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A group of people with a picnic at Ellery Creek

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.

Anzac Hill

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 with a wide selection of galleries and exhibitions. The Araluen Cultural Precinct is the best place for a deep dive into the art and artists of Central Australia, where you’ll find some of the most significant artistic, cultural and historical experiences in Alice Springs.

In the heart of downtown Alice, Todd Mall is lined with commercial galleries specialising in Aboriginal art. Stop at Papunya Tula Artists which is an Aboriginal owned gallery showcasing artists from the Western Desert. Don’t miss Mbantua Art Gallery and Cultural Museum, which is a few minutes drive from the Mall, specialises in art from the Utopia region and is home to one of Australia’s largest collections of Aboriginal art.

Be inspired by the early pioneers

Learn about the pioneers who established the Royal Flying Doctor Service in the 1930s, providing much needed medical services to outback Australia. Board a full-size replica RFDS aircraft to feel what it’s like to be a patient and experience the virtual reality and interactive displays where pioneers and their stories are brought to life.

Watch the sunset from Anzac Hill

As the sun falls on another summer day, make your way to the top of Anzac Hill for sweeping views of Alice Springs. You can drive to the lookout or stretch your legs on the ‘Lions Walk’ trail. Enjoy the views of the MacDonnell Ranges and the desert landscape surrounding the town as the sun dips behind the West MacDonnell Ranges (known by locals as the West Macs).

Picnic at Ellery Creek

Day 2


Take a day trip & a dip in the West Macs

Pack a picnic for a day trip to the spectacular West MacDonnell Ranges. At Ellery Creek Big Hole take the 3km walking trail, swim in the cool, clear water and admire the impressive landscape where massive floods have carved a canyon through the mountain range.

Other interesting sites well worth visiting are Ormiston Gorge with its swimming hole and white sandy beach, Redbank Gorge at the base of Mt Sonder, Simpsons Gap for its deep orange chasm walls, along with Standley Chasm where you can take a walking tour with traditional owners to learn about the area’s cultural significance.

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.

Field of Light Red Centre

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 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.

Uluru camel tours sunrise

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 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. 

King Creek Station accommodation

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 7.4km 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.

Woman at Kings Canyon

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.

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).

Two girls on a hot air balloon

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 & 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.

Download the Red Centre summer itinerary

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