Is 2 nights in Alice Springs too long?

Feb 5th, 2003, 06:29 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Is 2 nights in Alice Springs too long?

As part of a family trip to Australia with our four kids, I'm planning to spend two nights in Alice Springs. Some people have told me that's too much, that in fact I should skip Alice altogether and just go to Uluru. But there seems to be so much in Alice Springs that I want to see, such as the Desert Park, the school, and the flying doctor service. The desert park alone sounds like it's worth several hours. It seems like it would be hard to cram everything into one day. Any thoughts?
Miranda is offline  
Feb 6th, 2003, 10:38 AM
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The Desert Park is definitely worth a half-day. Our kids still talk about the raptor exhibition there, where they flew eagles, kites, and buzzards.

The School of the Air is interesting, but there is not that much to see (i.e. it won't take that long). Our kids got a kick out of purchasing a book for the lending library which mails books on request to students.

I think that you should spend a day heading west into the McDonnel Ranges. Standley Chasm is a great short hike into an incredibly narrow canyon.

One fun kid-pleasing evening activity would be to go to the "Snake, Bake, and Shake" show at the Heavitree Gap Resort. A fellow gives a great talk about indigenous snakes and lizards, complete with several huge examples. There is then a demonstration on how to bake Ozzie 'damper' bread, followed by dinner, music and dancing (that's the 'shake' part!). The hills above Heavitree Gap are filled with rock wallabies that want to be fed.

Check out the Central Northern Territory Museum, a tiny place hidden away on the 2nd floor of a shopping mall, but nevertheless quite informative.

You might want to consider a stop at Watarrka National Park, on the way to Uluru/Kata Tjuta. A sunrise hike up to the rim of Kings Canyon is quite an experience!
ALF is offline  
Feb 6th, 2003, 12:06 PM
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G'day Miranda.
You don't say what ages your children are.

Alf has given you good advice. I like to add that the Snake and Reptile Show at the Heavitree Gap Resort is not on every night.
Rex, the Fellow who does the show is terrific with kids. He also has a Snake and Reptile Park just across from the Royal Flying Doctors Servise base, in case you miss the show at the Heavitree Gap.
The Royal Flying Doctors Service Base is another point of interest, learn about "The Mantle of Safety" and how the service operates.

If you want another good night out check out the "Red Centre Dreaming" show. You have a good dinner while being informed about Aboriginal history and watch a show and listen to Tommy Crow playing his Didgeridoos.
A little expensive but considering that it includes a 4 course meal and your drinks I think it's value for money, certainly more so than the Sound of Silence Dinner at Yulara.

OzMike is offline  
Feb 6th, 2003, 01:27 PM
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Thanks Mike and ALF

It sounds from your answers like there's enough to do to fill a couple of days and evenings. A couple of your suggestions were new ideas for me too. Thanks for posting! To answer Mike's question, my kids are fairly old, ranging in age from 9 to 15. If that changes your answers, I'd sure be interested to hear details. My plans are not yet set in stone and at this point I can still rearrange itinerary quite easily. Later we'll be more locked in. So far, though, it looks like the votes favor keeping Alice on our itinerary.
Miranda is offline  
Feb 6th, 2003, 01:55 PM
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The Northern Territory Museum is now in a new building as part of the cultural precinct which includes an art gallery, old cemetery, plane museum and is worth a visit.
You would also enjoy a visit to the Ted Egan show which is held in a restaurant (Settlers?) in Alice Springs. He has lived in the Northern Territory for many years, has lived with the aboriginal communities and sings ballads and tells stories of the area, accompanied by rhymth on a beer carton. He is interesting and entertaining, the food simple but good and the whole evening reasonably inexpensive. We've been three times and enjoyed each visit.
Another interesting place in Alice Springs is the old telegraph station.
You can drive west of Alice Springs to Glen Helen and Hermannsburg through some beautiful country (visit Simpsons Gap, Ormiston Gorge etc on the way). You can also drive east to Ross River Station - a very old homestead, and check out the gorges on the way.
I think there is a market in the mall on Sunday mornings.
The Desert Park is excellent.
I agree with the suggestion to walk Kings Canyon - about three to four hours but worth every minute. Make sure you walk down into the Garden of Eden. Carry water and sunscreen.
If you are into walking, there is a great walk at the Olgas (near Uluru) into the Valley of the Winds - again about three to four hours.
Hope you all have a great holiday.
marg is offline  
Feb 6th, 2003, 05:25 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 58
miranda, I had my 14 year old in AS last year. Skip it all together and spend your time in other places. Just a suggestion spend a few days in Perth, we loved it! We had an opportunity to swim in the Indian ocean. Also give youself plenty of time to get back to your gateway city to rest a day or 2 b4 you fly home, assuming you live in the states. 2 days and 2 nights is plenty for Uluru also. We spent 3 weeks in the country and these were the least favorite of ours and our son's.
bigjay is offline  

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