Alice Springs: Experience Aboriginal Culture

Aboriginal Australians are recognised as the original indigenous inhabitants of this great land. Before white settlers arrived in 1788, aborigines roamed the country and flourished with their dreamtime stories, their ancient traditions and rich culture. Aboriginal communities still exist all throughout Australia today and Aboriginal culture and traditions continue to be honoured and studied by all Australians. With nearly 30% of the population consisting of indigenous Australians and 20% of the land aboriginal-owned, nowhere is the indigenous lifestyle more authentic and prevalent than in the Northern Territory. And nowhere would be better to visit in order to truly experience and soak up Aboriginal art and culture than in the heart of the outback, Alice Springs.

Alice Springs is situated in the geographic centre of Australia and is the Northern Territory’s third largest town, located at the Southern end of the state’s border. The Arrernte people are considered the traditional custodians of the area, which they refer to as mparntwe. The Alice Springs area, also known as Alice or ‘The Alice’, is an arid zone that is surrounded by several deserts and wilderness ranges. The variable temperature around Alice Springs can range from a average maximum temperature during Summer of 35.6ºC to an average minimum in Winter of a mere 5.1ºC.

Surrounding Area

Running on the East and West side of the city are the renowned MacDonnell Ranges, which feature a number of highly popular waterholes, gorges and other natural sights. Popular tourist destinations include Ormiston Gorge, Ormiston Gorge Creek. Red Bank Gorge and Glen Helen Gorge. The Larapinta trail traverses these stunning ranges and is considered one of the most amazing walks in Australia and even the world. The Simpson desert is located on the south-east side of Alice Springs. It’s huge sand dunes of a vibrant reddish hue are one of the most iconic sights in the country, as are the twisting rock formations of the Chambers Pillar and Rainbow Valley – all of which lie on the doorstep of Alice Springs. Oh and of course how could we forget that large red rock in the centre of Australia just outside of Alice Springs? Ayers Rock or Uluru is arguably the most recognisable Australian landmark that lies 335km south west of Alice Springs.

Heritage and Culture

Just as exciting as its incredible neighbouring geographical landmarks, Alice Springs is also home to some of the most authentic and educational aboriginal cultural experiences in the country. Whether you’re looking for an Aboriginal Arts Gallery and Store, a reptile centre or desert park, you’ll be sure to find something to suit you. You can learn about Aboriginal culture and history at the cultural precinct or even fossick for your own central Australian gemstones at Gemtree. The Aboriginal Art Store, located in the centre of Alice Springs, is the perfect location to immerse yourself in aboriginal culture, support aboriginal artists and witness the rich heritage and beautiful stories that have emerged and continue to emerge from Aboriginal communities.

About Sam Oldfield

Growing up in Santa Cruz, California, I was a keen surfer and beach junkie from early on. My first overseas trip was to the Caribbean, and I've been chasing the summer sun ever since. I wrapped up my media degree at uni, and decided to move to Australia. The land downunder is full of beaches, babes and brilliant adventures. I'm just hitch-hiking my way around this sunny paradise, one travel blog at a time.
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