How to really see the Red Centre

  This is advertorial content for Tourism Central Australia

Uluru may be synonymous with Central Australia but the country's beating heart offers far more than this ancient monolith.

You can see traditional and contemporary art; get the heart pumping on a unique adventure; swim in dreamy waterholes dotted among a landscape resplendent in ochre, red and gold; and meet the characters who call the outback home.

For the art and culture lovers

Central Australia has long been the creative inspiration for Aboriginal artists. In fact, Alice Springs has more art galleries per capita than anywhere else in Australia and some of Australia's largest Aboriginal art collections.

The vibrant Araluen Cultural Precinct is home to landscapes painted by iconic Indigenous artist Albert Namatjira, who is buried nearby, along with other significant works from the region.

Visit GoCA to discover Indigenous artwork.

Visit GoCA to discover Indigenous artwork. Photo: Tourism Australia

See (and purchase) striking fibre art created by the women of Central Australia at the Tjanpi Desert Weavers Gallery, which represents over 400 First Nations artists from 26 remote communities across Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands.

Locals Marie Ryder and Kevin Bird love taking art lovers on a journey intertwined with their own life stories to learn about traditional Aboriginal art and connection to the Central Australia country.

Finke River Cultural Tours explores the remote Aboriginal community of Hermannsburg, birthplace of Namatjira. See the West MacDonnell Ranges which inspired some of his greatest works, hear the fascinating stories of the Lutheran missionaries and learn about the mighty Finke River, one of the world's oldest tributaries.

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At Uluru, hear the stories held in stone on a cave art tour with Maruku Arts, a 900-strong artist collective and not-for-profit organisation 100 per cent owned and controlled by Anangu (Aboriginal people from the Central and Western deserts). Led by an Anangu guide, learn how Indigenous stories made their way from red sand onto rock before progressing onto canvas.

Uluru is also the proud home of the new Gallery of Central Australia (GoCA), with 300 artworks from established and emerging artists exclusively from Central Australia and the Western Desert region, where you can observe artists at work.

Maruku Arts is 100 per cent owned and controlled by Anangu.

Maruku Arts is 100 per cent owned and controlled by Anangu. Photo: Tourism NT/Helen Orr

For the adventure seekers

You can traverse spectacular desert tracks on foot… or soar above the ethereal landscape. A heli biking adventure over the striking MacDonnell Ranges will transport you to the head of one of three far-reaching mountain bike trails.

Alternatively, trek all or part of the renowned 223-kilometre Larapinta Trail, one of Australia's most lauded bushwalking experiences, on a guided or self-guided tour.

Heli biking is the thrill-seekers way to see the Alice Springs region.

Heli biking is the thrill-seekers way to see the Alice Springs region. Photo: Tourism Australia

Central Australia is blessed with a high number of days of near perfect flight conditions. Join NT Soaring for an exhilarating, yet wonderfully serene, glider flight where you can marvel at the beauty of the Red Centre from above. You can even take control of the glider yourself under the guidance of passionate local pilots.

More of a cyclist? Traverse craggy terrain on Alice's astounding network of bike trails. Red Centre Adventures gets you on an e-bike for everything from challenging technical trails to winding your way through stunning desert river landscapes.

For the nature enthusiast

Linger among ancient landscapes, swim in waterholes or simply be still beneath expansive skies with Wild Honey Travel's private and small group tours to Rainbow Valley, Ormiston Gorge, the edge of the Simpson Desert and Wild Dog Country.

Follow the contours of the beautiful East MacDonnell Range on the new 7.2km Yeperenye Trail between Emily Gap (Anthwerrke) and Jessie Gap (Atherrke). Built by more than 30 Aboriginal workers, the trail is where the three caterpillar song lines meet, showcasing the area's cultural significance.

Soak up spectacular views at Ormiston Gorge.

Soak up spectacular views at Ormiston Gorge. Photo: Tourism NT/Daniel Tran

Ascend (500) rocky steps and be left speechless by the sandstone walls, dramatic cliffs and deep gorges of the superlative Kings Canyon. Skirting the canyon's lip, highlights of the Kings Canyon Rim Walk include the Garden of Eden, the sandstone domes of the Lost City and rock wallabies.

Soak up King Canyon's astounding natural beauty nearby from a glamping tent at Kings Canyon Resort, which come complete with designer rugs, Nespresso machine and firepit.

Positioned to capture the Watarrka landscape's changing colours, Kings Creek Station's new Drovers Dream tents overlook the George Gill Range. All 10 luxurious tents feature a plush queen bed, air-conditioning, alfresco shower, and tub and fire pit for gathering round and admiring the rugged beauty and unforgettable night skies.

For more inspiration, head to discovercentralaustralia.com and Get Out There in the Red Centre.