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Alice Springs

Northern Territory

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Alice Springs National Events

As the thriving hub of the Australian outback, Alice Springs offers residents and visitors a unique blend of rugged wilderness and cultural richness. Part of the uniqueness of this town lies in the many nationally or globally recognised annual events that people may observe in and around it. Here's a rundown of some notable events that Alice Springs hosts throughout the year.

1. Henley-On-Todd Regatta
If the concept of a regatta brings to mind sailing, rowing, and boats, you are in for a surprise at the Henley-On-Todd Regatta. This wacky event is held annually on the dry sandy bed of the Todd River, which is normally dry. This regatta involves a range of waterless "boat" races, including bottomless boats, wheeled boats, and even makeshift submarines. It's all about having fun and raising money for charity. These boat races are surrounded by other amusing waterless contests, including a sandcastle competition and a wheelbarrow race. Attendees can also enjoy live music, food, and drinks.

2. ArtFest
Alice Springs has a rich cultural history- it’s home to Aboriginal people who have been there for over 40,000 years – and this is celebrated annually in the ArtFest. The event offers the chance to explore the diverse artistic expressions that make up the Central Australian region. The event includes visual art exhibitions, music, performance, dance, theatre, and food. There is also a ‘Bush Market,’ featuring artistic works from Central Australian communities and artists.

3. Red CentreNATS
If you are a fan of cars, then Red CentreNATS will be a perfect event for you. This event has come about as a way to keep the tradition of car enthusiasts coming together. Alice Springs’ dry desert conditions and the beauty landscape make this a great spot for motoring enthusiasts to showcase their vehicles. The program comprises a range of competitive events, which include burnouts, street cruising, as well as a show and shine contest.

4. Camel Cup
This is the most talked-about event in Alice Springs, probably due to the fact that it involves camels. This annual event involves a range of entertaining activities, including camel racing, camel beauty pageants, and even camel poo throwing competitions. The main race is the Camel Cup event, which attracts riders from across the Central Australian region. The event always draws huge crowds, and there are plenty of food and drinks available for all attendees.

5. Desert Festival
This is an arts and entertainment extravaganza that celebrates the rich cultural diversity of Alice Springs and its surrounding regions. The program includes a range of exciting live performances, music, theatre, dance, food, and storytelling from the best artists from the Central Australian region and beyond. The camels in attendance will have this festival all to themselves as it is a, unfortunately, non-camel riding event.

6. Finke Desert Race
The Finke Desert Race is a unique off-road race that takes place over the Queen’s birthday long weekend every year, and covers 460km from Alice Springs to Aputula (Finke). This thrilling event involves high-speed action over dust trails, sand dunes, rocks, and river crossings. The speed and agility of the bikes and cars that compete in this race are truly impressive, and there are plenty of opportunities for spectators to witness the skill and stamina of the competitors.

7. Alice Springs Show
The Alice Springs show is a showcase of the region's best animals, crafts, art, and cooking. Its roots go back more than 55 years when it was started as a way to celebrate the cattle, farming and animal husbandry industries of the region. Today, the show remains a popular event, with plenty of activities, including ride shows, animal contests, and art exhibitions.

8. Parrtjima
Parrtjima is a unique outdoors Festival of Light, celebrating Aboriginal art and culture, which is held annually in Alice Springs. The festival was created by a local group of artists and event organisers, and it features eye-catching installations, light sculptures, and projections. They illuminate the beautiful landscapes of Alice Springs, across the iconic West MacDonnell Ranges, meaning this event also offers the truly unique sight of Alice Springs after dark.

Alice Springs's calendar is packed with annual events that offer locals and visitors alike the chance to engage with this beautiful town and its breathtaking surroundings. Whether you are a fan of art and culture, motoring, sports or you just want to join in the fun, there is always something to enjoy in Alice Springs, and every one of its events celebrates the town's unique character in a unique way.


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Alice Springs on the Namatjira Drive thanks to Peter Myers