Sunday, September 14, 2008

Alice Springs--Oasis in the desert

I was reviewing my blog this morning and realized that while I had included a restaurant review while in Alice Springs, I didn't provide any pictures or review the city. So here goes.

Alice Springs, or Alice as it is referred to is the largest city in the region. It is a central point for transshipment of goods and is a cultural and arts center. It is also small--less than 26,000 people.

There is a lot of natural beauty in the region. But on this trip I did not get a chance to go to the gorges and chasms that dot the region.  I am told the area looks a lot like the U.S. desert southwest--except no cactus.

The city of Alice has a central walking mall--called the Todd Mall after the Todd River which is nearby--don't get too excited about water sports the river is dry for most of the year. So no tubing.

At on end of the town is ANZAC Hill, the war memorial, at the other is Bojangles. Total walking time--about 15 minutes. That is from the base not the top of ANZAC Hill.

There are a lot of cool shops on the walking mall and the newest addition is a Target Store, which was not yet open--but was expected to open within a week. 

So there isn't a lot of places people can hide on the mall. I was a bit distressed on this trip with the number of unoccupied shops on the mall.  It seems that economic hard times have made their way to Alice as well.

I ma told that Alice and the area are great for families and for those who especially love outdoor activities--hiking and camping and going "bush."

The mall is generally not crowded--but there are lots of tourists. Alice is a tourist town and there are attractions and activities for the tourists to do while in town. While I was there,  an auto race across the desert was beginning and the contestants were arriving at the local race track for the start of the race. So it seems there is always something happening.

Alice has been called the oasis in the outback--and once you fly into the city, you will definitely understand. Three hours of flying over the Simpson Desert and then landing at Alice. But the city is very welcoming.

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