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The Best Hikes and Walks in Alice Springs

There are plenty of opportunities for walking and hiking in Alice Springs and surrounds on its many walking trails. You can experience 360-degree views of the East and West McDonnell ranges from atop rock-covered hills across town, and you’ll find suitable trails for inexperienced and experienced hikers alike.

As always in this isolated desert landscape, remember to take plenty of water, sturdy shoes, a hat and sun protection. For longer hikes out of range – especially if you plan to go on your own – a snake bandage, satellite phone or EPIRB device, and offline maps are also strongly recommended.

 

Alice Springs Telegraph Station Historical Reserve

The historical reserve surrounding the Alice Springs Telegraph Station boasts a network of trails for walkers, experienced hikers and mountain bikers. You’ll find relatively flat sandy trails and rocky terrain. This protected national park’s longest trail, Apwelantye, is rated intermediate and just over 10km, taking you to Wigley’s Gorge and back again.

If you could only do one short trail here, make it the Bradshaw Walk. Starting from the main car park, this five-kilometre loop winds through undisturbed red-rock terrain, over a few inclines, before linking back to a pavement tracking the riverbed. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot a mob of kangaroos lazing about here in the late afternoon.

The famous 223km Larapinta Trail also starts from the Telegraph Station Historical Reserve. Find out more about hiking the Larapinta Trail.

Alice Springs Telegraph Station walking

Olive Pink Botanic Garden

Enjoy one of the many walks at the Olive Pink Botanic Gardens, through 16 hectares of arid zone gardens. Start your walk from town or drive to the car park, which has a cafe and amenities. The native plants attract birdlife, reptiles, black-footed wallabies and kangaroos; you’ll likely encounter at least one in this peaceful setting. Don’t miss the walk up Tharrarltneme (Annie Myer Hill), an important Arrernte site, for views across to Mount Gillen.

 

Along the Todd River

For those wanting to stick to even ground, the paved walking and cycleways alongside the Todd River are a great option. The primary pathway starts from the Telegraph Station, winds across the Todd River via four river crossings, and continues all the way through Heavitree Gap towards the airport. For a short tour of the Todd River, make a loop between the Stott Terrace and Wills Terrace river crossings.

Annie Myers Hill Lookout

Annie Myer Hill, Botanic Gardens

To the Desert Park (along Larapinta Drive)

The primary network of walking and cycle paths also extends west along Larapinta Drive. If you’re planning to visit Alice Springs Desert Park, why not make a day of it? Follow the footpath alongside Larapinta Drive until you reach Blain Street, Araluen. Join the recreational pathway: reaching the Desert Park as you track the range toward Mount Gillen. Continue to Flynn’s Grave or, if you’re prepared for a long hike, cross Larapinta Drive to join the cycleway that continues all the way to Simpsons Gap.

 

ANZAC Hill

For the postcard-perfect view of Alice Springs’ township, you simply must head up the iconic ANZAC Hill. For the more adventurous, there is a rock-stepped path with a steep incline from the corner of Wills Terrace and Bath Street. For the rest of us, you can walk alongside the road and take in the war memorial placards, before reaching the ANZAC memorial cenotaph.

ANZAC Hill 1

Ilparpa Swamp Wildlife Protected Area

Known by the locals as the Clay Pans, the Ilparpa Swamp Wildlife Protected Area is a great place to take your dog for an afternoon stroll and see if there is still any water in its clay pan depressions. A 15-minute drive from town on Ilparpa Road, there are no marked walking tracks here. As always when heading out of town, make sure you have a map that works offline in the event of poor phone signal.

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