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Two queens in drag in central Australia

fabALICE Festival3-day itinerary

 

The Northern Territory loves a celebration with a jam-packed events and festivals calendar that brings both locals and visitors together all year round. FabALICE is a unique showcase of drag, family and cabaret events which celebrates inclusivity and diversity of the Red Centre. Dance, sing, cheer, taste, share and connect on Country when Alice Springs rocks the red carpet as Queen of the Desert.

For a few fun, fabulous days and nights each March this family-friendly festival dresses up the Red Centre in a little more magenta and a lot more mascara than usual. It also features glitter. So Much. Glitter.

Pack your shimmering party gear (the more fun and festive your frocks the better) and head to fabALICE to launch your own sparkly bus tour of the region that inspired Stephen Elliott’s iconic film, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

Hot air balloon glides over Alice Springs-landscape at sunrise

Day 1

 

Day 1: fabALICE Festival

Rise and shine early birds, this is an aerial adventure you don’t want to sleep through. Morning glory takes on a whole new meaning when you’re gliding in a hot air balloon as the sun’s first rays cast a golden glow upon the rugged West MacDonnell Ranges. Watch the red earth emerge from the shadows as the tips of tjanpi grass dance in the gentle breeze. Choose from a half hour flight to get a taster or linger aloft for an hour-long flight for full aerial immersion. Either way, a hot air balloon flight is the best way to get your bearings before you land back to earth and tuck into a champagne breakfast.

Mparntwe Alice Springs sits in the heart of central Australia’s iconic landscape, straddling the (mostly dry) Todd River and wedged smack bang between the spectacular East and West MacDonnell Ranges.

The tjanpi grass dotting the landscape is collected by the women of Tjanpi Desert Weavers to craft contemporary fibre artworks, baskets and sculptures. The group is a social enterprise of the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (NPY) Women’s Council, representing over 400 women weavers from 26 different communities from the remote Central and Western Desert regions. Pop into their Wilkinson Street gallery to pick up a unique piece of art.

Before you head to dinner at the fabALICE Family Night Markets in Todd Mall or limber your lips for the famous Lip Sync Battle later, book a sunset tour of the Kangaroo Sanctuary Alice Springs. The Sanctuary rescues and raises orphaned baby red kangaroos on 76ha of land 15km outside Alice. Enjoy a guided sunset tour (when kangaroos are most active) where you’ll get up close and furry with these inquisitive marsupials in their natural habitat.

Man riding a mountain bike trail in Alice Springs

Day 2

 

Day 2: fabALICE Festival

Nothing cleans up a dusty head better than a dusty mountain bike trail. Alice Springs and the Red Centre are a favoured destination for mountain bikers thanks to an expanding network of mountain bike trails within easy reach of downtown Alice. Feel the flow that’s luring mountain bikers to these famed bike trails for the two wheeled adventure of a lifetime. Whether you bring your own bike or hire all the mountain bike gear you need, you’ll soon be feeling fabulous fast!

Don’t forget to fuel up before you hit the trails and tuck into a hearty breakfast at one of the many Alice Springs cafes.

After riding the trails all morning you’ll be ready for rest and recovery. Take some time out to explore the Araluen Cultural Precinct where you’ll find a diverse collection of exhibition spaces and theatres showcasing the arts, culture, heritage and history. The precinct is home to Araluen Arts Centre, Museum of Central Australia, Central Australian Aviation Museum and Central Craft. You could spend an entire afternoon wandering through the precinct and still not see everything!

Comedy and laughter plays a big part in fabALICE events and the Comedy and Cabaret Show is not to be missed. Midway through the fabulous frivolities, this is the night-of-nights when some of the festival’s biggest names shine in an exciting theatrical performance. Frock up and dress in your best party gear and dancing shoes – don’t spare the glitter as you get into full drag getup – and make sure you’ve got a ticket for the biggest night of fabALICE. Continue with the party vibe and dance the night away at fabALICE After Dark.

Swimming at Ellery Creek Big Hole

Day 3

 

Day 3: fabALICE festival

If you took our advice and danced your socks off last night (or your frocks for that matter – there’s no judgement here, whatever floats your boat), you’ll likely be looking for somewhere to revive and recharge your energy level.

Look no further for an energy-boosting breakfast than Bean Tree Café amongst the leafy grounds of the Olive Pink Botanic Garden, a short 15-minute walk from downtown Alice Springs. The 16ha gardens are Australia’s only arid zone botanic garden and showcases native plants endemic to central Australia with walking trails winding through the gardens.

By now you’re probably keen to cool down in a refreshing waterhole. There’s none of those boring manmade swimming pools out here. Swimming holes around Alice Springs are as natural (and as beautiful) as they come and are the perfect way to wind up your fabALICE celebrations.Here’s a few not to miss:

  • Ellery Creek Big Hole – spectacular waterhole on Ellery Creek surrounded by vertical red cliffs
  • Ormiston Gorge – sandy beach, shady eucalypt trees and red cliff reflections – what’s not to love?
  • Redbank Gorge – the key is in the name. Stunning waterhole at the base of Mt Sonder (4WD access only)
  • Glen Helen Gorge – tranquil swimming hole on the Finke River near Glen Helen Homestead and campground.

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