Spend a couple of days in Alice Springs and you will see many hidden jewels of this Central Australian town. One of them is the Olive Pink Botanic Garden, but there are plenty other attractions.
The Alice is not a big place but has a bit of history around it. The explorer John McDouall Stuart first came to the area, in the 1860 trying to cross Australia from south to north.
Visit the heritage precinct to see his memorial.
While you are there you can also see the Royal Flying Doctor Service centre. The organisation has been active since 1939, providing radio communications service for people in remote areas.
Climb the Anzac Hill to see the memorial that commemorates soldiers killed in wars. Check where it is on the map of Alice Springs.
You'll also get an excellent view of the town and the mountains surrounding it.
If you want to immerse yourself in history, go to the Alice Springs telegraph station, on the North Stuart Highway. The station, built in 1871, was part of the overland telegraph line that linked Port Augusta to Darwin.
The Olive Pink Botanic Garden is situated along the Todd River and very close to the centre of Alice Springs and the main hotels and resorts.
It is easy to visit and spend a couple of hours along the walking trails to see flowers, various wattles and eucalyptus trees.
One of the eucalyptus is the blue mallee, with its unusual leaves speared by the stem.
The garden is named after Olive Pink, an anthropologist famous for her strong character, her admiration for Aboriginal people and their traditions, her political statements about social justice and her passion to establish an arid region flora reserve, which later was opened to the public as a botanic garden.
Other attractions to see in your tour of Alice Springs are the Desert Park, the Reptile Centre, the National Pioneer Women's Hall of Fame, the School of Air, which offers education to children living in remote areas, the Araluen Cultural Precinct and numerous galleries displaying Aboriginal paintings and art.
And when you get tired to visit and want to play, there's the Alice Springs Golf Course, with amazing green grass in the desert.
But if you want to see the Ayers Rock, then hire a car or, even better, book a tour to Uluru. It is a great experience and going by coach is so much comfier than driving through the desert on your own.
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