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Alice Springs

In a country with all its major cities near the coast, Alice Springs is an oasis in the Australian Outback. A mere 25,000 locals reside here, with many times more tourists visiting during the temperate months of June, July and August. There’s no better base from which to explore Australia’s Red Centre and Aboriginal culture than Alice Springs.

Alice Springs was born nearly 140 years ago when a telegraph line was laid to connect the continent’s coasts. The town that grew up here on the Todd River blossomed into the Alice Springs Cultural Precinct, with its low-rise architecture and laid-back atmosphere. Accommodation in the town centre follows this trend, providing comfortable rooms at affordable rates.

Nearly all of the attractions in the town centre revolve around the Outback – both the environment and indigenous culture. Museums like the Aboriginal Art and Culture Centre or the Mbantua Fine Art Gallery showcase the traditions and artwork of Australian Aborigines. Other popular sites include the Alice Springs Desert Park, the Alice Springs Reptile Centre and the Telegraph Station Historical Reserve.

Alice Springs has also developed innovative infrastructure to deal with the vast spaces that separate its communities. The Royal Flying Doctor Service and the School of the Air both have museums in the town centre.

Hotels in the town centre are more affordable than the resorts at Uluru (Ayers Rock). This stunning natural attraction is too far away to see on a daytrip, but budget travelers often spend one night at Uluru, which is a sacred Aboriginal site, before driving on to Alice to capitalize on discount hotels in the town centre. Most tourists enter via Alice Springs Airport.