Fantasy Friday – Alice Springs, Australia

The official site for Alice Springs, Australia sold me on their adventures available while visiting this desert:

Surrounded by a red sand desert which stretches for hundreds of kilometres in all directions, Alice Springs is one of Australia’s most famous outback towns. It is the gateway to the iconic natural features of Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta National Park.

Here, stories of Australia’s history and heritage are told through a colourful cast of characters and events that include camel races, gold-diggers and outback pioneers.

Alice Springs lies in the physical and spiritual heart of Australia’s Red Centre. It is surrounded on all sides by the jagged MacDonnell Ranges, which according to the traditional owners, the Arrernte people, was formed during the Dreamtime by giant caterpillars. The Royal Geographic Society of Australia has calculated the geographical and gravitational centre of the continent at the Lambert Centre, approximately 200 kilometres south of town.

Today, the town’s upmarket hotels, restaurants, and 20000 inhabitants, continue to uphold its vibrant history. It’s also an excellent place to pick up an authentic piece of unique Aboriginal art.

From here, you can join one of Australia’s most challenging walks, the Larapinta Trail; and it is the ideal place to connect with Australia’s rich Aboriginal traditions and awe-inspiring landscapes.

Australia’s classic outback drive, the Red Centre Way, from Alice Springs to Kings Canyon, is one of the best ways to experience the natural wonders of this vast ancient red landscape.

Seven things to do in Alice Springs:

Start your outback adventure in Alice Springs, in the heart of Australia’s Red Centre. Sail over the spinifex plains in a hot air balloon or bike ride to Simpsons Gap. Join a safari of quad bikes across the desert or fly over the MacDonnell Ranges. Peer into the traditions of the Aboriginal Arrernte people who have lived here for 20,000 years and browse contemporary Aboriginal art along Todd Mall. Learn More

You probably know about the red monolith in Australia’s Red Centre.

You may know it’s sacred to the Aboriginal people here, and that it turns some spectacular colours at sunrise and sunset. You might not know that you can experience it through Aboriginal eyes, or that there are many other sacred and breathtaking sites here in Australia’s vast centre. Uluru’s cousin Kata Tjuta is just 40 kilometres away and you’ll find the awe-inspiring Kings Canyon not far from Alice Springs. Learn More

Swim in Glen Helen Gorge and spot rock wallabies at Simpsons Gap, both in the West MacDonnell Ranges. Listen to the Dreamtime legend surrounding the comet crater of Gosse Bluff. Climb to the rim of Kings Canyon and swim in the tropical pools of the Garden of Eden. Do a dawn camel trek around Uluru and wander between the steep russet domes of nearby Kata Tjuta. Learn More

Connect to rich Aboriginal traditions, awe-inspiring landscapes and pioneer history in Alice Springs, which sits just south of Australia’s geographic centre. Learn about the area’s first inhabitants – the Western Arrernte Aboriginal people – in the Araluen Cultural Precinct and in the vibrant art lining Todd Mall. Find out how plucky pioneers shaped the modern town in the Telegraph Station Historical Reserve, Royal Flying Doctor Service and School of the Air. Learn More

Trek along the backbone of the West MacDonnell Ranges to attractions such as Simpsons Gap, Ellery Creek Big Hole, Ormiston Gorge and Glen Helen Gorge. This epic chain of day walks stretches more than 223km from the old Alice Springs Telegraph Station to Mount Sonder and Mount Razorback. Stand on ancient escarpments and look out over vast ochre-colored landscapes. Visit sites sacred to the Arrernte Aboriginal people. Scramble down sheltered gorges, swim in cool waterholes and sleep under a sea of stars. Learn More

The outback makes you bonkers. How else can you explain the Henley-on-Todd – an annual sailing and rowing regatta held on a dry river bed in Alice Springs?

With pirate ships firing flour bombs, people paddling canoes with sand shovels and bathtubs on legs, you do wonder if there’s more heat and dust than sense in this iconic outback town. Learn More

Immerse yourself in Australia’s Aboriginal experiences, places and journeys. Aboriginal people of Australia have a rich, living culture stretching back at least 50,000 years. Get a snapshot of the diverse experiences on offer when you immerse yourself in Aboriginal Australia. Learn More
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Another 7 Natural Wonders?

Lonely Planet has decided that they do not agree with the New7Wonders, as many controversies have come from this voting competition. Instead, they chose the following, of which 4 were the same (Amazon, Iguazu Falls, Komodo, and Puerto Princesa Underground River):

1. Iguazu Falls, Argentina/Brazil

Photograph: Judy Bellah

South America’s gushing spectacle washes away the competition as Lonely Planet readers’ top natural wonder. From the dizzying walkways to the spray from Devil’s Throat, the sight of this colossal waterfall is seared into traveller’s brains.

2. Grand Canyon, USA

Photograph: Mark Newman

The rocky wonder favoured by the New7Wonders list was Table Mountain, but the Grand Canyon, with its vermillion cliffs and river-carved rock faces, takes the number two spot among Lonely Planet readers.

3. Komodo, Indonesia

Photograph: Kraig Leeb

Teeming mangrove swamps and basking lizards hurtled Indonesia’s Komodo National Park into third place.

4. The Amazon

Photograph: John Borthwick

Finally, something we can all agree on. The rich jungles of the Amazon’s river basin are big hitters for Lonely Planet readers, as well as New7Wonders and the G Adventures bloggers. Check out our tips for Amazon riverboat trips.

5. The Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Photograph: Leonard Zell

Another firm favourite, this azure expanse of Queensland coastline is a magnet to snorkellers, scuba divers and beach hoppers.

6. Puerto Princesa Underground River, Philippines

Photograph: Tom Cockrem

This subterrannean river captured your imaginations, but it seems the whole country is dear to your hearts. Our survey showed an incredible 8 destinations from the Philippines were put forward, from the Banaue Rice Terraces to the Chocolate Hills of Bohol.

7. Uluru, Australia

Photograph: Richard l’Anson

The second Aussie highlight on our top 7, the sacred site of Uluru remains an unmissable icon for Lonely Planet readers.

 

So the Grand Canyon, Great Barrier Reef and Uluru are the wonders that Lonely Planet decided to use to replace Halong Bay, Jeju Island, and Table Mountains. Hmmm….I love them all, so just take me to all of them for me to decide on my own!!