Home to the Arrernte Aboriginal people for more than 50,000 years, and a place that could be defined as the ultimate final frontier left on Earth, Alice Springs is a small Outback town located nearly dead-center in the middle of Australia. The second largest city in the Northern Territory, the desolate beauty of the Outback can only be experienced in a place like this, and it truly defines the nature of the countryside when you look at the fact that Alice Springs contains a full 12% of the territory’s population with only roughly 28,000 people living within its city limits. Striding the mostly-dry Todd River (which flows so rarely that locals say you aren’t really a local until you’ve seen the river run three times, which can take up to twenty years), in the heart of what is known as the Red Centre of Australia, this is a place of nearly mythical history that has managed to cling to its Aboriginal traditions while at the same time providing a refuge for those who want to experience one of the last remnants of undeveloped land on the planet.
Even though it appears in the middle of nowhere, there is much to see and do in Australia's most famous outback town. Of course the most famous attraction is Uluru, although the Rock is only a mere 461 km drive away there are daily flights, countless bus trips and any number of helicopter rides to take you there if you don’t fancy the 5 hour drive yourself.
The Todd River runs through the down, most of the time the riverbed is bone dry but if you are lucky enough you will see the river flowing, and it is a remarkable sight.
The annual Henley-on-Todd Regatta is an event you must put on your calendar. It started as a joke 46 years ago at the expense of the river races of the original British settlers. The regatta goes for a full day and is fun for tourists and locals alike. You will find crews of ‘rowers’ with their legs sticking out the bottom of their ‘boats’ and running to the finish line. Held every year around September, organises have only cancelled the Regatta once, in 1993, due to too much water in the river.
National parks like Kings Canyon, Kata Tjuta, MacDonnell Ranges are not to be missed but there are other attractions in town like: The Royal Flying Doctors Service Base, The School of the Air, Alice Springs Desert Park, Alice Springs Reptile Centre, Araluen Cultural centre and any of the many art galleries in the Todd Street Mall.