Anyone Been to Alice Springs Lately?

TL;DR anyone have any experience/advice holidaying in Alice Springs with young children?

- Getting around without a hire car (I've read you can take them in taxis without child seats in NT)
- Safety walking around at night
- Staying at Diplomat Motel (wife is reluctantly agreeing due to price and central location to shops compared to the more expensive resorts) given we will probably only be able to afford fast food at this stage…the touristy stuff is very pricey!)

Wife saw an ad about the light festival in Alice Springs, recently, then yesterday there was a 4 hour Friday Frenzy sale and she impulse bought one way tickets from Uluru (to Sydney) …which is actually 5 hours away.

Now we need to organise everything else and we have no idea where to start, none of our friends have been, so just having to trawl through online reviews…

Any tips or tricks would be appreciated.



  • +2

    Alice is a small town - not much of a city.
    If your wandering around the town it should be ok - just as usual if your walking round at 2am i just as dangerous as any other city. Most stuff happens in the arvo to night due to the heat - Depends on when you go (Seasonality). Would recommend a car, most attractions is a fair distance away from the town, and you will be wanting a car if you are doing tours by yourself.

    If all you did was buy the festival of light tickets, see if you can get a refund - you're trying to now justify a trip for one thing.
    Why not just go to Uluru?

    I'm a travel advisor and I have done this trip before - I see a lot of people get sucked into deals and then have such an average time cause expectations weren't set.

    PM me if you want to chat.

    • Thanks, very informative.

      We are going in 4 weeks.

      No 2am walks with young kids ruining everything :p

      Yeah, we were just trying to save some money not hiring a car, seeing as we also need two car seats etc

      Once we put together a rough itinerary, it would be great to get your thoughts on it?

      • +1

        Just bring your own car seats. Cheaper to pay QF for the extra bag.

      • I hope you got the accommodation sorted for 4weeks, which is too long unless you planning to drive up north.

        • In 4 weeks, not for 4 weeks. We are only planning to go for 4 days (I think/hope).

          Looks like we can only find accommodation for 2 nights in Uluru at this stage…

          • +1

            @John Kimble: My bad , 4 day is perfect, book a hire car now , closer it gets more expensive it will be. Forget about catching taxis. Alice is a hole, avoid, much better sites to visit but bit of a drive.

            • @boomramada: Yeah, we are only going for that light thing. I'm not sure what else there is to do there.

              • +1

                @John Kimble: You will need a hire car from Uluru to Alice, there are buses but for a family it will be cheaper in a car. They may have a cheap transfer, ymmv. All the main roads are sealed so 4wd is not essential.

                The Desert Park in Alice is worth visiting, not sure what it costs these days but you should see the bird show (10am from memory).

                If you are coming for the light show I'm guessing Parrtjima? It is held at the Desert Park but you can't do both things at the same time (night vs day). Previous years they had free a bus service to Parrtjima, I would assume they will do the same this year. It is free but make sure you book a timeslot and bus seats online so you get to go when you want to.

                Standley Chasm at midday is nice. ~50km west of town, go for a walk and lunch etc. There is an entry fee for this, but again they will have a family pass. There are numerous waterholes (all free) just off the main road heading west out to Glen Helen (Namatjira Drive), that is ~270km return, or loop around to Hermannsburg and back at about 400km. It is an easy day trip, note that Glen Helen resort has been closed for 12 months and you can't get food there.

                There is also the Reptile centre, walking distance from where you are staying. They have snakes, lizards, and a crocodile if that interests you.

                Town is feral at night at the moment with all the kids running round, but the police do their best. Diplomat/Uncles does good pub food where you are staying. You will be opposite the WW shopping centre, Coles another block away.

                • @Cobber870: Thanks! So we are planning to fly into Alice Springs, two nights there only. Shuttle to Parrtjima. Just with two young kids too much cost and hassle driving (they start getting restless after a couple of hours usually) which is why we wanted to stay at Diplomat…but some of these stories about not being great at night has spooked my wife, so she is thinking of staying at Crown now. Do they have Deliveroo, Uber Eats etc?

                  We were thinking of getting the one way coach down to Uluru and there for two nights.

                  • +1

                    @John Kimble: Menulog and you can get delivery, not sure about the other 2 as I haven't used them. If you have preferences for food I can make suggestions.

                    You will be fine in the motel, just don't go for long romantic walks at night. To be honest I don't think it matters which motel you are at.

                    Daytime is generally fine. It is a bit different here, where there will be large groups / lots of Indigenous people around all day - not causing trouble, but they have nothing else to do. Don't give them money or smokes if they ask, but just be polite about it.

                    If you are not hiring a car, just do the Reptile Centre, there is also a free Megafauna museum in the Todd mall. I haven't been so no idea what its like, but it is free.

  • +1

    Doesn't Qantas carry child seats for free?

    • For Infants 0-2, but not children

    • I had no idea, this'll be our first flight after having kids!

    • Free for all ages of child ticket , doesn't need to be under two. Same applies for Jetstar and Virgin, google is your best friend.

  • +2

    It's the murder capital of Australia, though to be fair that's more the surrounding townships.

    I wouldn't walk around at night at all. Every building has roller shutters and razor wire. There are crowds of youths walking around drinking looking for trouble everywhere. I think it was Germany it France gave it a "do not travel" from their government lol.

    That being said the national parks around Alice are beautiful and very unique. Entry is mostly free for day trips.

    Get a rental car and stay out of town and you'll have a great time.

      • Meh, he’ll be just fine.

    • +2

      Go on YouTube and see. People are safely travelling in Iraq and Afghanistan in cities that are just outside the conflict zones. I wouldn’t be too concerned about Alice springs Lol. Just don’t do stupid stuff like stay out late unnecessarily, hitch rides etc. that has its risks anywhere in the world.

  • it's not safe at night
    avoid walking at night at all
    no walking at night alone
    at night always travel as a couple or in a group
    never let kids out of sight

  • you probably should just try to get the flights refunded if you want to stick around town and not getting a rental car. It's a desolate place and the only reason tourist stop there is for Uluru or nearby national parks and the outback (that rock is another 5 hours drive). I've never been there but do contemplate going there one day and based on my research it won't be cheap for a family.

    • We are in Alice Springs two nights only, mainly for the light festival.

      Uluru we are there two nights also.

      • It will take half a day to drive Uluru to Alice

        • +1

          With children in car seats I bet it will take almost a day to get there. But if 2 days then I guess it doesn't hurt strolling along main streets, or check out some muscular red roo like [this guy] (

          • @lgacb08: It all depends on what the kids are accustomed to for driving. We have done Port Augusta to Alice in a day with 1 child under 2 (>1200kms) more than once. It is 110 or 130 speed limit so it goes fairly quickly.

            Uluru to Alice is only about 450km, but I think they are getting a bus, which will at least stop at Erldunda. There are a few emus to say hello to there.

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