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5 places to explore near Alice Springs

There are many beautiful and exciting destinations to discover in the Northern Territory, apart from Uluru. Here’s a list of five places to explore near Alice Springs, Australia’s spiritual heart.

The sky above Alice Springs

A spectacular bird’s eye view awaits as you float gently over the West MacDonnell Ranges at sunrise in a hot hair balloon. This unique experience sees you wake early and drift across the red desert landscape and historic cattle stations. Keep an eye out for wildlife, such as kangaroos, roaming around below.

Rainbow Valley

The Rainbow Valley’s famous sandstone cliffs are covered with different coloured rocks. Located an easy day trip south of Alice Springs, you can either drive or take a tour, which will educate you about the area’s significance to Indigenous Australians. Make it a priority to visit in the early morning light or late afternoon, when the sun changes the cliffs from red to orange and purple. You can even visit this site after heavy rainfall, when the rain forms a layer beneath the cliffs and reflects the magnificent colours.

Finke Gorge National Park

This national park is spread over 46,000 square kilometres, encompassing desert landscapes, rocky gorges and waterholes. Many visitors flock to the park to see Palm Valley’s red cabbage palm trees, which can’t be found anywhere else in the world. The 350-million year old Finke River here is also estimated to be the oldest river in the world. There are great bushwalking tracks throughout the area, which offer spectacular views of these natural wonders.

Simpsons Gap

Located among the several hundred kilometres of wilderness, known as the West MacDonnell Ranges National Park. Simpsons Gap is one of the region’s most popular and iconic tourist attractions. The gorgeous cliffs that tower above its waterhole is picture perfect for tourists. It’s also a spot where you can spot some unique plants and wildlife.

Central Australian Gemfields

Gemtree is located 140km east of Alice Springs. Here, you can take a tour of the gemfields or even fossick for zircons and garnets. At certain times of the year, you can take any gems you find to a local gem cutter, who will can cut and polish your lucky discovery. You can also view a selection of stunning gems, jewellery and minerals.

BRIANNA PIAZZA

Brianna Piazza is an Australian television reporter and part-time travel blogger. Originally from Melbourne, she's currently living in Cairns where she works for WIN News and spends her weekends exploring the outdoors Far North Queensland.

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