takes around 10 minutes), and while it's free to enter donations are both accepted and appreciated that go directly towards the further maintenance and development of the program.

The Alice Springs School of the Air Visitor's Centre makes for an interesting, unique and cost-effective way to spend a couple of hours in Alice.

8. Alice Springs Reptile Centre

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Location: 9 Stuart Terrace, Alice Springs, NT

It takes a special kind of creature to survive the harsh heat of the Aussie deserts of the Northern Territory, but the cold-blooded nature of reptiles makes them the ideal natural residents of this part of the country.

You won't find a more comprehensive showcase of these scaly animals than the Alice Springs Reptile Centre, which lies right in the heart of town and thus makes for an easily accessible and enjoyable attraction.

While it's small in size it makes up for this in diversity, featuring over 50 species of reptiles encompassing all aspects of the reptile kingdom – saltwater crocodiles, various snakes, lizards and other reptiles can all be found here, as well as a true showcase of some of the more “unusual” reptiles of the Australian outback; massive goannas, spiked Thorny Devils and even the iconic Frill-necked Lizard.

The Alice Springs Reptile Centre places an emphasis on hands-on interaction, offering daily sessions where guests are welcome to get “up close and personal” with the animals (have YOU ever patted a goanna before?), so be sure to time your visit to coincide with these experiences (main show takes place at 11:00 am).

You'll be able to hold some of the animals at the end of the talks, which makes for some great photo opportunities that will serve as a nice keepsake of your time in Alice Springs.

The Alice Springs Reptile Centre lies right in the heart of town and thus makes for an easily accessible and enjoyable attraction.

They are excellent presentations that go into detail about what makes each species tick, as well as providing advice to guests on how to stay safe when exploring Australia coupled with different tips and measures – such as dealing with snake and snake bites - for dealing with locations that contain dangerous animals.

Highly enthusiastic staff help to make this attraction better than the sum of its parts, showcasing an obvious passion for the reptiles and their conservation, which shines through in their willing and friendly interaction with customers. It's an effort that's both funny and informative and which helps make even the worlds #1 and #2 most poisonous snakes more of an understandable creature rather than just scary killing machines.

It's also an approach that's taken with kids in mind, attempting to provide the little ones with a chance to see, touch, interact and learn about these scaly marvels.

If you're travelling to Alice Springs with children, then visiting the Alice Springs Reptile Centre should be a must-do on your list; it's an animal park that takes the standard “zoo” experience and adds a distinctly Northern Territory feel to the process.

It's also likely the only place in the world where you're ever going to be able to hold a bearded dragon in the flesh – something that's worth the price of admission in itself! All it takes is a slight interest in animals, and you're sure to find something memorable and entertaining here.

9. The National Road Transport Hall of Fame

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Location: 2 Norris Bell Ave, Arumbera, NT

The historical development of settlements such as Alice Springs which relied on receiving goods, supplies, food and much more could not have happened without some serious planning, effort and execution in transporting all of these to such an otherwise remote location.

Shifting from the animal-powered transport of camels above to the man-made, Alice Springs' National Road Transport Hall of Fame is a real-life chronicle of the various vehicles that made its construction and eventual thriving possible – this is one of the most extensive collections of historic cars, trucks and trains in the country.

It's a diverse and eclectic mix of machines on both wheel and rails that's all incredibly well documented and curated, making for an experience that's as educational as it is interesting.

Located roughly a 10 minute drive to the south of the centre of Alice Springs, there's simply so much on display at the National Road Transport Hall of Fame that it's a viable and interesting way to fill in a morning or afternoon, and it's something that both adults and kids (particularly young boys) can enjoy.

Many of the vehicles on display here are kept in as “authentic” a condition as possible in order to reflect the actual field repairs that bush mechanics of their time period hard to perform to keep things running under such harsh – and sometimes under-equipped – conditions.

Vineyards in the region are numerous, and wine aficionados will be in their element while in Nelson as it's a location that annually comes out on top when wine awards season rolls along each year.

You don't have to be a “truckie” to enjoy a visit here – there are enough general historical artefacts to make the museum worthwhile to anyone, and the amount of information on the history is truly impressive and can keep you occupied for hours.

There's a ton of trucks on display, however, and if it's something you're interested in you'll be in your element here – everything from smaller vehicles to the massive type that is used to pull road trains can be found at the museum, with an entire section dedicated to the Kenworth brand that features models from the past all the way up to 2014.

Other trucks and cars – there's even an original 1911 Model T Ford – round out the experience, and the signed curation coupled with the knowledge and friendly/helpful attitude of the attendant staff ensure you'll never be left with unanswered questions on any of the exhibits.

The museum also goes out of its way to recognise the contributions and efforts of the people – not just the vehicles – involved in establishing transportation routes through the barren centre of Australia, which is a nice touch that helps to add more of a “human” element to the exhibition.

The National Road Transport Hall of Fame also has a separate Ghan museum exhibit dedicated to the Old Ghan trains that were used in this part of central Australia. Here, you'll find not only the trains themselves but plenty of old artefacts and memorabilia to look at including old newspaper headlines, photos, tickets and much more.

As one of the most comprehensive transport museums in Australia – a real surprise considering its location in a desert town – it's a must visit for those with any passing interest in Aussie history in general; just make sure you allow yourself enough time to get the most out of your visit.

10. Camel Ride with Pynden Camel Tracks

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Location: 20 minutes drive from Alice Springs, NT

There are few animals that are more emblematic of the desert than the humble camel, with the durable and placid creatures having long served as the preferred method of transport for those navigating hotter climates in the past.

While nowadays modern transportation methods have made them somewhat obsolete, they still offer an enjoyable, fun-filled chance for visitors to Alice Springs to climb aboard and experience a ride on their humped backs.

Local operator Pynden Camel Tracks – based just a short drive from Alice Springs – provide the chance to do just that, and all for an extremely reasonable price.

Set on a dedicated camel farm that's practically “in the middle of nowhere”, this is a great place to stop when making your way from Alice Springs to Uluru, with a price tag that comes much cheaper than doing the same experience at Uluru itself.

Starting off with an overview of the history of Australia and outback colonisation as well as the camels' important role in the process, the ride takes you on a trip around the perimeter of the farm which truly feels like you're “in the heart of the outback”.

This is a great place to stop when making your way from Alice Springs to Uluru, with a price tag that comes much cheaper than doing the same experience at Uluru itself.

Lovely scenery along the way is typical of the Aussie outback, and kangaroos, emus, dingoes and cows can be seen during the ride. The informative guide provides an interpretive look at the landscape along the way, with commentary explaining all the native flora and fauna that make the region what it is.

Pynden Camel Tracks' camels are all very well treated and in good condition, and have surprisingly mild and calm temperaments despite camels' reputation – a combination which makes for a laid-back and unusually relaxing way to explore the region.

Taking a ride here at sunset comes especially recommended – there are few experiences more iconic of an Alice Springs visit than joining your fellow travellers while surrounded by a gorgeous desert sunset on the back of a camel, as the evening sky spreads its glow over the landscape and adds even more of a reddish glow to the already ochre-coloured surface.

The farm also contains a small store within that has a range of interesting photos and articles documenting the farm and events in the region's history, which helps add an additional layer of context to the proceedings and is quite interesting.

Overall, it's an experience that's almost guaranteed to be a hit with the kids, while adults who have never done a camel ride before can take the plunge and tick an item off their Aussie bucket list.

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