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CENTRAL AUSTRALIA

Central Australia is a region of contrasts full of vibrant colours, spectacular scenery and magnificent landscapes in every direction; its attractions are plentiful but can be separated by hundreds of kilometres. A place to take stock and unwind, whilst the timeless beauty gently pervades your senses and invades your soul.

A semi-arid region, with four distinct seasons, Central Australia is rich in mining and pioneering history and is a land strong in Aboriginal culture; Central Australia will provide you with an experience that you will always remember!

A visit to Central Australia contains many elements, from the cultural to the natural. There are many places to visit including: Alice Springs, West and East MacDonnell Ranges, Uluru (Ayres Rock), Kata Tjuta (The Olgas), Kings Canyon, Tennant Creek and the Barkly Region, Coober Pedy and places in between.

 

Alice Springs

Alice Springs: Dusk Alice Springs: Camel Races

Alice Springs is a unique modern town, rich in history. It has many drawcards including its colourful local characters, stunning ranges, gorges and waterholes, amazing wildlife and a rich cultural heritage.

Boasting year-round blue skies, Alice Springs is only a two-hour flight from most Australian cities. It is known as the unofficial capital of Australia's outback and is accessible by plane, train and automobile.

Formerly known as Stuart, Alice Springs was given its modern, European name on 31st August 1933 and has since being immortalised in many books and films.

With a plethora of things to do and see, and places to stay, Alice Springs welcomes its domestic and international visitors with true outback hospitality.

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Uluru/Kata Tjuta/Kings Canyon

Ulu<u>r</u>u / Ayres Rock Ulu<u>r</u>u / Ayres Rock Kata Tju<u>t</u>a / The Olgas Kata Tju<u>t</u>a / The Olgas Kings Canyon Kings Canyon

Uluru (Ayres Rock) is undoubtedly a must-visit during any trip to Australia and Central Australia. No matter how many pictures you’ve seen, nothing will quite prepare you for your first view. Even from a distance, across the rich, red plains of The Centre, the power of its ancient spirit will overwhelm you. Once you stand at its base, touch it and explore the mysteries of its perimeter, you will understand why it’s not only a treasured icon to local Aboriginal people, but also one of the great wonders of the world. No two views are the same, especially after you’ve looked at it through the eyes of the traditional owners, the Anangu.

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Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) Visible to the east of Uluru, Kata Tjuta is the traditional aboriginal name for the Olgas and means many heads. Weathered through millions of years, they are now a series of rounded peaks. There are 36 domes in total; the tallest is in fact 200 metres higher than Uluru. Kata Tjuta provides fantastic desert walks through the rich red, iridescent oranges and burnt yellows of Central Australia. Walking trails lead you to a land of colours and textures that you cannot imagine exist, until you experience them for yourself.

Uluru and Kata Tjuta are located in the 1,325 hectare Uluru - Kata Tjuta National Park.

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Equally as fascinating as Uluru, Kings Canyon is rapidly gaining popularity as an essential element of a holiday in the Centre.

Sometimes referred to as Australia's Grand Canyon, what makes visiting Kings Canyon in the Watarrka National Park so rewarding is the incredible range of sights and experiences on offer within such a concentrated area. A breathtaking walk around the rim of the canyon allows you to gaze down in awe at the sandstone chasm plunging 270 metres to the canyon floor. Venture down into the depths of the canyon and you’ll discover luxuriant cycads around the permanent waterhole in the aptly named, Garden of Eden oasis. Kings Canyon can be reached in several ways, and with many specialist tours operating out of Alice Springs, you can sit back and enjoy.

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North of Alice

Heading north from Alice Springs along the Stuart Highway there are many places to visit. North of Alice you will find the turn off to the Tanami Desert via the oasis at Tilmouth Well, onto Rabbit Flat and beyond. Journey along the Plenty Highway and visit Gemtree where you can fossick in the rich gem fields where zircon and garnets can be found.

There are many sites along the Stuart Highway as you travel north such as the Tropic of Capricorn, Connor’s Well, Ryan’s Well and Central Mount Stuart (the mathematical heart of Australia). Stop at one of the Wayside Inns and enjoy a drink with the locals. Wonder at the Anmatjere Man on the hill behind Aileron Roadhouse or join in the fun at the Aileron Bush Weekend or Harts Range Bush Weekend held annually. Why not stop over and enjoy all that Central Australia has to offer.

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Tennant Creek - The Barkly Region

Devils Marbles Barkly Region: Spinifex

Tennant Creek welcomes you to the Barkly region. Tennant Creek at the hub of the region, was the site of the last Gold Rush of Australia, with Elliot to the north and the massive cattle country of the Barkly Tablelands to the east. Absorb the deep spirituality of ancient sites (Devil’s Marbles and Kunjarra – The Pebbles).

The Devil’s Marbles according to Aboriginal lore is the site where the Rainbow Serpent laid her eggs. Embrace the oldest living culture on earth at Nyinkka Nyunyu where you will meet the Warumungu people and discover their connections to this land. Explore mining history on an Underground Mine Tour at Battery Hill. Swim, picnic or rest in the shade at the beautiful Lake Mary Ann, slow down and enjoy the experience the Barkly region has to offer.

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South of Alice

Stuart's Well Roadhouse The Dingo Fence

Heading south from Alice Springs (along the Stuart Highway) is a journey of vast distances and remote areas, and a total of 1,554kms to Adelaide in South Australia.

Although the Stuart Highway now has regular traffic travelling north and south, as with all outback travel, make sure you are well prepared for the journey before heading out.

There are many attractions and places to visit ‘South of Alice’ including: Stuart’s Well (visit Dinky the singing Dingo), Erldunda (marks the turn off to Uluru/Kata Tjuta/Kings Canyon via the Lasseter Highway), Kulgera, NT/SA border, Indulkana Aboriginal Community, Marla, Mintabie, Cadney Homestead, Coober Pedy, Glendambo, Pimba, Woomera and Port Augusta.

When heading ‘South of Alice’, make sure you take the time to stop at the Northern Territory and South Australia border; it’s a great photo opportunity!

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Coober Pedy

Coober Pedy Sunset over the Opal Fields

Coober Pedy is the opal capital of the world! – It boasts opals, underground living and a great outback experience.

Situated on the sealed Stuart Highway (Explorer Highway), 689km south of Alice Springs and 846km north of Adelaide, Coober Pedy is a multicultural mining community where people live, work and enjoy life underground. In the heart of the South Australian outback and offering a unique experience as the world’s major supplier of opal.

Famous for its underground homes, shops, churches and accommodation, along with its population of 3500 people, made up of over 40 different nationalities. Base yourself in Coober Pedy and take the time to explore the surrounding areas such as the spectacular Painted Desert, Oodnadatta, William Creek and Lake Eyre North. Visit the Breakaway country and the Moon Plains where many feature movies have been made.

Stay above or below ground at Coober Pedy, for a truly unique outback experience!

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View the Welcome to Cairns E-Book View the Cairns Highlands E-Book View the Welcome to Port Douglas E-Book View the Welcome Central Australia E-Book View the Welcome to Darwin E-Book View Welcome to Mount Isa E-Book View the Winter Getaways E-Book
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