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Summer in the Red Centre 7 day itinerary

Summer in the Red Centre means the waterholes are full and ready to plunge into. It’s the perfect temperature to dine under the stars, then wake up early to watch an incredible outback sunrise.

Check out this 7 day itinerary to experience the Red Centre over summer: November to April.

Day 1

Get your laneway coffee fix in the Todd Mall

Head to the leafy lane of the Fan Arcade, located along the Todd Mall. Page 27 is the go-to in Alice Springs for brunch and coffee. Frequented by locals for its all-day brekkie and vintage décor, this café will leave you feeling fuelled for the day ahead.

Learn about local Aboriginal art

Alice Springs is Australia’s thriving hub of Aboriginal art galleries. Smack bang in the middle of town, Todd Mall is lined with commercial galleries specialising in Aboriginal art. Stop at Papunya Tula Artists for popular dot paintings, then head to Mbantua Art Gallery and Cultural Museum, which specialises in art from the Utopia region and has one of the largest collections of Aboriginal art in Australia.

Be inspired by the early pioneers

Get amongst the interactive displays and step inside a full-sized replica on a modern PC-12 aeroplane at the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Here, you’ll gain an insight into the iconic Australian outback service established by pioneers in 1928.

Watch the sunset from Anzac Hill

Make a visit to the top of Anzac Hill for sweeping views of the town. You can drive your car to the top or take the ‘Lions Walk’. Enjoy your view of the MacDonnell Ranges, the town centre and the desert landscapes as the sun goes down.

Day 2

Take a day trip and a dip in the West Macs

Pack a picnic on a day trip to West MacDonnell Ranges. Follow Larapinta Drive and turn right at Namatjira Drive towards Ellery Creek Big Hole where you can stop for a refreshing swim. This is one of the most popular and picturesque swimming, camping and picnic spots in the region. Make sure you explore and swim Ormiston Gorge and Redbank Gorge too.

Enjoy an Earth Sanctuary dinner under the stars

Experience the spirit of the Outback at the award-winning Earth Sanctuary Dinner and Star Show. A shuttle bus will take you to Earth Sanctuary’s secluded location in time to watch a spectacular sunset over the East MacDonnell Ranges. As night falls, a glittering canopy of stars shine bright. Enjoy a gourmet home-cooked BBQ dinner as your hosts share stories of ecology, culture and astronomy.

Day 3

Road trip Alice Springs to Uluru

As the saying goes, the trip is about the journey and not always the destination. Set off early today to drive from Alice Springs to Uluru and take in the desert views and wide open road along the way. There’s plenty of accommodation options to choose from but make sure to book ahead.

Enjoy a bush tucker experience

Book yourself in for a free bush tucker experience at Voyages. Learn about local native bush foods from Aboriginal staff, and enjoy tasting seasonal seeds, spices and fruits. Watch a cooking demonstration using ancient native bush ingredients and learn about the history of Australia’s bush foods.

Wander through the Field of Light

Make sure to visit the Field of Light – an incredible light installation designed by internationally renowned artist, Bruce Munro. Walk the trail surrounded by more than 50,000 solar powered glowing stems and admire the scene under the desert night sky.

Day 4

Sunrise on a camel

Watch the sun rise over an illuminating Uluru atop a camel for a unique perspective. Climb aboard for a one-hour leisurely walk and make the most of the impressive morning photo opportunities. Indulge in a true-blue breakfast of billy tea and freshly baked beer bread, prepared by your guides.

Circumnavigate Uluru by foot or bike

As Uluru is a sacred site to the Anangu people, you can no longer climb it. Instead, join a walking tour led by an Aboriginal guide, or hire a bike near the Cultural Centre and travel around the 10.6 kilometre base walk. Uluru’s base is dotted with informative displays which describe the significance of the springs, waterholes, rock art caves and ancient paintings.

Spend the afternoon on the back of a Harley Davidson motorcycle and take in the views with the wind in your hair.

Enjoy a unique dinner under the stars

The Sounds of Silence dinner is a unique dining experience with a 360 degree view of Uluru and Kata Tjuta at sunset. Start the night with canapés followed by a gourmet barbecue of native game, bush salads and fine Australian wines. Finish your evening with an Aboriginal dance performance and an explanation of the night sky, guided by the resident ‘star talker’.

You can also take your pick from a variety of restaurants, from tavern-style to fine dining experiences for dinner.

Day 5

Head to Kata Tjuta

Kata Tjuta (the Olgas), which means ‘many heads’, is a series of enormous rock domes that date back 500 million years. Start your morning early with a drive to the Kata Tjuta dune viewing area. A short walk from the car park offers magnificent panoramic views of the domes and a relaxing place to sit and absorb the ever-changing colours of the landscape.

Explore Kata Tjuta by trail

Continue on the road to Kata Tjuta and find out just how ancient and imposing the domes are by tackling one of the two popular walking tracks. The Walpa Gorge Walk is an easy walk which takes an hour return and follows a stream to a grove of flourishing spearwood. The famed Valley of the Winds walk is a moderately difficult 7.4 kilometre circuit which weaves through the immense domes and treats you to spectacular views over the desert plains from its two lookout points.

Camp or glamp – take your pick

Say farewell to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and drive to Kings Creek Station.

Pitch your tent or stay in a safari cabin set among natural bush, try a famous Kings Creek camel burger, or stroll to the George Gill lookout for magnificent views of the range. Enjoy a campfire dinner at Kings Creek Station.

Day 6

Beat the heat with a sunrise Kings Canyon rim walk

Rise and shine early to watch the sunrise and walk around the Kings Canyon rim to take in awe-inspiring views of the weathered, buttressed domes of The Lost City and the protected lush valley below in the Garden of Eden.

Make your way back to Alice Springs

If travelling in a 2WD or hire car, take the sealed road via the Stuart and Lasseter Highways. A 4WD is needed to take the unsealed Ernest Giles road or the Mereenie Loop, and the latter requires a permit.

The cool spot

Dine and drink the night away at Epilogue Lounge. Described by Lonely Planet as the coolest place in Alice Springs, it brings together everything you need in an eating and entertainment venue: stylish retro décor, a vibrant atmosphere, food served all day, a decent wine list and a great location (it’s located right in the middle of town).

Day 7

Float above to watch the sunrise

Get up before dawn to experience a sunrise balloon ride with Outback Ballooning. Witness the remarkable colours of the early morning dawn over the MacDonnell Ranges – on most days, you’ll spot Australian wildlife, particularly red kangaroos, in their natural environment.

After your flight reflect on the morning’s voyage over a picnic breakfast of muffins, carrot cake, fresh fruit, banana bread, cheese and biscuits accompanied by sparkling wine and fruit juice.

Spot furry, feathered and thorny wildlife at the Alice Springs Desert Park

Make your way to the Alice Springs Desert Park. Situated on Larapinta Drive, the Desert Park is a must-see for every visitor to the Red Centre. Here you’ll see the desert come to life.

Spot rare and endangered animals in the nocturnal house then witness the star attraction, the ‘free-flying birds of prey’ show.

Stroll through the changing desert environments of the park through the three diverse habitat areas. Make the most of the free informational talks throughout the day, including a presentation on Aboriginal Survival. Finish with some refreshments at the onsite café.

Goodbye, Alice

Hit the road by late morning, bound for Alice Springs. The drive from Kings Creek Station to Alice Springs will give you time to reflect on the incredible experiences and scenery you’ve just encountered. As you travel along the outback road, you’ll gain a real sense of the vastness of Australia’s interior. Relax and enjoy the ride, spotting birds and wildlife along the way.

Arriving in Alice Springs, check your bags in at Crowne Plaza Alice Springs Lasseters – the perfect place to freshen up after a few days in the desert. No doubt you’ll be peckish after your day’s adventure, so take a short stroll to Hanuman for an award-winning dinner.

For more inspiration for your trip, check out these itineraries.

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