Tuesday April 15, 2014
The Aboriginal people, called the Arrernte, have settled in the desert of Alice Springs region for over 30,000 thousand years. Before the European settlers arrived, the Arrernte actually called Alice Springs by the name of Mparntwe. The evidence proving their settlement in the region includes Arrernte rock art that you can still see in Alice Springs today on one of your Red Centre tours. During your visit in Alice Springs, you will also be given the opportunity to learn the origin stories and legends of the Arrernte people. For example, according to these legends, the mountainous desert surroundings of Alice Springs were formed by caterpillars and wild dogs.
European settlement, although began as early as 1870, really flourished with the discovery alluvia gold 62 miles (100 kilometers) east of Alice Springs in 1887. Still, Alice Springs remained a small, remote settlement until World War II. It was during this time that it became a strategic base and eventually, after World War II, a defense location.
Most recently, the town is a tourist attraction. Its location is close to many natural wonders, such as the West Macdonnell Mountain Range (which you can see from the town), making it a convenient start, middle and/or end point of Central Australia tours. The unique blend of culture and history between the Arrernte Aboriginal people and the European settlers has also attracted tourism. Visitors can experience this unique culture through events such as the camel cup or the Henley-on-Todd Regatta, which is a kind of foot “boat” race in the dry bed of the Todd River. This event in particular pokes fun at the town’s cultural history and is a huge attraction for both tourists and locals.
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