Jen Adams and Clint Bizzell have the best jobs in the world – they get to travel Australia for work as presenters on TV show Places We Go. And sometimes, they get to take the public with them.
Jen and Clint are leading a tour to their favourite spots in the Red Centre in September. Many of the places you’ll visit feature in Jen and Clint’s new book Australia’s Top 100 Places to Go – the Ultimate Bucket List. Here’s a sneak peek at Jen and Clint’s Red Centre bucket list or find out more about the tour here.
You can’t go past a town like Alice. Sitting smack bang in the middle of the desert, Alice Springs is the heart of Australia and the gateway to all the Red Centre has to offer. It is one of the country’s best Aboriginal art centres, and boasts incredible galleries and opportunities to meet the artists. A growing cafe culture is also emerging, so you have your choice of places to sit back and enjoy a latte.
Jen and Clint’s take: Alice is a place dear to our hearts. Whether we’ve driven or flown there, both modes of transport have given us an appreciation for just how remote Alice is within that immense red desert that seems to go on forever.
West MacDonnell Ranges
The ‘West Macs’ start just minutes from Alice Springs; here you can enjoy a permanent waterhole and rock wallabies at Simpsons Gap. Further west, watch the sun light up the red rock at Standley Chasm at midday or set over Mount Sonder from Glen Helen Gorge at dusk.
On the desert road to Kata Tjuta in Australia’s Red Centre, you can’t help but feel a sense of awe as the enormous, red rocky domes start to come into view, spread panoramically across the horizon. All shapes and sizes, but all towering over the desert landscape, the 36 domes (some of which are 500 metres high) that make up the formation are spread over an area of more than 20 kilometres, and are a sacred Aboriginal site within the Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park.
Jen and Clint’s take: We saw Kata Tjuta, or the Olgas as they’re also known, on our very first visit to the Northern Territory. It’s hard to describe the feeling of this place – to be walking through a sacred Aboriginal site was humbling, and then to add such an imposing, beautifully carved landscape pretty much silenced us all.
Halfway between Uluru and Alice Springs in Australia’s Red Centre lies a perfect excuse for a stopover: Kings Canyon. Located in Watarrka National Park, this ancient formation of gorges, waterholes and vertical sandstone walls rising up to 100 metres is hundreds of millions of years in the making. The canyon can be explored on the 6-kilometre rim walk, which has some challenging climbs and rocky landscape underfoot. A less challenging option is the Kings Canyon floor walk, where the gorge can be viewed from the ground below.
Jen and Clint’s take: Kings Canyon deserves its regal name. It’s simply stunning. You can see why, back in 1872, an Englishman by the name of Giles called it ‘an agreeable creek’, for it’s certainly that, and then some!
Gathering on a viewing platform in the dark, hearing excited whispers around you, you know something special is about to happen. It might still be dark, but you can feel the immense size of the outback around you, and the only thing between the earth and sky is the sacred rock that has started to glow as the breaking sun unveils itself.
First purple, then red, and then with every inch the sun moves up into the sky the rock is further illuminated until the deep orange form of Uluru stands proudly before you in all its glory. Uluru at sunrise is a true spectacle, and an incredible curtain-raiser for the main event, a walk around its base.
Jen and Clint’s take: There’s nothing like the first time we saw Uluru. It was a place we had dreamt of visiting all our lives, and we’d seen a million pictures of it in books and on postcards, so to see it up close was quite surreal. No amount of research would prepare us for how imposing it would feel until we stood in front of it.