Alice Springs is NOT a large town by world standards.
Many people visiting are surprised, however, to find that it’s a modern town with all the facilities of a small city located right in the very centre of the Australian continent.
On this page, we’ve collected all of the essential information on weather, what banks, services and shops the town has, the distances to other Australian capitals as well as many other vital facts.
You’ll also find must-read information on the severe alcohol restrictions the town has in place. Make sure you read these before heading bush!
And don’t forget … we live in Alice Springs, so send us a ‘hi’ on Twitter if you’re passing through. We always love to meet up for a coffee or a beer.
Here’s a few general facts about the town:
- Population: 28,000 (approximately)
- Elevation: 548 metres (1840 feet) above sea level
- Time Zone: Australian Central Standard Time (UTC +9:30). Please note: there is no daylight savings/summer time in the Northern Territory.
- Postcode: 0870
Alice Springs is located within the Northern Territory (NT), and is the second largest population centre after the NT’s capital, Darwin.
Alice Springs is the ONLY major town and service centre for an area that’s roughly the size of Texas! Which is why the town has so many services, shops, government departments and sporting facilities.
It’s also the capital of the outback – the real, Australian outback (don’t accept any other pretenders: Alice Springs is the true heart, soul and centre of the outback!)
Distances by Road to Other Australian Capitals
Check out the map on the right.
Alice Springs is right in the middle – a really long, long way from anywhere else:
- Darwin: 1498 kilometres (931 miles)
- Adelaide: 1530 kilometres (950 miles)
- Melbourne: 2250 kilometres (1833 miles)
- Perth: 3605 kilometres (2240 miles)
- Sydney: 2750 kilometres (1708 miles)
- Brisbane: 3005 kilometres (1867 miles)
Please remember that Australia is about the SAME size at the United States mainland.
That means it’s BLOODY BIG!
You’ll need an average of 3-4 days to drive to Alice Springs from Sydney or Melbourne, and 2 days from Adelaide or Darwin. Allow at least 5 days from Perth or Cairns.
Make sure YOU plan enough travel time to get to Alice Springs if you’re driving or coming by bus.
Outback Australia has a climate of extremes.
Just about everyone knows that Alice Springs is hot during summer, BUT many people don’t realize that it has below freezing nights during winter.
Another little known fact is that in central Australia, it can rain at any time of the year … and when it rains, it often pours! Unsealed roads can become impassable mud baths in just a few hours.
- Summer: 20.6° C (69°F) to 35.4°C (95.7°F)
- Autumn: 12.8°C (55°F) to 27.8°C (82°F)
- Winter: 3.1°C (38°F) to 20.5?C (69°F)
- Spring: 14.2°C (58°F) to 30.3°C (86.5°F)
Here’s one of the most important things you need to know if you’re planning to visit:
May is the best time to visit Alice Springs -or anywhere else- in Central Australia.
April (often suggested as a good time to visit) really has too many 35°C+ days for tourists to find bearable. April is only a good choice if you’re coming to Central Australia to go swimming or planning on travelling through to Darwin and the Top End.
Not only can April still be very hot, the pesky outback flies don’t die off until the nights drop below 10°C, and the frosts kill them. This doesn’t happen until May/June.
Take it from us. We live here! May is the BEST time to visit Central Australia.
Tourist Information Centre
A great place to learn more about the town is at the local tourist information centre.
The Central Australian Visitor Information Centre is located at 60 Gregory Terrace, next to the Public Library (ph. 1800 645 199 or +(08) 8952 5800).
Make sure you pick up a copy of the excellent, free tourist information guide, The CeNTral Visitors Guide, from the Visitor Information Centre, or most shops around town.
A Visitor Information desk is also located at the Alice Springs Airport and the Alice Springs Train Station.
Banks, Shops and Supermarkets
One of the Alice Springs facts you might need to know is the opening times and locations of places like shopping centres, banks and post offices.
Branches of every major Australian bank and several credit unions can be found in Alice Springs.
There are numerous ATMs located in Todd Mall, Alice Plaza, Yeperenye Shopping Centre and the Coles Complex.
Currency exchange is available in all major banks, and at the currency exchange outlet at the southern end of Todd Mall.
Banking hours are:
- Monday-Thursday: 9:30-4 pm
- Friday: 9:30- 5pm
Located in Hartley Street. Opening hours: 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday.
You can also buy stamps from the newsagents in the Yeperenye Shopping Centre and Alice Plaza.
Most shops are located in the town’s Central Business District (CBD), however, many of Alice Springs’s suburbs also have small shopping centres.
Retail hours are generally:
Monday -Friday: 9am-5:30pm
Sunday: Large chain stores open around 10am-3pm
Shops in Todd Mall are open longer hours: 9am-4pm
Alice Springs has two large supermarkets that are open extended hours (from around 6am-10pm every day):
- Woolworths Supermarket in the Yeperenye Shopping Centre (between Bath and Hartley Streets)
- Coles Supermarket in the Coles Complex (between Bath Street and Railway Tce)
There are a number of smaller, suburban supermarkets as well which are open from around 8am-8pm most days.
Alice Springs has severe alcohol restrictions. Please read this section carefully.
This is one of those things you really do need to understand before you visit the town.
In Alice Springs, you may only purchase take away alcohol (alcohol you buy and drink elsewhere) during the following hours:
- Monday- Friday: 2pm – 9pm
- Saturday: 10am-9pm
- On Sunday, alcohol is only available at: Todd Tavern Drive Thru, 10am-9pm or Gapview Hotel Drive Thru, 10am-9pm
What’s more, certain kinds of alcohol (port, sherry and cask wines) may only be purchased after 6pm on weekdays.
Please be aware that you are only allowed to purchase ONE bottle of port, sherry or cask wine per PER person, per day.
Yes, this makes buying port at Christmas time as gifts very annoying, but it’s the price we pay for living in a place where there are very real alcohol problems amongst the both white and Aboriginal populations.
OUR MESSAGE: Don’t get caught out like many tourists do.
If you’re heading bush, it’s a good idea to stock up on beer and other drinks the night before, as we guarantee you won’t be able to buy it the following morning!
As Alice Springs is a tourist town, there’s a wide variety of accommodation to suit every budget.
There’s so many places to stay, we can’t fit it all on this page.
You’ll find more information on accommodation and hotels in Alice Springs on these pages:
- Accommodation in Alice Springs (overview)
- Alice Springs Apartments
- Alice Springs Backpackers & hostels
- Alice Springs Budget Accommodation
- Alice Springs Caravans parks and campgrounds
- Alice Springs Hotels
We hope you’ll visit Alice Springs and enjoy it as much as we do (ok, we’re biased because we live here!)
If you’ve enjoyed the Alice Springs facts on this page and found them useful, please share this page via Facebook, Twitter or Stumbleupon, using the ‘Share it’ button below.
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