10 Days At Parrtjima



Welcome to Central Australia!

Get ready for your ultimate Parrtjima and outback experience.

You have some time before the festivities begin, so let’s get acquainted with Alice Springs.

Whilst many attractions and activities are within walking distance and reachable via public transport, we recommend hiring a vehicle to get you to and from your destinations. Take the ease out of searching for the perfect car hire and let the staff at the Alice Springs Information Centre do the heavy lifting for you. Not only do they find the right vehicle for you, but they can offer unlimited kilometres. Here in the outback unlimited kilometres is what you want! This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to get in touch.


Day 1

Jump in the car and make your way to the Alice Springs Telegraph Station. Pack a picnic and enjoy the outdoor BBQ area or opt for the Trail Station Café to enjoy your lunch. Roam around the grounds and the historic buildings and immerse yourself in the history of the Telegraph Station and the township, the lives of the early telegraphers and their families, as well as learning about the Stolen Generation history of the site in the Bungalow era of the 1930s.

While you’re in the Northside, drive 5 minutes and reach your next destination, the Alice Springs School of the Air. Enjoy a virtual journey into “The Worlds Largest Classroom.” The visitor experience includes a film and guided presentation that reveal stories about the school and its students, sharing a distinctive history, insights into outback lifestyles and showcases world-renowned innovations of the unique school.

Make your way back into town and explore the main street, Todd Mall. Get a taste of what Parrtjima has to offer with this hotspot being one of the locations where you will see many Parrtjima light installations. The street is also lined with commercial art galleries dealing in Aboriginal art. Stop at Papunya Tula Artists to see the renowned dot paintings, then at Mbantua Art Gallery and Cultural Museum, which has one of the largest collections of Aboriginal art in Australia and specialised in art from the Utopia region.

You’ve had a big day adventuring, head to your accommodation and chill out before your night festivities begin. Alice Springs has various accommodation options catering to all types of travellers. You can find a list of accommodation options here.

The time has come! Gather at one of the free bus pickup points or drive your car out to the Alice Springs Desert Park. Parking is available in the Albrecht Oval carpark. Walk into the Parrtjima light festival and enjoy all of its offerings! Spend some time exploring the various light installations, live talks, and music by local and national musician. Grab some dinner and marvel at all that is around you.


Day 2

Make your first destination for the day the Alice Springs Desert Park. Situated on Larapinta Drive, spot rare and endangered animals in the low light of the nocturnal house and discover the star attractions at the free-flying birds of prey show. Stroll along the 1.6 km trail to experience three distinct habitat areas within the park. Make your way around the park at your leisure, and then relax with some refreshments at the onsite café.

On your way back into town, check out Araluen Cultural Precinct. Home to the Central Australia Museum, Albert Namatjira art gallery and just a short walk away, the Aviation Museum.

Enjoy some lunch at the Barra On Todd, located at the Mercure. Here you can also utilise the swimming pool or enjoy the sunshine poolside with some beverages.

After lunch head to the Olive Pink Botanic Garden, Australia’s only arid zone botanic garden and the perfect place to leisurely stroll around amongst the native surrounds. Take the time to wander along the walking trails to see the hundreds of plant species that are native to the Red Centre, or spot some of the 80 bird species which have been recorded at the park.

Bask in the Alice Springs sunset this afternoon at ANZAC hill. Take a look around and see how the town honours the ANZACS while watching the colours of the sky rapidly change in beautiful pinks and reds.


Day 3

Spend your final day in Alice Springs exploring the West MacDonnell Ranges. Hit the road heading west of Alice Springs along Larapinta Drive to Simpsons Gap, an impressive opening between the towering cliffs of the West MacDonnell Ranges. The area is also an important spiritual site to the Arrernte Aboriginal people, where several dreaming trails and stories cross. Continuing along Larapinta Drive, stop in at Standley Chasm for morning tea at the café and check out the amazing scenery!

Back on the road again, turn right at Namatjira Drive towards Ellery Creek Big Hole where you can stop for a refreshing swim. This location is one of the most popular and picturesque swimming, camping and picnic spots in the region. You will understand why when you set eyes on the spectacular waterhole surrounded by the high red cliffs and sandy creek.

Driving further west, stop over at Glen Helen Homestead Lodge. The landscape around Glen Helen is truly spectacular with towering sandstone walls greeting you as you arrive. You will be spoilt for choice with the delicious food available on the menu! Enjoy your lunch on the back verandah of the restored homestead overlooking the majestic Glen Helen Gorge. If you are feeling adventurous, sign up for a four-wheel-drive tour or a scenic helicopter flight to discover more of the area.

Make your way back to Alice Springs in time for a sunset camel tour at Pyndan Camel Tracks. A camel ride will definitely be an experience you will want to tell your friends about. The camel tour starts at Pyndan Camel Tracks yard, through White Gums Station and follows an avenue of Iron Bark and Mulga trees across a clay pan flat.

Finish the ride and the end of your journey with amazing views of the glowing MacDonnell Ranges as the sun goes down.


Day 4

You’ve experienced the west and now it’s time to check out the East MacDonnell Ranges. Don’t forget to pack some lunch! See Aboriginal rock paintings at Emily Gap, an Aboriginal sacred site 14 km from Alice Springs. The paintings tell the local Arrernte people’s story of the caterpillar dreaming, which describes how Alice Springs was formed. A further 10 minutes along the Ross Highway is Jessie Gap another Aboriginal rock art site. Take the five-minute walk into the gap along a shady creek to see the sacred paintings on the gap wall. Interpretive signage explains the stories of the paintings.

Further along the Ross Highway turn off at Trephina Gorge Nature Park. It’s known for its walking trails, Aboriginal rock art, dramatic ridges and bluffs, and its two excellent, shady camp grounds. Take the easy 500-metre return stroll down to the gorge and its semi-permanent waterhole or the 20-minute walk to the lookout for views of the dramatic gorgeous country. Or follow the challenging but rewarding 90-minute return Chain of Ponds loop past rock pools and up to a lookout above the gorge. Enjoy your lunch with the amazing views of the East MacDonnell Ranges.

Head back into town and enjoy a beverage or two at the Alice Springs Brewing Co, home to all your brewing needs! Or if you’d prefer a cocktail, Tempo Wine and Cocktail Bar is the right place for you. Relish in one of the many dining options around town and enjoy your last night!


Day 5

Say goodbye for Alice Springs now and head down to the famous rock known as Uluru. Jump on the Stuart Highway and make your way towards Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Along the way make rest stops at Stuarts Well Roadhouse Restaurant & BarErldunda Roadhouse and Curtin Springs Wayside Inn – all fully equipped with fuel, food and drinks, facilities and stunning views.

The Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre is a great place to start your exploration of the UluruKata Tjuta National Park. At the Centre you will find lots of information about activities in the park as well as an introduction to Anangu culture.

The Anangu people are Uluru’s traditional custodians and have lived in the area for at least 22,000 years. At the Centre you can purchase Anangu art, watch craft demonstrations, or join a bush tucker session and guided walk.

There are many ways to see Uluru. Check out the Mala Walk, which is wheelchair-friendly, and takes you to the caves of the Mala people and to the sacred Kantju Gorge, a quiet waterhole at the base of a dramatic rock face. Only 90 minutes (return), along the way you will also see examples of Anangu rock art and learn about their creation beliefs.

Places to stay are all within the Ayers Rock Resort. Choose from self-contained apartments, hotels, a five-star luxury wilderness camp, backpacker rooms or a campground with sites and cabins. Be sure to check out the free guest activities!


Day 6

Enjoy the view of the desert scenery atop a camel for a unique perspective. Climb aboard for a quiet, leisurely walk to watch the sun rise over Uluru. Your guides will prepare you a breakfast of billy tea and freshly baked beer bread.

Join a walking tour led by an Aboriginal guide or hire a bike near the Cultural Centre, and circumnavigate Uluṟu on the 10.6 kilometre base walk, which is dotted with interpretive displays. It’s a great way to see the many springs, waterholes, rock art caves and ancient paintings at Uluṟu’s base.

In the afternoon, jump on the back of a Harley Davidson motorcycle and enjoy the spectacular views.

Make dinner memorable; the Sounds of Silence is a unique dining experience that starts with canapés and a 360-degree view of the sunset over Uluṟu and Kata Tjuṯa. Enjoy your next course, a gourmet barbecue of native game, with bush salads and fine Australian wines, which is followed by an indigenous dance performance and an explanation of the night sky, guided by the resident ‘star talker’.


Day 7

Nearby is Kata Tjuta (the Olgas), which means ‘many heads’ and is a series of enormous rock domes that date back 500 million years. Start your morning early with a drive to the Kata Tjuta dune viewing area. A short walk from the carpark offers magnificent panoramic views of the domes and a relaxing place to sit and absorb the ever-changing colours of the landscape.

Continue on the road to Kata Tjuta and find out just how ancient and imposing the domes are by tackling one of the two popular walking tracks. The Walpa Gorge Walk is an easy walk which takes an hour return and follows a stream to a grove of flourishing spearwood. The famed Valley of the Winds walk is a moderately difficult 7.4- kilometre circuit which weaves through the immerse domes and treats you to spectacular views over the desert plains from its two lookout points.

Finish off the evening at the Sunset viewing area and observe the sun go down over the spectacular Central Australian landscape.


Day 8

No drive into the Red Centre is complete without a trip to Watarrka National Park and the magical sandstone formation of Kings Canyon just 3 hours from Uluru.

Break up your journey with a stopover at Curtin Springs to indulge in the authentic home-style meals on offer at the historic Bough Shed. The restaurant uses the stations very own meat for a multitude of the delicious dishes. Walk the gardens and learn about the rich history of area and of the working cattle station. Be sure to take home some handmade Curtin Springs Paper created from the native grasses as a distinctively beautiful souvenir of Central Australia.

Following on along the Lasseter and Luritja highways, in just over 2 hours you will arrive at the ancient sandstone walls of Kings Canyon that tower 100 metres over a lush waterhole. Explore the valley floor and climb up to the rocky domes on the canyon rim. The gentle, shady Kings Creek Walk trail extends 2.6 kilometres along the valley floor to a viewing platform. Stay to see the changing colours of the canyon at sunset.

At Kings Canyon Resort, just seven kilometres from Watarrka National Park, choose accommodation ranging from motel-style rooms to campsites. There’s a service station and convenience store at the resort as well as bars and restaurants – splurge on a romantic Under a Desert Moon dinner, a sixcourse alfresco indulgence for two (available April– October).


Day 9

Get up early to see the sunrise and walk around the Canyon rim to take in magnificent views of the weathered, buttressed domes of The Lost City and the sheltered lush valley below in the Garden of Eden.

Bid Kings Canyon farewell and drive the 35 kilometres to Kings Creek Station – a working cattle and camel station at the foot of the George Gill Range. Explore this epic slice of the Australian outback on a short or overnight quad bike tour. Look for kangaroos, wild camels, wedge-tailed eagles and colourful parrots. Find a seat at the stock camp show, and learn the history of the area through the eyes of locals as you watch live demonstrations of animal handling, and end your evening with a traditional supper of damper and billy tea.

Pitch your tent or stay in a safari cabin set among natural bush, try a famous Kings Creek camel burger, or stroll to the George Gill lookout for magnificent views of the range. Or for an even more exclusive experience, head down the road to Kings Canyon Wilderness Lodge for an evening of gourmet Australian cuisine served around the campfire and your very own luxury tented cabin.


Day 10

Travelling back along the Lasseter and Luritja highways today towards Alice Springs or heading South, make another stop over at Curtin Springs, this time you will be spending the night.

There is lots to see and do in this area including viewing the famous Salt Lakes and getting up close to Mt Conner, both which can be accessed on a tour with Curtin Springs, so be sure to check out one of their guided walking tours or the SEIT four wheel drive tour. Mt Conner is not quite as famous as Uluru, but it is no less remarkable. It is a flat-topped and horseshoe-shaped mountain that stands 300 metres above the surrounding desert. The ancient inland salt lake ‘Lake Amadeus’ is the largest salt lake in the Northern Territory and makes for fantastic photos.

As the daylight hours wane, enjoy a glass of wine and watch the changing colours of sunset over Mt Conner followed by a three-course outback dinner prepared by the cook at Curtin Springs.

There are many accommodation options to choose from tonight at the Curtin Springs Wayside Inn including ensuite, budget and family rooms as well as powered and unpowered campsites.

For all bookings contact the staff at the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit the supplied links to book online.