Alice Springs and around

Alice Springs and around: Insider's Q&A

Alice Springs Insider
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Uluru, the Red Centre (Photo: AAP Image)
And then there's the Rock itself...
"The resort at King's Canyon is pretty nice. All these things are expy, unfortunately, unless you bring your camping gear and camp."
Alice Springs Insider

On Tuesday February 3, 2009, we held a live chat with our Alice Springs Insider, Eleanor. You had the chance to ask her any questions you wanted answered about her part of the world. Check out the transcripts of her conversations with you below.

Things to see and do

John_Brimble: Hi! I had hoped to be more prepared with questions but have never been to Alice Springs and will be visiting in mid-March.

Eleanor: Hi John, mid-March is a good time to visit tho it could still be hot. How much time have you got up your sleeve (i.e. when you come)? What sorts of things are you interested in doing?

John_Brimble: Do you have any "not to miss" recommendations?

Eleanor: Once again, it depends on how much time you have. Personally, I'm a big fan of the drive out to Glen Helen. It's about 130 km but there are a lot of nice stops along the way — you can see a lot of the West MacDonnell ranges. Places like Simpson's Gap, Ellery Big Hole, Serpentine Gorge, Ormiston Gorge... you can spend all day doing this, really (bring your swimmers with you.) Then camp/stay at Glen Helen and go to Redbank gorge near Mt Sonder (the mt itself is probably too hot to climb at the moment). The pound walk at Ormiston Gorge is also great, but you'd need to time it well in the heat.

Eleanor: Also — Trephina Gorge out east is a nice day trip. And then there's the Rock itself — see my itinerary recommendations. I'm more a fan of King's Canyon/the Olgas.

John_Brimble: We're travelling on a budget and would most enjoy seeing the natural sights and any particularly unique cultural activities.

Eleanor: Maybe a mix of the WestMacs (e.g. Glen Helen drive and Trephina) plus a couple of days out at the Rock, then.

Eleanor: If you want to do the Rock-the Olgas-King's Canyon, it will really take you 3 days/2 nights to do it properly (there's some big distances involved.)

John_Brimble: That sounds great! Driving/hiking/swimming would surely be a great experience.

Dining under the stars

John_Brimble: We've also heard about the "dinner under the stars" options. Any thought about those?

Eleanor: I've never done it myself but the feedback about that particular package has been quite positive from all I've heard from (incl locals).

Eleanor: It's probably a good option too, given that a lot of the food out at Uluru is otherwise quite dire.

John_Brimble: That's funny... and, as you suggested, perhaps a good reason to do it!

Eleanor: Yeah, believe me, you don't want to eat at Gecko's family restaurant!

John_Brimble: Thanks for that tip!


John_Brimble: As for accomodation, are there any particular places you'd recommend?

Eleanor: At the Rock, I've heard a lot of positive recommendations about Longitude 131 — it's an au naturel camping experience in posh tents.

Eleanor: The resort at King's Canyon is pretty nice. All these things are expy, unfortunately, unless you bring your camping gear and camp.

Eleanor: In Alice itself, the hostel Alice's Secret Travellers' Inn has received high praise.

John_Brimble: Thanks so much for your chat suggestions and wonderful articles! I really appreciate it and look forward to visiting Alice Springs in a few weeks.

Eleanor: I hope that you have a great time in the red centre!

User comments
I don't think that it is appropriate to condone climbing the rock either.
It appears that this writer hasn't done many of the things that most tourists visiting the area want to do. The 'Sounds of Silence' evening under the stars is popular, but certainly not notable for its pre-cooked food served in Bain Marie's. The lovely people at Longitude 131 will be amused to see that they've become a nudist resort (well that is what 'au naturel' means – a writer should know that this might confuse people -- especially if they're from Europe). I also don't think any of these places are too 'expy' (I'm guessing that means expensive...), but that's the difference between someone on holidays and someone who lives in Alice and is looking for a cheap weekend away. Sometimes being a local who writes, doesn't make you an expert in helping people make informed decisions about visiting the area.