If you want to explore Australia's heart, then head to Alice Springs for a trip you'll never forget. Even though it's sometimes regarded only as a jumping off point for visiting the red centre's well-known attractions, such as Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta (The Olgas), this surprisingly cosmopolitan town has plenty to offer as a holiday destination.
Flying in, you'll be struck by the vast emptiness of arid red land that surrounds the isolated settlement, which is almost at the mid-way point between Darwin and Adelaide. The magnificent MacDonnell Ranges stretch to the west and east of the town, an amazing backdrop to the otherwise flat landscape.
The relaxed town centre is easy to stroll around, so throw on your walking shoes and take a wander through the CBD to visit the multitude of Aboriginal art galleries and historic buildings. When you need a break, pop in to one of the cafes or restaurants to try some of the local delicacies. One popular cafe to try is in Olive Pink Botanic Garden, which is only a short drive from the city centre. Allow plenty of time to follow the many walking trails, which feature some of the region's special native flora.
Slightly further afield you can see the area's unusual wildlife as well as flora at the Alice Springs Desert Park. A special nocturnal tour here is an amazing way to experience the surrounding desert's special creatures, including bilbies and echidnas.
Of course, you can't leave town without taking the trip up to the lookout at Anzac Hill to experience the sun setting over Alice Springs with the MacDonnell Ranges as a backdrop. If you are feeling energetic, there's an easy enough walk up from town, although the last section is quite steep.
When you're planning your visit, check out what local activities might be on as well as there are numerous festivals and events throughout the year. The Henley-On-Todd Regatta in August, where entrants race 'boats' down the dry Todd River, is the type of occasion where the classic Northern Territory charm of this outback area is on display.