The relaxed town centre of Alice Springs is easy to stroll around, so when I’ve thrown on my walking shoes I take a wander over to the Olive Pink Botanic Garden to stroll around the paths. If I’m feeling more energetic, I head up the steep track from town to the lookout at Anzac Hill.
I can also take one of the walks to the Alice Springs Telegraph Station to explore the area’s early European history. Around the reserve there are marked walks to follow from the cafe, but just watch out for the cyclists because they are popular with mountain bikers too. It’s a great way to get a taste for the Larapinta Trail because the first section of this 223km hike starts here.
Although the entire Larapinta Trail requires at least 14 days to complete end-to-end, the proximity to Alice Springs makes it simple to do smaller sections. The route is split into 12 sections that give access to some of the West MacDonnell Range’s best-known features, including Simpsons Gap, Standley Chasm, Serpentine Gorge, Ochre Pits, Ormiston Gorge and Redbank Gorge. The opportunities for walks are just endless…
Meanwhile, over to the east of town there is great bushwalking at Corroboree Rock and Trephina Gorge. Other gems of the East MacDonnell Range are short walks at Jessie and Emily gaps, and N’Dhala Gorge. Off the usual tourist route, Ruby Gap Nature Park offers me the chance to really get away from it all while exploring along the Hale River bed to Glen Annie Gorge and Foxs Grave.
If I continue exploring beyond the West MacDonnell Range to the astounding Watarrka National Park, even more amazing walks await. Even a short walk at Kings Canyon gives amazing views over the sheer sandstone cliffs, but the Rim Walk is a must-do for its impressive vistas.
Central Australia has so many great walks it’s almost impossible to pick favourites, but some of my highlights are the Arankaia Walk in Finke Gorge National Park, the first section of the Valley of the Winds walk at Kata Tjuta, and of course the Mala Walk at Uluru.