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Red Centre

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{{pagebanner| border=0 width=250 cellspacing=0 align=right! align=right bgcolor=#FFFFFF |'''Red Centre''' |- |- ! [[Image:location_redcenterBanner.png|right|250px]]|jpg}}
The '''Red Centre''' is the colloquial name given to the southern desert region of the [[Northern Territory]] in [[Australia]].
==Understand==
The Red Centre is the place where you will find the most famous monolith of Australia, [[Uluru]] and it is where the heart of the outback beats. The only town of sizable population is [[Alice Springs]], the remainder of the population being scattered in smaller communities. The oxidized iron in the soil gives the whole area its distinctive and immediately recognizable reddish glow.
==Get The '''Red Centre''' is the colloquial name given to the southern desert region of the [[Northern Territory]] in==[[Australia]].
Most visitors arrive to the Red Centre via [[Alice Springs]] (see [[Alice Springs#Get in]]) by car, train or plane. There is another airport near [[Uluru]] with connections to other major Australian cities. ==Get aroundCities==
* [[Image:RedCenter_map.png|right|thumb|400px|Map Alice Springs]] — heart of Australia and hub of the Red Centerregion* [[Yulara]]— service station before entering the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
The best way ==Other Destinations==[[Image:location_redcenter.png|thumb|250px|Red Centre]]* [[Chambers Pillar Historical Reserve]] — a spectacular solitary column towering 40 metres above the Simpson Desert plain* [[East MacDonnell Ranges]] — following Ross Highway to the east, you will find awesome gorges, gaps and rock formations* [[Ewaninga Conservation Reserve]] — gain insight into an ancient culture as you explore the small, six hectare Ewaninga Rock Carvings* [[Finke Gorge National Park]] — this ancient landscape includes desert oasis Palm Valley, home to get around is with a cardiverse range of plant species, although there many of which are also buses from rare and unique to the area* [[Alice SpringsRainbow Valley]] — a scenic natural reserve consisting of various formations of sandstones and rocks* [[Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park]] — home to tourist destinationsAustralia's most recognisable natural icon.* [[Watarrka National Park]] — home to '''Kings Canyon''', a mighty chasm reaching a depth of 270 metres with some great options for the less energetic to explore* [[West MacDonnell National Park]] — following Larapinta Drive westwards, it offers easily accessible swimming holes, chasms and gorges, bush walking, camping and four-wheel-driving
The sealed Stuart Highway running from [[Alice Springs]] to [[Adelaide]] crosses the area and is the major artery for local traffic (meaning you can actually cross several vehicles per hour). The Lasseter Highway is also sealed, and links the Stuart Highway with Uluru.==Understand==
Consider renting a 4WD to explore areas beyond The Red Centre is the place where you will find the Stuart Highway most famous monolith of Australia, [[Uluru]] and Uluru. Several destinations can simply not be accessed by conventionnal vehiclesit is where the heart of the outback beats. If you run out The only town of fuel heresizable population is [[Alice Springs]], you're the remainder of the population being scattered in smaller communities. The oxidized iron in big troublethe soil gives the whole area its distinctive and immediately recognizable reddish glow. It is advisable to travel Here you can connect with other vehicles, the more oldest living culture on earth or listen to colourful yarns of the betterpioneering days at an outback pub.
===Indigenous History===
The Arrernte Aboriginal people have made their home in the Central Australian desert in and around Alice Springs for more than 50,000 years. The Aboriginal name for Alice Springs is Mparntwe. Three major groups Western, Eastern and Central Arrernte people live in Central Australia, their traditional land including the area of Alice Springs and East/West MacDonnell Ranges. They are also referred to as Aranda, Arrarnta, Arunta, and other similar spellings.
Arrernte country is rich with mountain ranges, waterholes, and gorges; as a result the Arrernte people set aside 'conservation areas' in which various species are protected. According to the Arrernte traditional stories, in the desert surrounding Alice Springs, the landscape was shaped by caterpillars, wild dogs, travelling boys, two sisters, euros, and other ancestral figures.
==See==There are many sites of traditional importance in and around Alice Springs, such as Anthwerrke (Emily Gap), Akeyulerre (Billy Goat Hill), Ntaripe (Heavitree Gap), Atnelkentyarliweke (Anzac Hill), and Alhekulyele (Mt. Gillen). Many Arrernte people also live in communities outside of Alice Springs.
==Talk==
English is the most common language spoken in the Red Centre and hundreds of different Aboriginal languages are spoken by the indigenous people.
====Historic==Get in==
* [[Alice Springs]] townRemember, if you travel into an oasis in the middle of nowhereAboriginal Community, and the link you are not allowed to the outer world for localstake alcohol or pornography. There are severe fines if caught. Also, and the natural choice to start your exploration of the region. Framed by the MacDonnell Ranges and an intense desert landscapewhen visiting Arts Centres, the township of Alice Springs is Australia’s most famous outback towndo not travel into residential areas (these are well sign posted).
*<see name="Adelaide House Museum" alt="" address="Todd Mall, Alice Springs, Northern Territory" directionsBy plane="" phone="+61 (8) 8952 1856" url="" hours="" price="Entry fees apply" lat="" long="">Adelaide House is one of the earliest buildings in Alice Springs, built in 1920 by the Australian Inland Mission. As you step into the cool interior of this historic building situated in the heart of Todd Mall, you’ll step back in time.</see>
*<see name="Arltunga Historical Reserve" alt="" address="Ross Highway, 110 kilometres east of There is an airport in Alice Springs. Currently Qantas has connecting flights to [[Darwin]], [[Sydney]], [[Melbourne]], [[Brisbane]], [[Adelaide]], [[Cairns]] and [[Perth (Western Australia)|Perth]]. There is a flying shuttle to Uluru but Uluru has an airport (Yulara) too, so if you're just flying in to see the rock, you don't have to stop off at Alice Springs, Northern Territory" directions="" phone="+61 . (8Although you should!) 8951 8250" url=". Tiger Airways [http://www.nttigerairways.govcom.au/nreta/parks/" hours="" price="Free entry" lat="" long="">Located 110 kilometres east of Alice Springs, ] is by far the historic town of Arltunga was officially Central Australia's first town and once supported up cheapest way to 3000 people. Arltunga was born out of a gold rush in 1887, when alluvial gold was discovered in a dry creek bed. Today you can relive the heyday of Arltunga at the Historical Reserve, where the remains of mines, old miner's camps and stone buildings are preserved for the public get to exploreAlice Springs. The fossicking area is located outside of the reserve, however you can pan for gold in the visitor centre's courtyard display.</see>
*<see name="Curtin Springs Station" alt="" address="Lasseter Highway via Yulara, Northern Territory" directionsBy train="" phone="+61 (8) 8956 2906" url="http://www.curtinsprings.com/" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">Outback hospitality – The way you wish it could be all the time. Curtin Springs is a working cattle station and Wayside Inn located on the Lasseter Highway just 84 kilometres east of Yulara, at the edge of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. It is owned and operated by the Severin family. The family took over in 1956 and still operate the station today. </see>
====Wildlife====The Ghan is as infamous as the Orient Express, a long train ride over a large land area, and got even longer in 2004 with an extension right through to [[Darwin]]. Don't expect complete luxury on the Ghan, however. The rolling stock is rather dated, and while adequate, it was purchased used, and has not been highly refurbished. The scenery is nice though. Expect to pay a premium over the airfare.
*<see name="Alice Springs Desert Park" alt="" address="Larapinta Drive, Alice Springs, Northern Territory" directionsBy car=="" phone="+61 [[Image:Martyna Zambrzycka Millspaugh (82) 8951 8788" url="http://www.alicespringsdesertparkJPG|250px|thumb|Outback, Australia.com.au/" hours="" price="Entry fees apply" lat="" long="">In the space of just a few hours, you can discover many of the secrets of the Central Australian deserts at the Street between Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and Alice Springs Desert Park. Hundreds of the species of plants and animals found across Central Australian deserts can be seen, smelt and heard at the Desert Park. You will even have the opportunity to experience desert habitats as they are at night, seeing some of the animals near impossible to see in the wild.</see>]]
*<see name="Alice Springs Reptile Centre" alt="" address="9 Stuart Terraceis 17 hours drive from [[Darwin]], Alice Springs, Northern Territory" directions="" phone="+61 (8) 8952 8900" url="http://www.reptilecentre.comand 18 hours drive from [[Adelaide]].au/" hours="" price="Entry fees apply" lat="" long=""> The Alice Springs Reptile Centre [[Stuart Highway]] from [[Adelaide]] is well-maintained and goes right through [[Coober Pedy]], an underground town famous also for being the largest reptile display in opal capital of the Northern Territory. Do not miss world (and worth stopping off for a visit on the saltwater crocodile exhibit featuring underwater viewingway). Watch the lizards feed, or play with a python. Or wander It continues through [[Tennant Creek]] and [[Katherine]] all the absorbing Fossil Cave, where you can trace the rise of reptiles over hundreds of millions of yearsway up to Darwin.</see>
====Nature====It is worthwhile reading the safety tips for [[Driving in Australia]] and always carrying water and ensuring you know the location and opening hours of your fuel and food stops.
*<see name="Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park" alt="" address="Lasseter Highway, Yulara, Northern Territory" directions="" phone="+61 (8) 8956 1100" url="http://www.environment.gov.au/parks/uluru/index.html" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">Few are ever prepared for a visit to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Uluru / Ayers Rock is Australia's most recognisable natural icon. Standing 348 metres high, the monolith has a great cultural significance for the traditional Aboriginal owners, Read the Anangu peoplerental car conditions carefully. The Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is located 440 kilometres south-west of Cars rented locally in Alice Springs near the town usually do not offer unlimited free kilometres. Rental cars hired outside of Yulara, and encompasses both Uluru / Ayers Rock and the great rock domes Northern Territory may not be able to be driven into it. Driving after dark outside of Kata Tjuta / The Olgas. This ancient landform dates back 500 million years. Travellers visiting the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park can also browse through the informative and award-winning Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centrecity limits may be prohibited. </see>
*<see name="Ayers Rock Observatory" alt="" address="Tour and Information Centre, Ayers Rock Resort, Yulara, Northern Territory" directionsBy bus="" phone="+61 (8) 8956 2563" url="http://www.ecotours.com.au/" hours="" price="Entry fees apply" lat="" long="">The lights of the world’s modern cities hide the brilliance of the night sky, but things are different at the Ayers Rock Observatory, located in Yulara. The darkness of the desert setting and a clean atmosphere, provide one of the best locations on Earth to view the magnificent skies of the Southern Hemisphere. An expert guide will show you our magnificent galaxy and beyond through state of the art telescopes.</see>
*<see name="Watarrka National Park (Kings Canyon)" alt="" address="Kings Canyon, Watarrka National Park, Northern Territorysouth-west of Alice Springs" directions="330 kilometres via the Red Centre Way, 450 kilometres via the Stuart and Lasseter Highways and Luritja Road" phone="+61 (8) 8951 8250" url="Greyhound [http://www.ntgreyhound.govcom.au/nreta/parks/" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">Watarrka National Park, synonymous with its most famous landmark, Kings Canyon, is located 450 kilometres south west of ]] ply the route to Alice Springs in from the Uluru-Kata Tjuta region of north and the Northern Territory. The park encompasses the western end of the George Gill Range and is home to a variety of unique native flora and fauna, including over 600 different plant speciessouth.</see>
*<see name="Ormiston Gorge and Pound" alt="" addressGet around="Namatjira Drive, Alice Springs, Northern Territory" directions="135 kilometres west of Alice Springs" phone="" url="http://www.nt.gov.au/nreta/parks/" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">Massive geological forces created the towering red walls of Ormiston Gorge and Pound, located within the West MacDonnell National Park, 135 kilometres west of Alice Springs. Within the gorge is a permanent waterhole, estimated to be at least 14 metres deep, which provides a refreshing finale to a day's exploring. The seven kilometre long Ormiston Pound walk is a full circuit from the visitor centre across the rocky slopes, onto the flat floor of the pound and returns along the gorge via the main waterhole.</see>
====Culture====[[Image:RedCenter_map.png|right|thumb|400px|Map of the Red Center]]
*<see name="Maruku Arts" alt="" address="Cultural Centre, Uluru Kata-Tjuta National Park, Yulara, Northern Territory" directions="" phone="" url="http://www.maruku.com.au/" hours="" price="Free entry" lat="" long="">Maruku is a craft company, owned and controlled by the Anangu Aboriginal people The sealed Stuart Highway running from [[Alice Springs]] to [[Adelaide]] crosses the southeast area and west of Central Australia. Maruku's retail outlet is at the Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre at the base of Uluru / Ayes Rockmajor artery for local traffic (meaning you can actually cross several vehicles per hour). Maruku assists craftspeople throughout the AnanguThe Lasseter Highway is also sealed, collective name of Pitjantjatjara, Yankunytjatjara and Ngaanyatjara speaking people, lands by coordinating links the marketing and promotion of their work and providing them Stuart Highway with essential support services and advice. Tours are available within the shop to assist in appreciating the spiritual significance of the works on displayUluru.</see>
*<see name="Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre" alt="" address="Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Headquarters, Yulara, Northern Territory" directions="" phone="" url="http://www.environment.gov.au/parks/uluru/visitor-activities/cultural-centre.html" hours="" price="Free entry" lat="" long="">All Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park information services are housed within Consider renting a 4WD to explore areas beyond the award-winning Stuart Highway and Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre, a stunning example of contemporary Australian architecture. Dynamic displays, video and artwork explain this world heritage landscape from the perspective of the traditional owners, AnanguSeveral destinations can simply not be accessed by conventionnal vehicles. Learn about Tjukurpa, creation stories and laws, which explain the spiritual meanings of the surrounding landscapes.</see> *<see name="Alice Springs School If you run out of the Air" alt="" address="80 Head Streetfuel here, Alice Springs, Northern Territory" directions="" phone="+61 (8) 8951 6834" url="http://www.assoa.nt.eduyou're in big trouble.au/" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">Alice Springs School of the Air was established in 1951 to provide a much needed education resource It is advisable to children living in remote Central Australia. At the timetravel with other vehicles, it was the only one of its kind in more the world and HF (high frequency) radio was the mode of communication for these school lessonsbetter.</see>
==Do==The big rocks are actually a little distance from [[Yulara]]. where the accommodation and facilities are. If you are not with a tour, or didn't bring your car, you will need to decide how best to get to these locations. Hire cars can be expensive, and have limited kilometres; however shuttles to and from the rock are also expensive, so do the math and see what works best for you.
*<do name="Larapinta Trail" alt="" addressSee="West MacDonnell Ranges, Alice Springs, Northern Territory" directions="" phone="+61 (8) 8951 8250" url="http://www.nt.gov.au/nreta/parks/" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">The Larapinta Trail is an exciting long distance walking track through the West MacDonnell National Park in the heart of central Australia. The Trail runs for 223 kilometres along the backbone of the West MacDonnell Ranges from Alice Springs to Mt Sonder. The grandeur and timeless beauty of the Ranges are the backdrop and setting for the Trail, which is divided into twelve sections, providing walkers with an opportunity to experience an ancient landscape at their own pace.</do>
*<do name="Redbank Gorge" alt="" address="Namatjira Drive, [[Alice Springs]], Northern Territory" directions="157 kilometres west of Alice Springs" phone="" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">Part an oasis in the middle of nowhere, and the link to the West MacDonnell National Parkouter world for locals, and the waters natural choice to start your exploration of deep the region. Framed by the MacDonnell Ranges and narrow Redbank Gorgean intense desert landscape, located 157 kilometres west of Alice Springs, are very cold all year round and are best negotiated with an airbed or similar flotation device. Explore this ancient and impressive landform, then sit down and relax, soaking up the scenic surrounds, as you enjoy a barbecue lunch by the Gorgeis Australia’s most famous outback town.</do>
*<do name="Corroboree Rock Conservation Reserve" alt="" address="Ross Highway, Alice Springs, Northern Territory" directions="43 kilometres east of Alice Springs" phone="+61 (8) 8951 8250" url="" hours="" price="Free entry" lat="" long="">As the name suggests, this site is of great significance to local Aboriginal people, as are many of the sites in the MacDonnell Ranges. The real significance of the rocky outcrop to the Eastern Arrernte people is not well known. Corroboree Rock was probably not a corroboree site, but a site where men carried out important ceremonial activities. Information signs and a short walk help you appreciate the area. It is an easy stopover, on your way to other East MacDonnell parks such as Trephina Gorge and Arltunga. The reserve is easily reached by regular two wheel drive vehicles.
*<see name="Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park" alt="" address="Lasseter Highway, Yulara, Northern Territory" directions="" phone="+61 (8) 8956 1100" url="http:/do/www.environment.gov.au/parks/uluru/index.html" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">Few are ever prepared for a visit to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Uluru (Ayers Rock) is Australia's most recognisable natural icon. Standing 348 metres high, the monolith has a great cultural significance for the traditional Aboriginal owners, the Anangu people. The Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is located 440km south-west of Alice Springs near the town of Yulara. A three-day permit to enter the National Park costs $25. A permit to enter the park may or may not be included in a tour you book. Ask your booking agent if your tour fee includes the permit to enter the park. As it is a sacred site, aboriginal communities wish tourists would not climb "the Rock". Nevertheless,it is still possible to climb, but the way is closed when temperatures are above 36°C.</see>[[Image:Martyna Zambrzycka Millspaugh (5).JPG|250px|thumb|On the top of Uluru Rock (Ayers Rock)]]
*<do see name="Ellery Creek Big HoleCurtin Springs Station" alt="" address="Namatjira Drive, Alice SpringsLasseter Highway via Yulara, Northern Territory" directions="90 kilometres west of Alice Springs" phone="+61 (8) 8956 2906" url="http://www.curtinsprings.com/" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">High red cliffs, Outback hospitality – The way you wish it could be all the time. Curtin Springs is a large waterhole working cattle station and a sandy creek fringed by gums make this one Wayside Inn located on the Lasseter Highway just 84km east of Yulara, at the most popular and picturesque picnicking spots in the West MacDonnell Rangesedge of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Much more than just a popular place for the locals to take a refreshing dip, Ellery Creek Big Hole It is also recognised as an internationally significant geological site. A three kilometre Dolomite walk provides an opportunity for visitors to explore some of owned and operated by the interesting formationsSeverin family. The West MacDonnell Ranges are the source of the water that has collected family took over in a deep pool. Red River 1956 and Ghost Gums shelter still operate the picnic area located nearby. Camping is permitted (fees apply)station today.</dosee>
*<do name="Ewaninga Rock Carvings Conservation Reserve" alt="" address="Old South Road, Alice Springs, Northern Territory" directions="39 kilometres south of Alice Springs" phone="" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">Gain insight into an ancient culture as you explore the small, 6 hectare Ewaninga Rock Carvings Conservation Reserve, 39 kilometres south of Alice Springs. The Reserve protects rock engravings or petroglyphs, which are a valuable link to the activities of early Arrernte Aboriginal people. Here outcrops of soft sandstone beside a small claypan, form natural galleries for petroglyphs featuring a great variety of symbols or motifs. Much of the meaning of the petroglyphs is sacred.</do>
*<do see name="Explorer's WayMuseum of Central Australia" alt="" address="Stuart HighwayAraluen Cultural Precinct, Northern Territory Corner of Larapinta Drive and South Australian borderMemorial Avenue, Alice Springs, Northern Territory" directions="" phone="+61 (8) 8951 1120" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">The Explorer’s Way bisects Museum of Central Australia, in the Australian continent from Adelaide in Araluen Cultural Precinct, acts as an interpretive centre for Central Australia’s natural history. The exhibitions explore the south to Darwin in unique features of the north. It covers over 3region through time and space,000 kilometres and follows following the corridor blazed in evolution of the 1860s by explorer John McDouall Stuart for landscape and the ‘Overland Telegraph’creatures that inhabited it. On this driveFeatured is a replica of a local palaeontologic dig, you’ll pass through an ancient waterhole with some surprising mega fauna including a giant freshwater crocodile and the largest bird that ever lived, Dromornis stirtoni, dated at eight million years old. Other exhibits include present day Central Australian desertmammals, fertile dark soil plains of the Barkly Tablelandsreptiles, Savannah woodlands insects and lush tropical forests surrounding Darwinmeteorite fragments.</dosee>====Adventure====
*<do name="Giles Track" alt="" address="Watarrka National Park, Kings Canyon, Northern Territory" directions="" phone="+61 (8) 8951 8250" url="http://www.nt.gov.au/nreta/parks/" hours="" price="Free entry" lat="" long="">Impressive natural wonders, indigenous culture and the heritage of outback Central Australia can all be experienced when trekking this 22 kilometre, two day long distance walking track located in Watarrka National Park.</do>
*<see name="Alice Springs Desert Park" alt="" address="Larapinta Drive, Alice Springs, Northern Territory" directions=Culture"" phone="+61 (8) 8951 8788" url="http://www.alicespringsdesertpark.com.au/" hours="" price="Entry fees apply" lat="" long="">In the space of just a few hours, you can discover many of the secrets of the Central Australian deserts at the Alice Springs Desert Park. Hundreds of the species of plants and animals found across Central Australian deserts can be seen, smelt and heard at the Desert Park. You will even have the opportunity to experience desert habitats as they are at night, seeing some of the animals near impossible to see in the wild.</see>
*<see name="Watarrka National Park (Kings Canyon)" alt="" address="Kings Canyon, Watarrka National Park, Northern Territorysouth-west of Alice Springs" directions=Wildlife"330km via the Red Centre Way, 450km via the Stuart and Lasseter Highways and Luritja Road" phone="+61 (8) 8951 8250" url="http://www.nt.gov.au/nreta/parks/" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">Watarrka National Park, synonymous with its most famous landmark, Kings Canyon, is located 450km south west of Alice Springs in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta region of the Northern Territory. The park encompasses the western end of the George Gill Range and is home to a variety of unique native flora and fauna, including over 600 different plant species.</see>
*<do name="Uluru Camel Tours" alt="" address="Ayers Rock Resort, Yulara, Northern Territory" directionsItineraries="" phone="+61 (8) 8950 3030" url="http://ulurucameltours.ananguwaai.com.au/" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">With views of Uluru / Ayers Rock and Kata Tjuta / The Olgas providing an inspiring backdrop, visit Uluru Camel Tours at the Ayers Rock Resort and get to know their remarkable and friendly camels. Get up close and personal and enjoy a short ride atop one of these gentle giants of the desert, or browse through the museum and display area and pick up a memento of your visit. A wonderful ‘hands on’ experience for young children and families alike.</do>
==Itineraries==The following itinerary will lead you through the best of the Red in a few days, however you will need a 4WD, so make a reservation beforehand. Make sure there is a little fridge with your vehicle to keep your supplies fresh. [[Red centre Itinerary]]
The following itinerary will lead you through the best of the Red in a few days, however you will need a 4WD, so make a reservation beforehand. Make sure there is a little fridge with your vehicle to keep your supplies fresh.==Do==
*'''Day one'''<do name="Larapinta Trail" alt="" address="West MacDonnell Ranges, Alice Springs, Northern Territory" directions="" phone="+61 (8) 8951 8250" url="http://www.nt.gov.au/nreta/parks/" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">The Larapinta Trail is an exciting long distance walking track through the West MacDonnell National Park in the heart of central Australia. The Trail runs for 223km along the backbone of the West MacDonnell Ranges from Alice Springs to Mt Sonder. The grandeur and timeless beauty of the Ranges are the backdrop and setting for the Trail, which is divided into twelve sections, providing walkers with an opportunity to experience an ancient landscape at their own pace.</do>
Make your way into Alice Springs. There are no international flights landing the Alice, so you will have to change planes at any of the big Australian cities ([[Sydney]], [[Melbourne]], [[Cairns]], [[Adelaide]], [[Perth]] or [[Darwin]]). Being in the middle of Australia, it takes more or less two hours to get to Alice Springs from any of the aforementionned cities.
In Alice Springs, walk to the top of the '''Anzac Hill''' to get a good view of the town, and pay a visit to the '''[http://www.flyingdoctor.net/central/alice.htm Royal Flying Doctor Service]''' or the '''[http://www.assoa.nt.edu.au/ School of the Air]''', both will give you an idea of the vastitude of the surrounding areas and how the locals cope with it.
In *<do name="Simpsons Gap" alt="" address="18km west of Alice Springs, via Larapinta Drive, Alice Springs, Northern Territory" directions="" phone="+61 (8) 8951 8250" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">Simpsons Gap, 18km west of Alice Springs, is one of the best known attractions in the West MacDonnell National Park. A good time to visit is later in the afternoon or early morning when there is a good chance of sighting the rare Black-footed Rock Wallabies. The Ghost Gum walk provides an interesting introduction to the native plants of the region. The short walk to Cassia Hill gives excellent elevated views of the Ranges and the eveningSimpsons Gap area. For something a little different, take a bite at a restaurant on sealed bicycle path meanders for 17km between Simpsons Gap and John Flynn's Grave. Allow around 45 minutes to explore the Todd Mallwonders of this area.</do>
*'''Day two'''
In the morning, pick up your 4WD (you will of course have made your reservation beforehand on the internet at Thrifty[http://www.thrifty.com.au/], Britz[http://www.britz.com.au] or any of the companies offering 4WD rental). Buy your supplies for the coming days (including a lot of fluids).
Head West on the '''Larapinta *<do name="Ellery Creek Big Hole" alt="" address="Namatjira Drive''', Alice Springs, Northern Territory" directions="90km west of Alice Springs" phone="" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">High red cliffs, a large waterhole and a sandy creek fringed by gums make your first stop only this one of the most popular and picturesque picnicking spots in the West MacDonnell Ranges. Much more than just a few km outside Alice at popular place for the locals to take a refreshing dip, Ellery Creek Big Hole is also recognised as an internationally significant geological site. A three kilometre Dolomite walk provides an opportunity for visitors to explore some of the very interesting '''[http://wwwformations.alicespringsdesertpark.com.au/ Alice Springs Desert Park]''', where you will learn a lot about The West MacDonnell Ranges are the flora and fauna source of the Australian Desertwater that has collected in a deep pool. Allow at least two hours for Red River and Ghost Gums shelter the visitpicnic area located nearby.Camping is permitted (fees apply).</do>
Continue West, enter the '''West McDonnell National Park'''. The moutain range is dotted with gaps, waterholes and gorges, (Simpsons Gap, Ormiston Gorge, Stanley Chasm...), making for refreshing short walks. If you have your bathsuit, you can even swim in some of the waterholes (for instance the permanent Ellery Creek Big hole), but be aware that the water can be ''very'' cold compared to the outside air. Make a stop at the '''Ochre Pits''', used by aboriginals to get ceremonial ochre.
Make a stop for the night at '''[http://www.glenhelen.com.au/ Glen Helen Resort]''', a very casual but clean little place in magnificient surroundings, and actually the only option for a roofed accommodation around.
*'''Day Three'''. The real outback driving begins here. Wake early, walk to the Glen Helen Gorge, and take back your 4WD to continue on the Larapinta Drive<do name="Uluru Camel Tours" alt="" address="Ayers Rock Resort, which becomes unsealed. Make a stop at the Redbank GorgeYulara, and walk the 1-hour return trail Northern Territory" directions="" phone="+61 (without forgetting to take water with you8)8950 3030" url="http://ulurucameltours. Continue on the '''Mereenie Loop Road''', an unsealed dirt road crossing Aboriginal lands, with nice desert scenery around youananguwaai. Try to take your lunch at the viewpoint of '''Tyler's Pass''', from where there is a truly breathtaking view over the areacom. You should also be able to see the eroded crater au/" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">With views of '''[[TnoralaUluru]]'''(Ayres Rock) and Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) providing an inspiring backdrop, a truly gigantic comet impact dating from visit Uluru Camel Tours at the Cretacean periodAyers Rock Resort and get to know their remarkable and friendly camels. Descend from Tyler's pass, Get up close and personal and take enjoy a short walk inside Tnorala. The sheer size ride atop one of what remains after million years these gentle giants of erosion puts the imagination at test about desert, or browse through the energy museum and display area and pick up a memento of the original impactyour visit. A wonderful ‘hands on’ experience for young children and families alike.</do>
You should be able to reach '''==Eat==[[Watarrka National ParkAlice Springs]]''' before sunsethas a large variety of restaurants, cafes and even have enough take to take the short walk at the bottom of King's Canyon and admire the sunset on the Canyonpopular fast food chains. Take a good night of sleep at the [http://www.kingscanyonresort.com.au/ King's Canyon Resort]
*'''Day four'''
[[Image:Uluru large.jpg|thumb|300px|Uluru]]==Drink==
Leave Alice has just before sunrise (at least during the hotter months), and head for the Canyongone dry - so there is no drinking in public, walk all drinking must be done on private premises or in the Rim Walk while it is still not too hot, with plenty selection of water with you. Admire bars and absorb the magic of the scenery around yourestaurants.
After the walk, head for Uluru. Slowly, you will notice that the soil gets sandier and sandier, and soon the (fortunately sealed) road will lead you through dunes. A hundred kilometers before Uluru, you will see '''Mount Conner''' in the distance, an anvil shaped mount with a flat top. From the dune on the other side of the viewpoint for Mount Conner, you will also see vast salt lakes spotting the plains.
After some more driving==Stay Safe==The Australian Outback, you will see both Uluru although very beautiful is also very dangerous due to its extreme conditions. Be prepared and Kata Tjuta rising in the distance. No matter how many times you have seen the Rock in photographs or videos, the first time plan your trip before you see start it rising from the plains truly leaves a strong impression. Get in the park (there Plan fuel stops and always carry extra fuel as on some highways fuel and towns can be up to 800km apart. It is advised to carry a fee), visit the tourist center, eventually take one of the short walks around the rock, but be at the designated parking spot satellite phone or HF radio for emergencies if leaving the sunsetmajor roads. Water and food are also very important. At the last moment before the sun goes down, it reflects If you become stranded in the rockoutback stay calm and stay with your vehicle so emergency services are able to locate you. The rock then "shines" for a few seconds, producing a truly mesmerizing effectIf you have communication devices use them. Head back Mobile (cellular) phone coverage is limited to one of the accommodation at neighbouring '''Yulara'''regional centres.
*'''Day fiveSun protection''' Travellers should always wear a wide-brimmed hat, long-sleeved shirt, sunglasses and at least an SPF 30+ sunscreen when outdoors. You should also be sure to drink plenty of water; a minimum of two litres per day is advised.
Drive to Kata Tjuta (45 km from the entrance of the park), make a brief stop at the view point and walk the Valley of the Winds, a 7 km loop between the red domes of Kata Tjuta. The trail is not too difficult, but it is sometimes closed in the summer days to the
excessive heat (whether the walk in closed or open is indicated at the entrance of the park, so you do not have to drive the 90km return just to check). If it is too hot or you do not feel like walking 7km, there is a shorter treck (2 km return).
After Kata Tjuta*'''Dehydration''' Early symptoms include feeling thirsty, head back to Uluru excess sweating, headache, dizziness and Yularanausea. You If dehydration continues, it can make result in seizures, a brief stop at the bottom of the climb to the top loss of the rock, but no need to try : it is heavily frowned upon by the aboriginals, consciousness and it is just plain dangerouseven death.
Anyway, return at Yulara, and take the '''[http://www.ayersrockresort.com.au/sounds-of-silence/ Sounds of Silence]''' dinner experience. It is quite popular and you will probably have to make a reservation in the morning.
*'''Day sixInsects''' The Territory is home to mosquitoes and other biting insects, so a reliable insect repellent, mosquito coils and appropriate clothing will make travelling more comfortable. If camping, keep your tent zipped and tap your shoes out before putting them on.
Wake early, try to be at the sunrise viewing point at Uluru for a reverse effect of the sunset glow. Return to Uluru, and Walk around the base of Uluru. It will take two to three hours, there are many stops with explanations about the aboriginal mythology linked with the rock, as well as rock paintings. Some features are sacred, respect the place and do not take pictures.
Take your vehicle, time to hit back ===On the road. Head back towards the Stuart Highway on the Lesseter highway, take the turn on the Luritja road, but take the unsealed and rough Ernest Giles Road. The track will take you into some barren scenery. Just before reaching the Stuart Highway, turn left to enter the tiny '''[[Henbury Meteorites Conservation Reserve]]'''. The short loop trail into the reserve will bring you close to very visible craters left by pieces of a meteorites that disintegrated over the desert. One of the craters was deep enough to create some shadow and a temporary waterhole, so the bottom is a bit greenish compared to the incredibly flat and barren surroundings.===
Drive back As with all things in the remote desert, some care should be taken in planning to go out of town. A few of the Stuart Highwaytrips listed are 4WD only and should only be undertaken by experienced 4WD drivers, head back towards Alice Springs, but turn right with proper supplies and equipment. There are a number of tour companies available to get help with this. Things to the '''Rainbow Valley''' before sunset remember: *Either go with a local guide (it best) or ensure someone checks over your itinerary & gear. This is a 4WD harsh environment! *You'll need a lot more water than you might think, and you may need extra fuel. *It's illegal to drive with sandy spots from the Stuart highway uncovered firewood on your roof, so if you need to the reserve)put it up there put a tarpaulin over it and secure it tightly. The colors *When bush walking, wear long pants and closed-toe shoes; Central Australia is home to some of the sandstone and rock formations are simply splendidmost deadliest snakes in the world, but these snakes have very small fangs - a good pair of shoes or long pants will stop them from harming you. If *Make sure someone knows you are lucky enough 're going out and when to get there just after the rainexpect you back.*Beware of fire! Make sure your campfire is under control at all times, and put it out completely before you might get leave. Do not throw your cigarette out the chance to view the reflection of the rocks over the waterwindow in this area, for your own safety.
For Comfort notice: If you are leaving to go out bush and it is not the nightdead of winter (July), you should bring a flynet. Flynets are fine mesh nets which cover your head back . The flies don't bite but they do make a very enthusiastic attempt to Aliceget up your nose, or stay in your ears and at '''Jim's place'', 90 km south of Alice, a rustic roadhouse with a local attraction, Dinky the Dingo, your eyes; not being prepared can spoil what would otherwise be a dog able to play the pianowonderful experience.
*'''Day seven'''==Respect==
[[Image:SimpsonsDesert.JPG|thumb|300px|View of the desert from Chamber's Pillar]] From Alice Springs, take the dirt road towards Finke (the entrance of the road is close to the Airport) and head towards '''Chambers Pillar Historical Reserve | Chambers pillar'''. Make your first stop at the '''[[Ewaninga Conservation Reserve]]''', a small reserve only 30 km from Alice Springs (the entrance of the park is easy to miss). You will see some aboriginal carvings dating from the prehistoric times, Remember that are presently still sacred.  Hit the track back. You can make a brief stop at the '''Maryvale Station''', an outback fuel station with some refreshment available. Depending on how confident you feel with your driving skills over sand, you might want to tell them you are heading to Chamber's pillar.The drive from Maryvale to Chamber's pillar starts gently, but slowly becomes a hell of a 4WD track over rougher and rougher terrain. You will then have to drive over a rocky hill, which is ''really'' steep. No conventionnal vehicle can cope with this climbmay not take alcohol or pornography into Aboriginal Communities, and even with the 4WD you will have to be in very low gear. On top of the hill, you can have a view of the pillar rising above the desert.After descending the other side of the hill (which is as steep as the climb, by the way), you will drive the last few kilometers over sand dunes. Take care at the top of each dune, as frontal accidents may happen. The pillar was used as a landmark for pionneers, and bears some century old graffitistourist passing through. There are furthermore fantastic views of the desert. Head back to Alice This applies for the evening, and eat your belly out Historical Precinct at the Todd MallHermannsburg also*'''Day eight''' Last day in Alice. Take your time to pay a visit to the '''Old telegraph station''' and buy the necessary souvenirs for the family, but most of all look back at your week and wonder how early explorers did what you did without a 4WD (do Travellers are not forget to wash it, and return it). Take a shuttle bus to the airport to take your flight. ==Stay safe== This is a desertic area, so always bring a lot permitted into residential parts of water with you if you go out hiking, and in any case bring a lot of water with you while you are driving. It can get '''dramatically hot''' in the summer, and even during other seasons, when it is only 'very hot during the day you should be wary of dehydratation. Always wear a hat, and put on strong sunscreencommunities.  Some unsealed roads These areas are fairly remotewell sign posted, so take extra care, as mechanical problem can mean big trouble if you are not prepared. The distance between fuel supplies is not to be underestimated. Check the autonomy of keep your vehicle, eyes open and refuel accordingly.  For more information, read carefully [[Driving in Australia#Outback driving]]. They are not directly life-threatening, but flies can become annoying when they buzz around you by the dozens. You may want to buy a fly-net for your headwill be fine.
==Get out==
To the East, the WAA line or the French line are 4WD tracks crossing the Simpson Desert to Birdsville in [[Queensland]], some 500 km East. Be ''extremely'' well prepared if you wish to tackle those routes.
===West from Alice Springs===* [[Coober Pedy]] — spend the night in an opal mine* [[Darwin]] — The tropical capital city* [[Katherine]] — nature and culture, history and heritage, and gateway to the spectaular Katherine Gorge* [[Tennant Creek]] — Aboriginal culture, gold mining and pastoralism
The [[MacDonnells Ranges]], with plenty of waterholes for a refreshing swim in the inferno of the hotter months: {{usableregion}}* '''Honeymoon Gap'''{{regionguide}} * '''Simpson's Gap'''* '''Stanley Chasm'''* '''Wallace Rockhole'''* '''Ormiston Gorge'''* '''The Ochre Pits'''* '''Serpentine Gorge'''* '''Ellery Creek Big Hole'''* '''Glen Helen Gorge''' - end of the sealed road, literally. All after this is 4WD. [http://www.glenhelen.com.au/ Glen Helen Resort] is located there and has a Cafe, restaurant, camping, accommodation. * '''Redbank Gorge''' [http://www.wilmap.com.au/atts/105.html]* '''Roma Gorge''' [http://bluegumpictures.com.au/australia/romagorge.php] - Aboriginal rock art* '''[[Tnorala]]''', the remnants of a gigantic comet impact.*'''[[Hermannsburg]]''' is a small aboriginal art community, famous for their pottery and painting, for being the home of Albert Namatjira. A community of 500, founded by Lutheran missionaries, with several historical buildings.{{IsPartOf|Northern Territory}}
 ===Southwest of Alice Springs===  * The '''Finke River Track''' is the site of the annual Finke Desert Races, and is a really lovely 4WD track - but should definitely only be used by experienced four-wheel drivers, as there's every hazard you can imagine for a four wheel drive vehicle. The track is '''NOT MARKED'''!* '''Palm Valley''', a somewhat more tropical greener place, Southwest of Alice* Tyler's Pass* Palm Valley* ''Boggy Hole'' [http://www.exploroz.com/TrekNotes/RedCtr/Boggy_Hole.asp] ===East of Alice Springs===  * John Hayes Rock hole* '''Emily Gap''' [http://www.wilmap.com.au/atts/79.html ]* ''' Jesse Gap''' [httpWikipedia://www.wilmap.com.au/atts/jessie_gap.html]* '''Corroboree Rock''' [http://www.wilmap.com.au/atts/73.html]* '''Trephina Gorge''' [http://www.australiawidetravel.com/inbound/attractions/Trephina_Gorge.htm]* '''Ross Rives Homestead''' - Also home to [http://www.rossriverresort.com.au/flashabout.htm Ross River Resort]* '''N'Dhala Gorge''' [http://www.australiawidetravel.com/inbound/attractions/NDhala_Gorge.htm]* '''Ruby Gap Nature Park''' [http://www.australiawidetravel.com/inbound/attractions/Ruby_Gap.htm]* '''Arltunga''' [http://www.australiawidetravel.com/inbound/attractions/Arltunga_Historical.htm] Gold Mining ghost town, 4WD track only, hotel, a camp area and a tourist center, hands on display about the area and gold mining. You can visit the old township and surrounds. * '''Fossicking''' [http://www.nt.gov.au/dpifm/Minerals_Energy/index.cfm?header=Fossicking] - A few hours out of Alice are gem fields with Garnet, Zircon, Tourmaline, Apatite and various kinds of Quartz. Contact the Gem Tree for details. Garnet is the easiest to go for on your first try, as the garnet chips are easy to find on the surface and require no digging or special equipment.  ===Southeast of Alice Springs===  * '''Ewaninga_Rock_Carvings''' [http://www.nt.gov.au/nreta/parks/find/ewaningarock.html] - petroglyphs * '''Rainbow Valley''' and '''Chambers Pillar Historical Reserve''' both daytrips from Alice Springs require a 4WD. ===South of Alice Springs=== *'''Mount Conner''' - a plateau frequently mistaken for Ayre's Rock by travelers...* '''[[Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park]]''', where you will see '''Uluru''', formerly called '''Ayers Rock''', and '''Kata Tjuta''', formerly known as '''The Olgas'''. These two are the two most prominent features of Central Australia. You can take camping trips from Alice Springs out to Uluru, sleeping in swags (waterproof sleeping bags) under the stars and cooking on a barbie. The buses are airconditioned (very necessary) and have all the equipment, and a guide/driver. This is a really good way to see Uluru and maybe Kata Tjuta with enough time and no worries! Uluru at sunrise and sunset is absolutely amazing. * The '''Henbury Meteorites''' craters.* '''Kings Canyon''' in '''Watarrka National Park'''. This is a lovely canyon walk; it's also available as a scenic helicopter flight. It is close to Uluru, and is included on may of the tours. It's not technically speaking a town, as you might intrepret it - it is a hotel at a canyon with a little swimming pool and a gas station. The food at the hotel is very good. *''Tnorala'' aka ''Gosse Bluff'' aka ''Gosses Bluff Crater'' is registered sacred ground, a premit is required (available at King's Canyon) and overnighting is NOT permitted. It is actually the remnant of a gigantic comet impact. It is not on the direct road from Alice to Uluru, but on the unsealed Merenee loop road. There are 4WD tracks, picnic tables, and walking tracks. The dreamtime story told is worth a read; it's an amazing place. *'''Ormiston Gorge''', a permanent water hole, has a serviced camping area and a permanant ranger station.* '''Coober Pedy''' - The home of opal mining in Australia. Underground hotels, etc. ===North of Alice===  *'''[[Tennant Creek]]''' - small town, home base for seeing the Devil's Marbles*'''[[Katherine]]''' - small town, the entrance to the tropical North {{usable}}{{regionguide}} {{isIn|Northern_Territory}}

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