Alice Springs

Northern Territory

Alice Springs is a 3 hour flight from Melbourne.  It is the gateway to the Outback.  It is the Northern Territory’s second largest city, after Darwin, which is up on the coast and has a rainforest-like climate.  The entire Northern Territory has a smaller population than the county I live in in the US–crazy, right?

This was my first taste of the Outback.  It’s very different from the rest of Australia, but so well known globally that it was awesome to finally be there in real life.

Anzac Hill sits to the north of Alice Springs and looks out over the city.  Yep, that’s it.  That’s the entire Alice Springs.  It’s just a few square blocks and some outlying houses.

Anzac Hill honors the residents of the Northern Territory who have fought to keep Australia’s freedom intact over the past ~120 years.

The Northern Territory flag features the Southern Cross constellation and Sturt’s Desert Rose, the territories floral emblem.  The seven white petals on the flower represent the six Australian states plus the NT.  The ochre colour behind the flower is one of the official territory colours (along with black and white).

Alice Springs is located in a basin between the Macdonnell Ranges.  Looking straight out the highway from the top of Anzac Hill, you can see the gap in the mountains where the road goes through down south towards Uluru.

The main Downtown area centres around Todd Mall, which correlates to the tourist-y area as well.  Lots of shops, many featuring Indigenous items, line the pedestrian-only street.  There are also some historical buildings as Alice Springs was settled as one of the first places in Central Australia.

Alice Springs is well known for their colloquial use of Indigenous language and culture.  In a local bookshop, there was a whole section of Indigenous language books, and not just one Indigenous language, but many.  It is so interesting how many cultural groups can live in one region.

The Todd River is a main feature in Alice Springs.  On maps it is labelled as “Todd River (usually dry).”  It was indeed dry when we were there.  The river bed was basically just sand and is a favourite gathering spot for many of the local Indigenous people.  It is said that the Todd River is either “dry or ten feet high,” so there were a few elevated bridges to be able to cross during those few and far between times.

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