About Alice Springs
Alice Springs is located in the geographical centre of Australia and is almost equidistant between Adelaide in the south and Darwin in the north. The distance from Alice Springs to Darwin is 1305 km, while the distance to Sydney is 2030 km. The town is close to the East and West MacDonnell ranges and is 465 km (about 4.5 hours drive) from Ayres rock - also known as Uluru. On a larger scale the town is surrounded by a red sand sea the size of Europe. The Simpson Desert stretches south from Alice towards the South Australian border while the Tanami Track extends for over 1000 kilometres to the north-west and into Western Australia.
Central Australia has a rich aboriginal heritage and the region has been populated for at least 20,000 years. At Alice Springs, the traditional owners are the Arrernte tribe while aboriginal people from many other groups also visit or live in the region. Many traditional languages are still used - the Arrernte word for Alice Springs is Mparntwe (pronounced Mbarn-twa).
The indigenous people of Central Australia have a rich and diverse culture which is often expressed through art, music and stories. Many outstanding indigenous painters live and work in the region and their wonderful paintings can be seen in the local galleries.
Alice Springs currently has a population of about 28,000 people. It was first settled after the construction of the Australian Overland Telegraph Line was completed in 1872. The town grew rapidly following the discovery, in 1887, of alluvial gold at Arltunga, about 100 kilometers to the east. From the 1870s until the late 1920s, supplies for the town were brought in by Camaleers, who drove their camel trains for hundreds of kilometres across the desert. In 1929 the Ghan railway was opened, linking Adelaide and Alice Springs and this together with the development of roads and cars replaced the need for camels, many of which were released into the outback.
Climate, clothing and the sun
March is the end of the summer season in Central Australia. The average maximum temperature for March is 33 degrees (Centigrade) and the average minimum temperature is 17 degrees. Daytimes are likely to be warm or hot, while the evenings are cooler so bring something warm to wear as well as light clothing. Casual clothing is acceptable almost anywhere in Australia. Lasseters Hotel Casino does have some dress regulations. Please see their casino web pages for further information.
As you'd expect of a desert environment, Central Australia is usually dry, with brilliant blue skies. The average rainfall for Alice Springs in March is 30 mm.
It is essential to have protection from the sun as it is easy to get sunburnt within minutes. Heat exhaustion can also be a problem. We will provide sunscreen at the meeting and plenty of water. Please bring a sunhat, sunglasses and insect repellant. If you plan on any walking then good walking shoes or boots are advisable. In general its a good idea to keep out of the sun in the middle of the day.
Australian currency is the only legal tender in Australia. Most places will except major credit cards for payment. There are Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) located in the Casino next door to the Convention Centre and plenty of ATMs in the town. Foreign Currency can be exchanged at currency stores in the major airports or in most banks. Here is a link for currency exchange information.