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6 reasons to man up and book a trip to Alice Springs

A weekend in Vegas is the epitome of a boys weekend away. But unfortunately for us regular Aussies, that’s a little out of reach for a long weekend, unless you’re dying for just one round of blackjack at the Bellagio.

So, where does that leave us? Sydney’s been done, so has Byron;  Melbourne’s another safe choice too. But what about somewhere a little off the radar? Taking the lead from Destination Calibria  (yes that old chestnut – everyone’s favourite blend of electronica and sax); it’s about time we go somewhere a bit more exciting, somewhere unknown.

Nek minute… flights are booked for Alice Springs.

Leaving on a jet plane...

Leaving on a jet plane…

Yes that’s right, I’m going to help you take those ill-formed, preconceived judgements of the NT and throw them in the trash: cause this kid is ready for a memorable weekend in the dusty Red Centre. Heck, I even purchase a legitimate full brim hat in preparation; my collection of snapbacks aren’t up to scratch for the infamous NT sun!

NT Trashtalk #1 – “It’s too far away, and will take me forever to get there”

Wrong. By the time I settle into my seat and select my movie of choice (finally time to catch up on the latest Transformers without the fiancé), a tasty lunch treat and beverage enters side of stage (seconds anyone?) and that’s it. Next thing I know, I’m gazing out over said Red Centre of Australia, and soon landing in Alice Springs.

Australia's Red Epicentre

Australia’s Red Epicentre

NT Trashtalk #2 – “Isn’t that place stuck in the ’80s?”

Okay, the first thing you should know is that I was born in ’88, so in no way do I consider myself an authority on ’80s style. And I’m not going to learn anything here because our hotel is very much non-’80s – in fact we are doing it in style with digs at Lasseters Hotel and Casino.

Lasseters

Lasseters

Room wise, this is on par with the top hotels in the ‘big’ cities.

Lasseters Hotel & Casino... beds galore

Two beds- one for each night.

I’m talking two double beds – yes you better believe I tried one each night – rainfall shower head, bathrobes and mammoth plasma tv, custom Aboriginal artworks in each room… yeah it sure was tough work staying in here – and there was nothing ’80s about it.

Custom Aboriginal artwork in every room

Custom Aboriginal artwork in every room

Hungry for more proof? No problem, let’s talk food. At bang on six foot tall, I am by no means a hobbit, but I have inherited the love of breakfast and second breakfast. And the best thing about staying in a classy hotel is– you guessed it, HUGE plates for first and second breakfast. Lasseters has a mean brekkie buffet. It all starts with bacon, eggs, chipolatas (yeah, those fancy small sausages), tomato, beans, toast; and then we move on to pancakes, pastry treats, fruit, and maybe one of those mini muffins? Well it would be rude not too.

NT Trashtalk #3 – “It’s dry and hot”

Alright, so that’s what I thought, and yeah, generally it’s pretty darn hot and pretty darn dry. But not this trip- the wettest of weather in over forty years (yes four – zero) descended on the Alice.

PROOF- I wasn't kidding about the rain...

PROOF – I wasn’t kidding about the rain…

The river is flooded, the grass is green, and there were clouds in the sky with more rain on the way. Sounds terrible? Not if you are one of the many people that live off the land out here – this is literally heaven on earth for them. Meeting a few of these colourful characters helped me to appreciate and understand just how grateful we should be for this once-in-a-lifetime rain.

NT Trashtalk #4 – “There’s only one thing to do there”

SURPRISE! Our itinerary had so much packed into it… the big rock didn’t even get a look in! Being a boy’s weekend, we go quad bike riding, camel trekking, swimming in canyons, hot-air ballooning and just generally owning the road. But no Uluru.

Besides, you always need to leave something for next time!

NT Trashtalk #5 – “Isn’t it only about the day – what happens at night?”

All that adventure sure does works up an appetite, but never fear ‘cause Lasseters delivers on that front too with their in-house restaurant, Tali.

Tali

Tali

It’s Saturday night fever, and due to its superb reputation this place is packed. We sit down and make sure some ice-cold beers are on their way- let’s get this night started! When you’re in the ‘outback’ (I can say that with confidence now, because today I officially saw a kangaroo in the wild), there’s a lot of references to Australian animals.

1x wild kangaroo - no zoo required

1x wild kangaroo – no zoo required

And all that talk about Kangaroos, crocodiles and barramundi is making my inner-caveman hungry.  So thanks to some superior chef-work, I am going to put my tastebuds on the line and walk-the-walk.

FEED ME! NT's famous wild barramundi

FEED ME! NT’s famous wild barramundi

I order the delicious Tali Tasting Platter to start and then the Wild Barramundi with potato rosti and chorizo, confit tomatoes and lemon myrtle beurre blanc sauce.  I’m on my fourth beer when I ask my waiter friend if the Barramundi is actually wild. It is! And it is delicious.

NT Trashtalk #6 ‘The only souvenirs are tea towels and boomerangs’

Correct and incorrect at the same time. I can testify that I didn’t purchase either of these , but they are readily available should I ever be in the market for kitchen linen or have spare space on my IKEA cube shelf. I do, however, leave with one large (and heavy) souvenir, the world’s largest bottle of beer – all 1000mL of it.

When in Rome!

When in Rome!

The only one of its kind, this is specially brewed by NT Draught. Definitely hitching a ride back to Brisbane in my luggage.

It's as big as my head

It’s as big as my head

Fun fact: these bad boys are only sold warm and in a nifty takeaway box… so you can responsibly enjoy back home 😉

And that’s how you man-up on a weekend in Australia’s Red Centre and make rubbish of all that trashtalk.

I guess Ernie Dingo was right all along –  you’ll never never know, if you never never go. I wish I listened to him sooner, because the red epicentre of Australia is the red epic centre of Australia. I’ll be back – but next time, hold the rain.

Have you been to the Alice? Tell us about it in the comments.




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