There’s more to Alice than Uluru

There’s more to Alice than Uluru

Where in Australia is Uluru?

Before my outback adventure, I thought the infamous landmark was right next to Alice Springs.

I had pictured flat red dust plains, tin sheds, leather skinned blokes in Akubras and kangaroo steaks for dinner.

So it came as a shock to this born and bred city girl when I learned that Alice is close to Ayers Rock in the same way that Canberra is close to Newcastle – about 450km apart.

But if you’re keen to tick a trip to the iconic rock off your bucket list, don’t let distance deter you from a visit to the Top End’s smaller city.

Alice Springs is nothing like the rough and tough, wildlife-eating town I had imagined.

Her beauty struck me first: grassy plains teaming with colourful birds are skirted by the magnificent MacDonnel Ranges.

There’s no better place than the Alice Springs Desert Park to learn about the abundant plants and animals of the outback.

That’s unless you’ve got enough time on your hands to walk all or some of the 223km long Larapinta Trail that winds through the Ranges’ many gaps and sheltered gorges.

But whether you’re standing on top of a mountain or on the pavement, you’re guaranteed spectacular views of the landscape against a big blue or starlit sky.

If you want a real treat, look down on it all from 3000ft with a scenic helicopter ride – and make sure you ask the pilot to take the doors off.

Back in town, you can unearth Alice’s rich indigenous and colonial histories, which collided in the late 1800s with the construction of the Overland Telegraph Line that linked Adelaide to Darwin.

To gain an appreciation for just how isolated the outback can really be, visit the Royal Flying Doctor Service Museum for a 3D lesson from founder Reverend John Flynn.

I’m sure you’ve seen him around: he’s on the $20 note.

Admittedly, I did chomp down on some novelty meals during my trip – I’d recommend the camel koftas – but I didn’t have enough time to visit Uluru.

However, if Alice taught me anything, other than geography, it’s that there’s so much more to the Northern Territory than a rock.

Once you’ve got a taste for the outback, it will stick to you like red dirt.


Pack sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat, especially if you want to do outdoor activities like quad biking or a camel ride.
Learn how to photograph the night sky with your camera – you will miss all the stars once you’re back in the city.
Rent a 4WD. It’s worth having a hire car to drive around town but a 4WD will open up the MacDonnel Ranges’s many off-road attractions.


Virgin Australia flies direct from Adelaide, Melbourne and Darwin to Alice Springs, with new lounges now open in both Northern Territory destinations for business class and Velocity Platinum and Gold members.

Latest News

  • Aviation
  • News

UPDATE: Crash compensation unlikely, says head of digital disruption payment system

Southern Cross Travel Insurance says it will be covering claimable losses caused by the Crowdstrike global network outage event, despite its own operations not being affected. “We will be covering claimable losses caused by this event, provided all other conditions and criteria for cover are met (and subject to any limits, sub-limits and/or any exclusions […]

  • Food & Beverage

Exciting culinary experiences across Asia

Here is a look at some exciting experiences across Asia to enhance traveller vacations in iconic cities across the continent. The Mai Restaurant at Meliá Chiang Mai Located on the 21st floor of the iconic hotel, the Mai Restaurant has launched a Thai-inspired afternoon tea for two that pays tribute to the Baan Tawai Wood […]

  • Regional
  • Tour Operators

On Foot Holidays launches Ligurian Hills hiking tour promotion

Australians can explore Italy’s Ligurian Hills on foot on a self-guided, inn-to-inn hike with Onn Foot Holidays new promotional rates. Liguria is a coastal region in north-western Italy near the French border, known for its mountains, rolling hills and seaside ports. On Foot Holidays’ seven-night holiday begins with two days of walking through vineyards and […]

  • Products

Mandarin Oriental takes a dive into swimwear with $360 board shorts

If you were inspired by The Inspired Unemployed’s Liam Moore limited-edition pair of Budgy Smugglers but want a bit more coverage, then here’s your chance. The Orlebar Brown brand has introduced an original design of the Bulldog swim short for Mandarin Oriental hotels – yours for a snip at US$242.25 (AU$360). They have been “designed […]

  • Health & Wellness
  • Luxury

Trisara showcases sustainable dining via wellspring program

Phuket-based resort Trisara is transporting guests from resort to farm to table then back again courtesy of a new limited-time program, Wellspring. The package is a collaboration with Tri Vananda, a US$182 million (AU $270 million) wellness community in northern Phuket, conceived by Montara Hospitality Group, the owners of Trisara. In addition to entitling guests […]

  • Aviation

Emirates SkyCargo expands fleet with five Boeing 777 freighters

Emirates SkyCargo announced an investment of US$1 billion (AU$1.484b) to expand its fleet with an order of five new Boeing 777 freighters. The investment follows a strong performance in the first quarter of the 2024/25 financial year. Emirates SkyCargo expects the new freighters to increase its capacity by 30 per cent. The increase enables the […]

  • Events
  • Tour Operators

ITE HCMC 2024 focuses on sustainable tourism for creating a future

The 18th annual International Travel Expo Ho Chi Minh City (ITE HCMC) will take place from 5 to 7 September at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Center. Under the theme “Responsible Travel, Creating Future”, the expo will highlight its dedication to promoting sustainable tourism practices and showcasing innovative tourism products and services to meet rigorous […]