Alice Springs, The Beating Heart of Australia


Everyone knows that to see the real Australia means loading up a 4×4 ute with supplies, heading out into the bush, and exploring the outback. You can attack it from any side, but the most popular strategy is via Alice Springs. There are regular flights from all the major cities, and you can rent a car, or indeed a four-wheel drive, and buy all the kit you will need.

In doing so, you may be making a blunder. Most visitors to Alice Springs, or just “Alice” as it is affectionately known, are in such a hurry to escape into the great emptiness that they don’t even pause to take in their surroundings. So please do yourself a favor, book yourself in for two or three nights, and give Alice the attention she deserves.

Meet Some Baby Roos at The Kangaroo Sanctuary

Chris “Brolga” Barns is a bit of an Aussie legend. He launched the Baby Kangaroo Rescue Centre in 2005. Then, six years later, he built the 188-acre Kangaroo Sanctuary, where rescued orphaned baby kangaroos and adult kangaroos that cannot be released into the wild can still live a natural life in safety.

Prebook a sunset tour to see the kangaroos in their natural habitat. There are also opportunities to hold a baby kangaroo.


Try Your Luck at Lasseters Casino

Australia is famous for its gambling culture, but aside from the occasional ancient pokie in a truck stop, the only opportunities in the outback will be online. You can always play online poker and other casino games in Australia as long as you have an internet signal. But before you head off, do yourself a favor and experience the real thing with an evening at Lasseters.

It’s quite a small place if you’re used to the Crown in Melbourne or the Star in Sydney, but that makes it intimate and friendly. The staff remember everyone, so expect a warm reception. As for the games, 300 machines and 17 gaming tables add up to a lot of variety and fun. Try out the casino war or pontoon in the table games section if you are in the mood for something different.

Catch a festival – There’s Always Something Happening

Alice Springs has some wonderfully quirky festivals and there is something happening most months. Just to mention a few things, there is the now famous Beanie Festival, which takes place in late September, thefabALICE festival in March to celebrate all types of diversity and the Mountain Film Festival in May.

To find out more about these and the many other events scheduled for 2024 in Alice Springs, check out the NT website for more detailed information and how to get tickets.


Fill-up Your Culture on The Arts Trail

Don’t believe everything you hear when you visit Melbourne, they don’t actually have a monopoly on the Arts in Australia. The Arts Trail in Alice Springs is focused on Aboriginal art that includes paintings, woven art, sculpture and some amazing creations made out of reclaimed metal, wood and other random material.

Todd Mall, the pedestrianized street in the center of town, has several galleries and shops full of the work of local artists. Head that way if you want a unique souvenir of your visit. And remember, every dollar spent supports local artists and projects, so you can treat yourself with a clear conscience.

Sample the Local Brew

Speaking of treating yourself, Alice Springs Brewing Co launched in 2018. Not the best timing with the benefit of hindsight, but despite the shaky start, the brewery has gone from strength to strength and ships its various brews across Australia.

Of course, fresh is best, so be sure to stop off at the brewery bar and beer garden for a cold one. And to leave you with one last pro tip, they serve some amazing pizza too.