A trip to the Red Centre is understandably on the top of many travellers’ bucket lists. With red dirt plains stretching as far as the eye can see, incredible natural rock formations, canyons and mesmerising oases hidden in the desert, a journey to the beating heart of Australia is one you won’t want to miss. So, pack your hiking boots, your akubra and plenty of sunscreen as we guide you from Alice Springs to Uluru for an unforgettable tour of the Red Centre.
Arrive in Alice Springs
Alice Springs is the major hub of the Red Centre. Once you’ve cruised into town, stretch your legs at the Araluen Cultural Precinct, which encompasses the Araluen Arts Centre, Museum of Central Australia, Central Australian Aviation Museum, Central Craft and Yaye’s Cafe. Here, you can explore the vast collection of Aboriginal artworks on display and learn about the ancient cultures and traditions of the First Nations people of the region, as well as their deep connections to Country.
Alice Springs to Glen Helen
For a four-wheel driving adventure, jump on Larapinta Drive to start your outback journey. The trip to Glen Helen will only take about 1.5 hours, but there are plenty of attractions along the way to keep you entertained. Just out of town, check out Alice Springs Desert Park – home to native animals and birds of prey. As the road opens, and the lights and buzz of town disappear in the rear-view mirror, the natural beauty of the Red Centre starts to emerge. Stop in at Ellery Creek Big Hole to admire the stunning waterhole flanked by impressive red cliffs, and swing by the Ochre Pits to marvel at a colourful rock and clay formation forged thousands of years ago, which is a sacred space for the Arrernte people. When you arrive at your destination, set up camp at the free Finke 2-Mile Campground and unwind under the stars.
A glorious swim in Glen Helen Gorge
Wake up to a spectacular sunrise across the rocky surrounds and cook yourself a hearty bush breakfast to kickstart your action-packed day. After packing up, the first stop is Glen Helen Gorge – just a hop, skip and a jump from camp. Surrounded by soaring red walls, this pristine waterhole provides amazing views of the West MacDonnell Ranges. As you float in the tranquil water, watch as the sun bounces of the cliff’s face and changes colours as the hours pass by. After your dip, dry off and jump back in the car to head to your next destination.
For more Red Centre adventures, check out the Autumn 2023 edition of Caravanning Australia!
Image courtesy of Tourism Australia and Nicholas Kavo