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Pyndan Camel Tracks. Daily one-hour camel rides are offered by this company at noon, 2:30, and sunset (each A$50). They explore a valley of diverse habitat about 15 km (9 miles) from Alice Springs and surrounded by the ancient MacDonnell Ranges. Half-day morning rides at 9 am (A$110) allow you to spend more time with your camel, discovering the Ilparpa Valley and stopping for morning tea in a sandy river bed. 0416/170164. www.cameltracks.com.
The MacDonnell Ranges, the craggy desert mountains that frame Alice Springs, are rich with desert landscapes and Aboriginal significance. The Emily and Jessie Gaps Nature Park, located in the Eastern MacDonnells, just 10 km (6 miles) east of Alice Springs along the Ross Highway, contains registered sacred Aboriginal sites, including rock paintings depicting the caterpillar story of the Dreamtime—the Aboriginal stories of the world's creation.
The Larapinta Trail is a 223-km-long (145-mile-long) walking track that runs west from Alice Springs into the Western MacDonnell Ranges. It's a spectacular, though challenging, track that takes hikers through classically rugged and dry central Australian landscape. Hikers are encouraged to participate in the voluntary Overnight Walker Registration Scheme, designed to ensure that all trekkers on the trail can be tracked and accounted for in case of emergency. Contact the Northern Territory Parks & Wildlife Service (08/8951–8250) for more information. Tourism Central Australia in Alice Springs (08/8952–5800) can also advise you if you're interested in planning bushwalking itineraries.
Outback Ballooning. At dawn on most mornings hot-air balloons float in the sky around Alice Springs. Outback Ballooning makes hotel pickups about an hour before dawn and returns between 9 am and 10 am. The A$290 fee covers 30 minutes of flying time, insurance, and a champagne breakfast. A 60-minute flight costs A$385. Take warm clothes to beat the pre-dawn chill. 35 Kennett Ct, Ciccone, Alice Springs, NT, 0870. 1800/809–790. www.outbackballooning.com.au.
Outback Quad Adventures. Hop aboard a motorbike with four huge wheels and explore the Northern Territory's oldest working cattle station with Outback Quad Adventures. The company collects you from Alice Springs and takes you to the station, 17 km (10 miles) out of town on the edge of the MacDonnell Ranges. No special license is needed, and all tours are escorted by guides with two-way radios. Rides of 2½ hours (A$135) and 3½ hours (A$199) and overnight tours—which include barbecue dinner with wine, sleeping bags, and breakfast (A$399)—operate year-round. Undoolya Station, 1 Undoolya Rd., Alice Springs, NT. 08/8953–0697.