ALICE Springs has all the amenities you’ll need to stock up for a long or a short offroad adventure to the surrounding regions. Accommodation ranges from luxury resorts and hotels, to excellent caravan parks and camping grounds.
For info about all national park visitor and camping fees, plus track conditions, check out: www.parksandwildlife.nt.gov.au
Finke Gorge National Park is 127km west of Alice Springs, via Larapinta Drive. As well as the 4x4 track that runs north-south through this park, there is also a side track to Palm Valley and its campground, which is well worth a visit. Be fully prepared when driving in this park and take plenty of recovery gear. Also, check beforehand as to whether the track is open. Bush camping is free along this route.
Ruby Gap Nature Park is 149km east of Alice Springs, via the Ross Highway. The final track in is for high-clearance 4x4 vehicles only. The campsites are dotted along the river bank with plenty of space between them. There are no facilities and camping fees do apply.
The best time to visit the Red Centre is from April through to the end of October.
The Alice Springs Desert Park is well worth a look if you have a half or a full day to spare.