Alice Springs is the heart of Central Australia

Alice Springs is the heart of Central Australia

Alice Springs is the heart of Central Australia and is comprised of cavernous gorges, boundless desert landscapes, remote Aboriginal communities and a charming pioneering history. It embodies the hardy outback of the Northern Territory's Red Centre, and is a travel hub for sights and hikes in the region, such as Uluru (formerly known as Ayers Rock), Kata Tjuta (formerly known as the Olgas) and Kings Canyon. Since the start of the tourist boom in the early eighties, the population has substantially grown to about 24,000. Water is a scarce commodity in the region, and so restrictions are common. It is a great town and well worth a visit!

Alice Springs is 17 hours drive from Darwin, and 18 hours drive from Adelaide. The Stuart Highway from Adelaide is well-maintained and goes right through Coober Pedy, an underground town famous also for being the opal capital of the world (and therefore well worth stopping off for a visit on the way). It continues through Tennant Creek and Katherine all the way up to Darwin.

The Arrernte Aboriginal people have made their home in the Central Australian desert in and around Alice Springs for more than 50,000 years. The Aboriginal name for Alice Springs is Mparntwe. Three major groups Western, Eastern and Central Arrernte people live in Central Australia, their traditional land including the area of Alice Springs and East/West MacDonnell Ranges. They are also referred to as Aranda, Arrarnta, Arunta, and other similar spellings.

Arrernte country is rich with mountain ranges, waterholes, and gorges; as a result the Arrernte people set aside 'conservation areas' in which various species are protected. According to the Arrernte traditional stories, in the desert surrounding Alice Springs, the landscape was shaped by caterpillars, wild dogs, travelling boys, two sisters, euros, and other ancestral figures.

There are many sites of traditional importance in and around Alice Springs, such as Anthwerrke (Emily Gap), Akeyulerre (Billy Goat Hill), Ntaripe (Heavitree Gap), Atnelkentyarliweke (Anzac Hill), and Alhekulyele (Mt. Gillen). Many Arrernte people also live in communities outside of Alice Springs..

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