Alice Springs

Alice Springs is a town in the Northern Territory of Australia. Its estimated population of 26,486 makes it the second-largest settlement in the Territory (the only other towns of significant size are Darwin, the capital, and Katherine). It is popularly described as "the Alice" or simply "Alice." Alice Springs is known as Mparntwe to its aboriginal inhabitants, the Arrernte. Alice Springs is known outside the region because of its proximity to Ayers Rock, which is one of Australia's best-known natural landmarks and an important focus of aboriginal culture.

Originally named Stuart, the town was established as a kind of frontier settlement for north-south travel by camel trains through the desert of the Outback. A telegraph station was placed near a permanent waterhole called Alice Springs. The town was officially renamed Alice Springs after much debate in 1933. Located almost in the exact center of the continent, Alice Springs is some 1,200 kilometers from the nearest ocean and 1,500 kilometers from the nearest major cities, Darwin and Adelaide. Alice Springs is now the midpoint of the Adelaide-Darwin railway.

The primary reason for tourism to Alice Springs had been its proximity to Ayers Rock, which is 400 kilometers to the southwest of the city. Visitor attractions include the Desert Park wildlife center, the Old Telegraph Station, the Royal Flying Doctor Service, the School of the Air, hot air balloon rides, camel tours, a reptile center, and the Olive Pink Botanical Gardens, among other sites.

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