Couple jumping in front of Alice Springs sign in Australia for a roadtrip

Road trips! Who doesn’t love them? You have so much freedom and flexibility to take in as much or as little of the surrounding national parks as you please. Australia has some breathtaking parks worth exploring and Alice Springs has some of our favourite in the whole country! So hire a 4WD, grab some snacks and a put together great playlist for the drive.

Alice Springs

Before you head out on you days trip we suggest you go and check out the Alice Springs Desert Park and if you are in Alice during late September/early October we cannot recommend the Parrtjima Light Festival enough. It takes place at night and illuminates the West MacDonnell Ranges with spectacular local aboriginal artwork.

Entry fee: $32pp

night photo of light show in Parrtjima Light Festival in Alice Springs

West MacDonnell Ranges

On your way out of Alice Springs make sure you make a stop at the West MacDonnell Ranges. Only in the Northern Territory will your first road trip stop be only 15 minutes into the journey. The best way to experience these beautiful ranges is by camel back. Not many can say they have explored the Australian Outback via camel!

Distance from Alice Springs: 16km East out of Alice Springs. You can then head onto Larpinta drive to get you on track for a visit to Standley Chasm.

Cost: $70pp

a boy and girl riding a camel in alice springs

Two photos of camels - one close up and one shadow

Standley Chasm

We called it Australia’s mini Antelope Canyon and you will see what we mean when you arrive. Cutting through quartzite is a natural alleyway that will present to you a beautiful display of colours that central Australia is known for.

Distance from Alice Springs: 50km out of Alice Springs along Larpinta Drive (look out for turn off about 40km along)

Entry fee: $12pp

Once you have finished the sights on Larpinta drive (there are at least 10 sights along that road) you can head back into Alice to either have lunch or call it a day before heading south along Stuart highway to see the next lot of sights.

Two pictures of Standley Chasm one with girl and one with boy

Rainbow Valley

If you are looking to take photos holding up red sand in the Australian Outback than Rainbow Valley has you covered. Here you have a massive clay flat situated within a very scenic national park. You can stretch your legs and go on a bush walk to see plenty of local flowers, red dirt, sandstone structures and the highlight – the ancient mushroom rock.

Distance from Alice Springs:  75km south along the Stuart Highway. Once you hit the turn off there is a further 22km (total 97km) on an unsealed road. We recommend a 4WD.

Entry fee: Free

3 people holding red sand in Australia

girl and boy at rainbow valley in Northern Territory

Girl posing at Rainbow Valley in Beginning Boutique Outfit

Ellery Creek Big Hole

Hands down our favourite spot on the trip is the surprise that was Ellery Creek Hole. Though we did save it for last and saw it on our return trip from Glen Helen Gorge you can opt in to see it first if you like. I think the drone footage made me truly appreciate the beauty of the gorge due to my initial thoughts of it being just a facade, but it goes on and on.

We suggest you pack your swimmers and a picnic.

Distance from Alice Springs: 90km out of Alice Springs

Entry fee: Free

Drone shot of Ellery Creek Big Hole Gorge

Glen Helen Gorge

There are two ways to see Glen Helen Gorge and the first is by visiting it through the rustic homestead lodge and taking in the views from ground level or having a thrilling experience through a helicopter ride that will show you a whole different view of the gorge. Either pick will offer incredible views, or why not do both?

Distance from Alice Springs: 133km out of Alice Springs

Entry fee: Free

Helicopter ride: From $70pp

Hand Reaching out to Glen Helen Gorge

how to film during a helicopter ride

Ormiston Gorge

The final stop on your Alice Springs National Park road trip is only a quick drive from Glen Helen Gorge. Here you can opt to camp the night or just go for your second swim of the day. Either way it’s always a surprise to see so much water flow in the middle of Central Australia.

Distance from Alice Springs: 135km out of Alice Springs.

Entry fee: Free

Stephen and Jess signoff

Thanks to Tourism Northern Territory for kindly inviting Flying the Nest to experience National Parks of Northern Territory’s Red Centre. As always, all opinions are our own.