Campervan in Alice Springs - Outback Guide
Alice Springs is located right in the heart and soul of Australia. This iconic Northern Territory town is rich in history and culture and is centrally located to some of the outback's most spectacular highlights.
Framed by the striking MacDonnell Ranges and a stunning desert landscape, The Alice (as it is fondly called by the locals) is a town rich in Aboriginal history and culture. It combines the best elements of outback living with a metropolitan feel, making it a charming oasis right in the heart of the desert.
The town itself offers everything an Australian town should: shops, attractions and entertainment. Some of the township's best attractions include the Overlander Telegraph Station, the Anzac Hill Lookout and the local Reptile Centre.
The Alice is the perfect place to start a campervan holiday because it really exposes you to the true uniqueness and awe-inspiring nature of the Australian outback.
Alice Springs is located an impressive 1525 kilometres from the capital city of the Northern Territory, Darwin. This makes it the closest large town.
Although many mistake Uluru for being just up the road, it is in fact 460 kilometres away. Tourists should allow at least 6 hours to complete this drive. However, for those looking for something a little closer by, the MacDonnell Ranges can be found just 5 to 10 kilometres up the road.
Airports and Campervan Depots
Alice Springs might be positioned in a remote location, but it is relatively easy to get to. The Alice Springs Airport is situated approximately 16 kilometres out of town and has daily flights to and from major Australian cities.
There are several campervan depots in Alice Springs and these can generally be found within the township itself. Transfers are available.
What to See and Do
There are some really fantastic things to do while visiting Alice Springs and a campervan rental will give you the freedom and flexibility to see them all.
The Anzac Hill Lookout is a great place to start to get an overall feel for the town and its surrounding landscapes. Then it's time to head into town to immerse yourself in the culture here. The Mbantua Gallery and Cultural Museum is the perfect place to do this and will open your eyes to the significance of Alice's Indigenous history.
For a real outback experience, be sure to pay a visit to Kings Creek Station. Located near the spectacular Watarraka National Park, this station is an actual working station, offering visitors the opportunity to take a camel ride or get up close to the station's tame animals.
Climate and Weather
Alice Springs' location in central Australia means that it experiences an arid climate with hot summers and cool winters. During winter the nights can reach below freezing, so it is essential to bring plenty of warm clothes. The days are cool and crisp, making this a great time to visit if you can withstand the cool at night.
Summer is regarded as the wet season, but little rain manages to fall. This tends to make the weather extremely humid, with temperatures often exceeding 40 degrees. This makes hats and sunscreen absolutely essential.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Alice Springs is without a doubt from May to September. These months are much more comfortable in terms of weather and the town and its surrounds are truly is in all of their splendour during this time.
What to wear?
As for all locations in the Australian outback, the best type of clothing to wear is loose-fitting and covered. The sun in the outback is incredibly harsh, making long-sleeved shirts and plenty of sunscreen a must.
It is also important to wear sturdy, covered shoes, if you are intending on hiking, as the walks can be quite challenging and you will need support for your feet and ankles.
Temperatures tend to drop at night, so be sure to bring along some warm clothes to avoid the chill.
A great way to experience the wildlife of the outback is to pay a visit to the Alice Springs Desert Park. Enjoy a close viewing of the unique and rare animals of the outback, including an impressive collection of native birds.
Driving Restrictions and Tips
As with driving anywhere in the outback, it is important to drive carefully at night and always keep an eye out for wildlife.
As the outback is so dry, there is a lot of dust and this tends to cloud people's vision while driving. Therefore, if you are travelling in a group or behind someone, it is essential that you keep a safe distance to avoid this.
The MacDonnell Ranges
Located quite literally just up the road, the West and East MacDonnell Ranges are one of the Australian Outback's most visited attractions. The panoramic landscapes on offer here are superb and will without a doubt take your breath away. Must-sees while exploring the ranges include Simpsons Gap, Ellery Creek Big Hole, Ormiston Gorge and Redbank Gorge.
Easily one of the world's most recognisable natural icons, Ayers Rock is famous across the world and is the undisputable highlight of the Australian outback.
This large sandstone formation stands 348 metres high and measures 9.4 kilometres in circumference, making it one of the largest exposed sandstone rocks in the Southern Hemisphere.
What to bring?
Appropriate clothing, sun protection, insect repellant and shoes are also vital, because of the changing weather conditions. This is the outback, so remember it gets extremely hot!
Another must-have for your campervan adventure in Alice Springs is your camera. The landscapes here are unlike anywhere else in the world so you will want to remember your memories of this place.
Places to Stay
MacDonnell Range Holiday Park
Situated in the picturesque settings of the MacDonnell Ranges, this holiday park is the perfect spot to get away from the crowds that the Alice has been known to draw. The park's facilities include a TV and games room, camp kitchens, internet facilities and 2 swimming pools.
Alice Springs Heritage Caravan and Tourist Park
This quiet and friendly park is located just a few minutes from the heart of Alice Springs and offers spacious camping sites, perfect for motorhomes. Facilities include BBQs, camp kitchen and laundry.
Alice Springs is the second largest city in the Northern Territory and is home to an impressive selection of shops, restaurants, cafes and cultural attractions.
There are several fantastic roadhouses located on the roads into Alice Springs. These include the Tilmouth Well Roadhouse, Stuarts Well Roadhouse, Top Springs Roadhouse and Erldunda Roadhouse.
For a more comprehensive list of roadhouses in the Northern Territory and beyond, visit our 101 Outback Roadhouses in Australia.