462km (286 miles) NE of Uluru; 1,491km (924 miles) S of Darwin; 1,544km (957 miles) N of Adelaide; 2,954km (1,831 miles) NW of Sydney

 Aliceor The Alice,as Australians fondly call it, is the unofficial capital of the Red Centre and a gateway to Uluru.

Many tourists visit Alice only to get to Uluru, but you might like to spend a few days here exploring its indigenous culture and outlying natural attractions. Home to about 27,000 people, its a rambling, unsophisticated place that is the heart of the Aboriginal Arrernte peoples country. Alice is a rich source of tours, shops, and galleries for those interested in Aboriginal culture, art, or souvenirs. However, parts of this region are also evidence that ancient Aboriginal civilization has not always meshed well with the 21st century, which has resulted in fractured riverbed communities plagued by alcohol and other social problems. And it is likely that you will see evidence of this on the streets.

No matter what direction you come from to get here, you will fly for hours over a vast, flat landscape. On arrival, you will see that in fact it is close to a low, dramatic range of rippling red mountains, the MacDonnell Ranges. Many visitors excitedly expect to see Uluru, but that marvel is about 462 km (286 miles) down the road.

The red folds of the MacDonnell Ranges hide lovely gorges with shady picnic grounds. The area has an old gold-rush town to poke around in, quirky little museums, wildlife parks, a couple of cattle stations (ranches) that welcome visitors, hiking trails to put red dust on your boots, and one of the worlds top 10 desert golf courses.