Alice Springs, the springboard to the Outback, has grown from a small settlement to a mature and colourful tourism centre. From short strolls to day treks, there are plenty of interesting trails to explore here, discovering steep gorges, untouched watering holes and striking desert landscapes. Here are some of the top spots for a walk or short hike to go with your Alice Springs Airport car hire when you’re visiting.
Right in town, the local botanic gardens are a haven of greenery, as well as birds, butterflies and other local wildlife. Wander through the themed areas and the bushlands for a leisurely afternoon
A short drive from Alice Springs and a kilometre or so from the Desert Springs Park, you’ll find a trail leading to the peak of Mt Gillen. It begins at the Flynn Grave (John Flynn was an Outback pioneer in the medical field and instrumental in forming the Royal Flying Doctor Service) off Larapinta Drive. At the top of the rocks you’ll be rewarded with 360 degree views of the town and surrounding mountain ranges and flats. Go early to beat the heat and catch the spectacular sight of sunrise over Alice Springs. With luck you may even see wallabies, desert birds and exotic flowers.
The epic Larapinta Trail is one of the world’s best, voted by National Geographic as one of the top 20 trekking experiences on the planet. It begins at the old Alice Springs Telegraph Station and is roughly divided into 12 sections.Hike for a whole week, or choose to walk for just one day – whichever option you plump for, you will be spoiled with breathtaking views. The formations of the West MacDonnell Ranges and the vast skies are humbling. There are plenty of swimming holes, great spots to take a dip and cool off under the desert sun.
The 10 km journey from Ormiston Gorge to Finke River is a good choice, passing limestone cliffs and unique flora and fauna. Or in nearby Finke Gorge National Park, a half-day walk through Palm Valley culminates in amazing views from Kalarranga Lookout.