Steven Balderston moved to the Red Centre when he was 20 years old and started working as a Tour Guide in Yulara. The red sands of the desert got stuck on his feet and he couldn’t leave! After four years in Yulara, he moved to the big smoke Alice Springs and he now identifies himself as a local, as he has seen the river flow three times. Steven has mountain biked extensively throughout the region, rode many camels, hiked the Rim Walk at Kings Canyon (hundreds of times!) and has done a lot of 4WDing across the Red Centre’s rocky terrains.
View some of Steven’s experiences in this short 30 second television commercial airing on Imparja, GO and GEM.
Get to know Steven in this extended 2 minute web version and learn about his adventure experiences in the Red Centre featuring mountain biking and gliding.
Steven's Top 10 Red Centre Adventure Experiences
1. Gliding – Alice Springs Gliding Club
Now this is an experience you won’t forget! Sit down in the cock pit, your pilot straps you in as you watch the truck (with a gigantic winch attached) drive off into the distance. That Winch is pretty powerful! It pulls the glider pretty quickly along until you are airborne and catapulted into the air at a 45 degree angle! Guaranteed to get the adrenalin pumping. And the best part of it is you are sitting in the front!
2. Mountain Biking – Outback Cycling
You can start at a few different points in town as well as hiring the bikes (if you don’t have your own) from a few different venues. The guide will take you through a few different areas depending on where you begin your cycling. Not only do you have the amazing scenery of the Red Centre around you but you have the chance to see bits and pieces of Alice Springs’ history that is away from every day exposure. WWII ammo bunkers, the Alice Springs Telegraph line – it really is quite interesting. There are different levels and distances which cater for all fitness and experience levels
3. Kings Canyon – Rim Walk
An exhilarating experience in the Red Centre. A 500 step climb to the top gets the heart pumping – and of course by this stage you are rewarded with some of the most spectacular views. It’s approximately a three hour walk around the Rim looking down and if you feel up to it, pack your overnight bag and do the Ernest Giles walk along some other parts of the George Gill ranges! It’s only 22km, two days one way!
4. Ormiston Gorge – Pound Walk
Ormiston Gorge is gorgeous! You can never truly capture the view of Ormiston on a camera, it must be seen and felt personally. Apart from the Gorge itself, the Pound walk, a circuit walk around this region in the West MacDonnell/Tjoritja National Park is stunning. After walking along the flats of the pound, be sure to bring your swimmers because at some point you’ll be in the water - that’s all part of the adventure!
5. Palm Valley – AAT Kings
Palm Valley is an adventure mainly because it is just so different to other places around Central Australia. The whole of the Finke Gorge National Park is spectacular. This landscape is ancient, but nothing is more amazing than when you are trekking amongst many relict species of plants, such as the MacDonnell Ranges Cycad and the Red Cabbage Palm growing in the middle of the Desert. To top it off, you have the chance to see fresh fish! The ridge walk is a contrast of colours. Most of the time you are surrounded by deep blue skies, bright red rock and the greenery which is the palms and other vegetation growing through this park of the Finke River.
6. John Hayes Rock Hole near Trephina Gorge, East MacDonnell Ranges
The drive out to John Hayes Rock hole takes up most of the Adventure aspect. This is definitely a 4WD access only road, just off of the main road into Trephina Gorge. Driving along in high range for about 20-25 minutes brings you to a very secluded spot. If there has been enough rain and you’re feeling game, you can jump in and make a splash!
7. Quad Biking on Undoolya Station
Frosty, his wife and their colleagues will help you with this quad biking adventure! Quad biking on a proper working cattle station that’s only 20 minutes away from the Alice Springs CBD is a MUST for all locals. Undoolya Station is so close to town and has such a rich history. Just watch out for the cows!
8. Oodnadatta Track
One of my favourite experiences was when I had the opportunity to arrive in the Northern Territory across the SA border along the Oodnadatta track. It trails the old narrow gauge railway where The Ghan train once travelled. The infrastructure is still there. Make sure you are prepared! It’s a proper 4WD experience and proper equipment is needed for safety
9. Ruby Gap – 4WD trek
As you may have realized getting off road is an awesome experience in the Red Centre. It’s an adventure along the way but once you get as far east as possible in the East MacDonnell ranges you have Ruby Gap Nature Park – keep driving through the river bed and there is semi-permanent water hole. You can camp right by it and swim during the day. An amazing spot. It’s a little less travelled than some other parts which makes it all the better too as there is more of a chance to be away from the crowds.
10. Valley of the Winds Walk-Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park
I have only fond memories of walking through the Valley of the Winds at Kata Tjuta. The path undulates a fair bit but you are walking amongst towering domes of a rock formation related to Uluru, but so different at the same time. A truly unique experience.