Easy Northern Territory adventures

There’s a wealth of locations to explore using Alice Springs as a base, writes STEPHEN SCOURFIELD

Imagine this ...

At 7.05am, the Qantas flight leaves Perth Airport, arriving in Alice Springs two hours and 40 minutes later.

With the hour-and-a-half time difference between WA and the Northern Territory at the moment, that’s 11.15am in Alice.

The hire car is waiting (a Nissan X-Trail or similar will do very nicely). We can easily spend a couple of nights in Alice, visiting Alice Springs Desert Park, Earth Sanctuary and the local art galleries and shops, and then grab some provisions and head out on an easy road trip through the West MacDonnell Ranges.

Mind you, if we did that first, driving out of Alice at noon, west on Larapinta Drive, by mid-afternoon we’d easily be in some of the most remote and remarkable landscape in the Red Centre — as easy as that, on a good, bitumen highway, signposted and safe, and a long way from the home city we left just a few hours ago.

Getting to and driving round the Red Centre is, quite frankly, easier than doing the same in the Pilbara.

But the landscape is more like the Kimberley. The West MacDonnell Ranges, for those who know it, looks very like the Cockburn Range in the East Kimberley.

At 12.40pm, we turn right on to Namatjira Drive, to start our easy loop of the “West Macs”.

This is the “high road”, but follow it all the way to Larapinta Drive, and you can return to Alice through Hermannsburg. It’s a dramatic but easy road trip.

Alice Springs is about a five-hour drive from Uluru and Kata Tjuta, and the Red Centre is usually busy with international tourists at this time of year. (But not this year.)

Read the full story here.

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