Alice Springs, located 1500 km from Darwin, is the second biggest town in the Northern Territory. The town is built on the flood plains of the Todd and Charles Rivers (usually dry), in the centre of the MacDonnell Ranges, which stretch east and west for 400 km on either side of the town. Temperature in the summer reaches 45 degrees Celsius, and down to below zero in winter. Rainfall is rare.
The Arrernte people lived, hunted and gathered in the area, known as Mparntwe, for 20000 years before the arrival of Europeans. The area has many Dreamtime stories and has special cultural and spiritual significance. There are a number of Aboriginal artists in the area, with several art galleries in the town.
Summary of European settlement in the area:
1860 - reached by explorer John McDouall Stuart.
1871 - overland telegraph station built on Alice waterhole.
1887 - gold and ruby rushes, although the rubies turned out to be garnets.
1888 - town of Stuart proclaimed.
1929 - Ghan rail link completed.
1933 - Stuart renamed Alice Springs.
1938 - RFDS established.
1950 - school of the air established.
Population: 25,186 (2011 Census)
Elevation: 546 metres
Latitude: -23.7004 | Longitude: 133.881