Central Australia as you’ve never experienced before

Desert Mob exhibition

Alice Piper

Posted February 07, 2022

A buzzing live music scene, internationally-acclaimed art galleries, and world-class dining – there are many surprise reasons why Central Australia should be your next holiday destination. 

When you think of Central Australia, what often comes to mind is breathtaking desert vistas, incredible wildlife, and of course, Uluru.  

However, the region is proving itself as a thriving hub of creativity, art and culture, and offers many unique things to do and hidden gems to uncover.

When it comes to exploring all that the Red Centre has to offer, there is no better way than a good old-fashioned driving holiday and motorhome adventure. RACV Members save 10 per cent all year round on motorhome rental, in addition to a further 10 per cent off special prices.

Hidden gems of Central Australia

Galleries and art in Central Australia


Central Australia is home to a vibrant collection of galleries. You’ll be in awe of the dot paintings and watercolours used by famous Indigenous artists including Gloria Petyarre, Naata Nungurrayi and Albert Namatjira, which can be found at Mbantua Fine Art Gallery, Papunya Tula Artists, Yuba Napa Gallery and Studio and Ironwood Arts. 

The Araluen Arts Centre in Alice Springs is the town’s key cultural hub and gallery and is home to the Albert Namatjira Gallery, where Albert’s original paintings are still on display.

Another exhibition at the Araluen Arts Centre is Desert Mob Retrospective, which in 2021, celebrated 30 years of bringing together the art and culture of Aboriginal artists. 

Running from September to June, you can visit the gallery daily to see the works. 

Red centre art trails

The Red Centre Art Trails allow you to experience the richness of native artworks by following designated driving trail routes. 

Each trail takes you on a journey of the region and explores the cultural heritage of the land.

If you’re looking to get involved in the making of traditional art and create some memories, why not try a traditional dot painting class in Uluru? A local artist will educate you about traditional art, symbols, and tools, so you can create your very own treasure.

art class in Uluru

Art lessons at Uluru. Credit: Tourism Northern Territory & Archie Sartacom

Best dining spots in Central Australia

Breakfast and Lunch

It’s hard to go without that morning coffee and Alice Springs has some great cafes that could rival any Melbourne hotspot. 

Try Fan Arcade in Todd Mall for some all-day breakfast with a local feel or Olive Pink Botanic Gardens, known as one of the best breakfast and lunch spots in town - keep your eye out for Black-footed Rock Wallabies when visiting the Gardens.

If your road trip takes you to Kings Canyon make sure to stop for lunch at Kings Creek Station and try their infamous camel burger.


When you’ve been sightseeing all day, tucking into a hearty meal can be just what you need. Try Bella Alice or Casa Nostra Pizza and Spaghetti Bar for your Italian fix in Central Australia. 

Or, if you’re feeling like a banquet experience, try Humayun, known for its Thai and Asian inspired fine dining menu – a real foodie heaven. 

Discovery Parks Glen Helen, in the West MacDonnell Ranges, is perfect for trying modern Australian food. With a casual outback dining experience in a homestead, you’ll feel like you’ve truly experienced the Australian outback here. 

When at Uluru, splash out for a once in a lifetime dining experience at Tali Wiru, which means 'beautiful dune' in local Anangu language. Here, diners can enjoy the magic of a four-course meal under the Southern Desert sky with views of Uluru and the distant domes of Kata Tjuta.

Field of Light. Credit: Tourism Northern Territory & Matt Glastonbury

Field of Light. Credit: Tourism Northern Territory & Matt Glastonbury

Live music and shows in Central Australia

Monte’s Lounge

With every genre of music you can think of, Monte's Lounge, situated in the heart of Alice Springs, is the best place to let your hair down, have a drink, a laugh, and dance the night away after a day of exploring.

Make sure you check out Monte Lounge's live music events on Sundays and take advantage of the kitchen that’s open all night.

Opera Australia

Into something a bit more sophisticated? Enjoy the opera like you never have before – right in front of the stunning Uluru, as the sun sets in the background.

The Opera at Uluru gala concert, running from May 20-22, 2022 will be illuminated by the 50,000 glass spheres from Bruce Munro’s Field of Lights. 

Desert Song Festival 

Between September 9-18, 2022 the Desert Song Festival captures the essence of Alice Springs, as singers, choirs, and musicians come together to perform a series of events celebrating the land and its people.

During the festival, you’ll see major concerts, chamber events, workshops and masterclasses, all celebrating cultural diversity and artistic brilliance.

One group you don’t want to miss is the Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir, who have grown from performing at small venues in Central Australia to Hamer Hall in Melbourne, the Sydney Opera House, and even the Kennedy Centre in Washington DC. 

Hero image credit: Tourism NT

RACV Members save more on amazing travel experiences in the Red Centre.
Discover more →