The drive to Alice Springs from Uluru…what can I say, from Kata Tjuta, it’s a 495km, 6 hours and 5-minute drive (without stopping) along the Sturt Highway. We were absolutely dreading this, straight flat road, nothing to look at except red soil and maybe dead trees, and 6 long hours with potentially no radio. Sounds thrilling, doesn’t it? To make matters worse, what used to be a “no speed limit” road now had a speed limit varying from 90-120km/hr. To top it off, we hadn’t had a decent breakfast, we were starving, and we expected the food to be terrible to average with lame “touristy” stops along the way. So this road trip was doomed from the start with much crankiness in the car!
I know that I am now putting you off doing this, BUT with a little planning and research this drive can be pretty interesting! Travel Outback Australia provided a wealth of information on what stops were along the drive.
Stop 1: Curtin Springs Station
The first place we stopped at was Curtin Springs Station, and this was just to get some lunch and to see what cool souvenirs we could get. They have typical roadhouse style lunch, tours out to Mt Conner and there’s loads of information about the history behind the station. If we had some time to spare, we would have checked out one of their walks or their 4WD tours to Mt Conner. The food was pretty delicious, the burgers were freshly prepared and very yummy (we were also famished by this point and could of eaten anything to be honest). They have some pretty interesting burgers, from your standard chicken, beef to kangaroo and camel. As you drive along Sturt Highway towards Alice Springs you can see Mt Conner in the distance, the sheer size is just amazing and it’s constantly in your view as you drive along. It could easily be mistaken for Uluru!
Stop 2: Mt Ebenezer Roadhouse – Must Stop
The next place we stopped for a break was Mt Ebenezer Roadhouse, this is about halfway between Alice Springs and Ayers Rock. If you stop nowhere else along the drive, then stop here. This is definitely worth the time!! They have an art gallery which stocks art from the local Imanpa community who come into do paintings, and there are also paintings from two other communities in the area. Depending on the time you are there, you can see the artists in action. This is a great place to buy some art, and find out the stories hidden in the artwork. While we were there, we bought a small painting which now hangs in our kitchen. According to the staff member there, the stories that are painted are passed from generation to generation, and unless you have passed various “tests”, these stories are not shared.
There is another stop that is worth stopping at, and that is Erldunda Roadhouse. We didn’t stop as it was starting to get dark, but checkout their website, it looks like a great place especially if you have kids that you need to distract!
One would expect the road to be red and dusty with nothing to really see, but June/July is the perfect time to visit, as the monsoon season has passed and the rain has brought along new life to the desert.
If you missed our other posts on the Red Centre, check out:
And look out for the upcoming posts on West McDonnell Ranges and Kings Canyon!
Happy Trip Avenging!!