Summer in the Red Centre7-day itinerary
A summer holiday in the Red Centre of Australia means the waterholes are full and ready to plunge into for a swim. 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 a Red Centre road trip over the summer break: September to March.
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. The Araluen Cultural Precinct is the best place to start familiarising yourself with the artists of Central Australia. 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.
Take a day trip & 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 and picnic. This is one of the most popular and picturesque spots in the region.
Make the most of the day trip by exploring Simpsons Gap and taking the cultural tour at Standley Chasm. Add on a swim at Ormiston Gorge and Redbank Gorge too. This is one of the best ways to cool off over the summer time in the Red Centre.
Enjoy an Earth Sanctuary astronomy tour & dinner
Experience the spirit of the Outback on an astronomy tour with the award-winning Earth Sanctuary. A shuttle bus will take you to the 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, making it the perfect setting to learn about the night’s sky.
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 are 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.
Experience Field of Light or Wintjiri Wiru
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.
For another unique experience, book for Wintjiri Wiru, which tells the Anangu people’s Mala story through a symphony of light displays, lasers, sound and over 1000 drones.
Sunrise on a camel
Watch the sun rise over an illuminating Uluru atop a camel for a unique perspective. Climb aboard for a 1-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, hire a bike near the Cultural Centre or jump on a segway tour to circumnavigate the 10.6km base walk. Uluru’s base is dotted with informative displays which describe the significance of the springs, waterholes, rock art caves and ancient paintings.
Enjoy a star-lit dinner in the Outback
The Sounds of Silence dinner is a unique dining experience with a 360° 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 at Ayers Rock Resort, from tavern-style to fine dining experiences for dinner.
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 7.4km circuit which weaves through the immense domes and treats you to spectacular views over the desert plains from its two lookout points.
Camp at Kings Creek Station
Say farewell to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and drive to Kings Creek Station.
Pitch your own tent with the choice of grassed or un-grassed sites or stay in one of station’s bush tents. Try a famous Kings Creek camel burger or stroll to the George Gill lookout for magnificent views of the ranges. End the day by enjoying a campfire dinner at Kings Creek Station.
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.
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.
The cool spot
Stop for before or after dinner drinks Epilogue Lounge. It's also another great dinner option. Described by Lonely Planet as the coolest place in Alice Springs, it's known for its 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).
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 & thorny wildlife at the Alice Springs Desert Park
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.
Download the Red Centre summer itinerary
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