Alice Springs is an unusual town. It’s not the most photogenic place for your Instagram extravaganza, but it’s close to every beach in Australia, has an amazing collection of contemporary indigenous Australian art, it’s remote, dusty, a bit run-down, a gateway to the Red Center, a dry river intersects it, has a telegraph station, and it’s the home of the world’s oldest civilization.
After a trip through the desert, we arrive in poorly lit Alice Springs. The contrast between dry heat and powerful air condition has made us tired and longing for a good night’s rest. Not meant to be! Cockroaches crawl out of cracks and crevices in the hotel room. I assassinate cockroach number ten and stop counting. Then I close and lock up our luggage, wrap myself in the bedsheets and try to fall asleep hopefully thinking some pleasant thoughts.
Despite that this part of Australia gets very hot during the day, mornings can be cold and windy.
The indigenous Australians, hanging around and inhabiting their own mystic world, are the first we notice. They seem distant and ancient, apathetic, and a little sad. A young woman smiles and nods at me. I am happy and grateful for this rare interaction between landowners and visitors. We later learn that Aboriginal Australians have a sweet tooth, no understanding of monetary value, and receive financial support from the Australian government.
The city center of Alice Springs is walkable and it’s easy to lose yourself in a bookshop offering a large collection of Australian and indigenous books. Art galleries tempt with authentic Aboriginal art, bakeries – with delicious pastries.
Locals joke that the dry Todd River is probably one of the safest in Australia in terms of crocodile encounters. Following the Riverside Path, we arrive at Alice Springs Telegraph Station Historical Reserve. The first European settlement in central Australia originates from here. The ambiance is rustic and the mosaic of buildings tells the story of Alice Springs.
A great ending of the day is to see Alice from Anzac Hill. The town spreads around quietly, disturbed by the wind and illuminated by the evening sunlight.