Getting Here and Around in Alice Springs
Getting Here and Around
Alice Springs Airport is 15 km (9 miles) southeast of town. Qantas flies in and out of Alice Springs daily with direct flights from Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Darwin, and Cairns, as well as Ayers Rock. Tigerair flies direct from Melbourne and Sydney to Alice Springs on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday. It's three hours' flying time from Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane; two hours from Adelaide and Darwin; and about 40 minutes from Ayers Rock. Flights run less frequently in the "Wet" summer months.
Alice Springs Airport Shuttle Bus meets every flight. The ride to all hotels and residential addresses in town costs A$15 each way. On request, the bus will also pick you up at your hotel and take you back to the airport, though you must give four hours notice (08/8952–2111). From the airport, taxi fare to most parts of town is about A$35.
The Ghan train leaves Adelaide at 12:20 pm Sunday and Wednesday, arriving in Alice Springs at 1:45 pm Monday and Thursday. Return trains leave Alice Springs at 12:45 pm Thursday and 3:15 pm Sunday, arriving in Adelaide at 12:30 pm on Friday and Monday. On Monday and Thursday at 6 pm the Ghan continues to Darwin via Katherine, arriving at 5:30 pm Tuesday and 6:30 pm Friday. Trains from Darwin depart Wednesday at 10 am and Saturday at 9 am. The Alice Springs railway station is 2½ km (1½ miles) west of Todd Mall.
Ghan (Great Southern Railway, Alice Springs, NT. 08/13–2147 bookings;. www.greatsouthernrail.com.au.)
The Stuart Highway, commonly called the Track, is the only road into Alice Springs. The town center lies east of the highway. The 1,693-km (1,000-mile) drive from Adelaide takes about 24 hours. The drive from Darwin is about 160 km (100 miles) shorter, and takes about 21 hours. Bus tours run between all Red Centre sites, as well as between Alice Springs and Ayers Rock Resort.
Traveling by car will give you the most flexible itinerary—although the trade-off is that you'll travel many long, lonely stretches of one-lane highway through the red-dust desert. Vehicles can be rented at Alice Springs and Ayers Rock Resort. The Central Australian Tourism Industry Association in Alice Springs books tours and rental cars, and provides motoring information.
If you're looking for Aboriginal art, galleries abound along Todd Mall (the main shopping street); they're filled with canvas and bark paintings, as well as handcrafted didgeridoos and other artifacts. You can also buy art directly from Aborigines on weekends outside Flynn Memorial Church in the mall.
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