Moving From Adelaide To Alice Springs

Back in October 2016, we made a pretty big move from Adelaide to Alice Springs on an 8 month work contract. The whole move happened in under two months, from the day we were given the offer, to the day we arrived in Alice Springs. You could say it was fairly spontaneous, and looking back now, we’re not sure whether we would do it again. Don’t worry, we’re going to explain why we feel that way. Sit tight, we’ll get there!

Before the move, we were both super excited for the experience we were about to have. Neither of us knew what to expect. Everything we had heard about Alice Springs, wasn’t nearly enough information to prepare us.

Given that we were going to be away from our home city of Adelaide for almost a year, we had to pack up our lives and rental in Adelaide and ship all of our belongings to our new home in Alice Springs. The company we work for organised removalists to pack up our belongings, load them onto a shipping container and transport them to the Centre of Australia.

It was quite the ordeal, but the best part was, we didn’t have to do any of it ourselves. Well, except pack our personal items and things that we wanted to make sure were packed safely.

So, without further ado, here is our experience on moving from Adelaide to Alice Springs. This post isn’t just for people who are moving to Alice Springs. If you’re planning a short visit, you’ll still benefit from the tips and tricks in here!

Moving From Adelaide To Alice Springs | Rhiannon Travels

Moving From Adelaide to Alice Springs

A quick disclaimer about this post: we moved to Alice Springs for work. We both work in the liquor industry, and in Alice Springs, alcohol is very much an issue with a lot of local residents. This put a bit of a damper on our experience in Alice Springs, so please keep that in mind when reading any negative comments about the town.

Arriving in Alice Springs

The day we arrived in Alice Springs, we were super impressed by all of the scenery and huge, incredible ranges surrounding us. If you’ve never experienced the Australian outback before, you’ll be amazed at what you see. The ranges are spectacular and there are an abundance of photo opportunities no matter where you go. It almost doesn’t matter where in Alice Springs you are, you’re always guaranteed a pretty great view.

We arrived from Adelaide pretty early on a Friday afternoon. Once we made it off the plane, we had a hire car waiting for us at the airport, directions to our temporary accomodation, and a very upset cat in her cage.

Oh yeah, we should probably mention something. We have a cat, her name is Hermione, and she is one very well travelled kitty. Since there was no way we were leaving her in Adelaide for a year, Hermione had to come with us, and had her very first (but definitely not her last) adventure on a plane. She was a champ about it, and we were very proud parents!

We didn’t start work until the following Monday, so we had a few days to get out and explore the town. We settled into our accomodation (a self contained, one bedroom, pet friendly apartment at Alice on Todd), made sure Hermione was relaxed enough, then headed out for a couple of hours.

Moving From Adelaide To Alice Springs | Rhiannon Travels

Fun Fact: You can literally drive from one side of town to the other, in around 10 minutes.

We ended up having to stay in our temporary accomodation for five weeks, because it took quite a long time to look down an appropriate rental property. So if you’re planning a move to Alice Springs, be prepared for this. It’s a small town in the dead centre of Australia, so rental properties are quite expensive. We had a budget set by the company we work for, which made things a little big difficult.

Our time spent in Alice Springs

We lived and worked in Alice Springs for four months, before it was time for our month long adventure around Japan. We flew back to Adelaide a week before our flight to Japan, to spend some time with family and friends.

Hermione came with us to Adelaide, but spent the month living with my mum. We hadn’t been away from her for that long before, so it was a very distressing time for both of us. Okay, if I’m being honest, mostly distressing for me. I’m the crazy cat lady after all.

One month later we were back in Adelaide, before flying back to Alice Springs for the last few months of our time in the Australian outback.

After arriving back from Japan, we only had two months left in Alice Springs, before moving back to Adelaide. This time flew by, especially since it was leading up to one of Alice Springs busiest times of the year. The annual Finke Desert Race was on the weekend we left, so there were even more people in town than normal.

The days turned into weeks, and eventually, we were home!

Things we liked about living in Alice Springs

1) The scenery – Like we mentioned earlier, Alice Springs is an incredibly beautiful place to visit. There are tons of beautiful lookout spots, incredible ranges and impressive gorges throughout the main town and short drives outside of town.

2) The wildlife – We had quite a few kangaroo’s visit our street during our time in Alice Springs, and even had some outside our kitchen window on a few occasions!

3) Being close to everything we needed – It took us less than 5 minutes to drive into the main part of town where we worked. This meant grocery shopping was super convenient, too.

Moving From Adelaide To Alice Springs | Rhiannon Travels

4) The lack of traffic – Coming from the relatively big city of Adelaide, it was great not having to deal with crazy amounts of traffic.

5) The relaxed vibe on days off work – Most of the people coming through town are tourists and backpackers, so there is a very chilled vibe about the place. Everyone is in their own holiday worlds. This is great if you’re traveling. But since we were living in Alice Springs to work (in a customer service role) it was a very fast paced lifestyle for us.

Things we didn’t like about living in Alice Springs

1) Not having our belongings for the first 5 weeks – Since it took a while to find a rental house, we were living out of a suitcase for five weeks. Living of a suitcase, trying to keep Hermione somewhat settled, and having very limited options when it came to cooking meals wasn’t easy. The temporary accomodation we were in didn’t have much space, especially in the kitchen, so it made the living situation difficult at times.

2) Having to re-purchase all of the essentials – Moving from Adelaide to Alice Springs meant having to re-purchase all of the basic household staples. From toilet paper and cleaning supplies, to an entire cupboard full of food and cooking supplies. It ended up being super expensive, and wasn’t something we really thought about before moving.

3) The heat – The weather in Alice Springs is generally pretty awful. For our first week, it was over 40 degrees celsius (over 100 fahrenheit) every single day. For someone who hates summer, this was brutal. We definitely struggled quite a lot, which made the settling in process a lot harder.

4) Limited things to see and do – The lack of things to see and do, especially since it was so hot for multiple weeks when we arrived, was pretty disappointing. We were usually happy to just stay at home and relax on our days off. When the weather was less awful, we rode our bikes through town a few times to admire the incredible ranges. But apart from that, the nearby options are limited.

5) Getting used to the tourists can take a while – At first, we were surprised to see how many tourists actually travel through Alice Springs on a regular basis. The longer we lived there though, the more we realised it was in fact, a super popular tourist town. With Uluru being only a four hour drive away, Alice is the perfect town to camp in for a couple of days, stock up on supplies and have a rest from driving.

How is Alice Springs different from Adelaide?

There are so many differences between Adelaide and Alice Springs.

The most significant difference, is the fact that Adelaide has a ton more things to see and do. Sure, Alice Springs is a beautiful and pretty breathtaking place to visit. But if you’re looking for a wide range of activities, tall buildings and the ocean, you won’t find them in the outback.

Visitors to Alice Springs seem to be very relaxed and have a super carefree vibe about them.

Another thing that surprised us, was there are actually a ton of events that happen throughout the year. Coming from Adelaide, which has an almost endless amount of annual events, we didn’t think Alice Springs would even compare. But there’s always something going on! From concerts to football games, music festivals and Australia’s biggest desert race, Finke – there’s never really a dull moment.

Would we move back or visit again?

To be honest, we probably wouldn’t move back to Alice Springs again. It’s a very beautiful place, with (mostly) great people and a wonderfully relaxed vibe. Maybe it’s because work was always so stressful and busy, or that we missed our family and friends and the comfort of home, but I’m happy to not live in the outback again.

As for visiting, we definitely plan to one day! We both hope to return one day, probably on our way to visiting Uluru. it will be nice to experience the town in a relaxed way again, and have the chance to see the people we worked with.

We met people who have lived in Alice Springs for most of their life and still absolutely love it – they would never return to big city life. But if we were to visit again, it will definitely only be temporary.

We’re glad to be back in Adelaide. Moving interstate, especially to such a remote place, really makes you appreciate home. No matter where you consider your home to be – whether it’s the place you were both, the place you grew up, or even the place you moved to when you were an adult – it’s always a nice feeling going back to what’s familiar.

Tips for moving to Alice Springs

If you’re planning a move from Adelaide to Alice Springs (or from any city in Australia or across the world), here are some of the best tips and advice we can give you.

Rental properties are expensive

When it comes to living independently in Alice Springs, everything is expensive. Rental properties, electricity, general bills, car maintenance and more are all marked up, because it can be. Things take longer and cost more, to get from major Australian cities to Alice Springs, therefore it’s going to cost more for residents.

It’s pretty easy to find a job

Surprisingly enough, jobs are easy to come by in Alice Springs. Since it’s a pretty temporary place to live and visit (for the most part) there are always going to be people (backpackers especially) applying for temporary jobs, working for a few months then continuing on with their travels.

Start looking online for jobs before you arrive, and if you’re planning to stay for an extended period of time, mention that to employers. You’ll have a good shot at getting the job, especially if you’re staying in town for a while.

Even if you’re only staying temporarily, you’ll still be able to find a job quite easily.

Moving From Adelaide To Alice Springs | Rhiannon Travels

Liquor laws are very different

There are a ton of restrictions in place when it comes to buying takeaway alcohol in Alice Springs. Liquor stores (bottle shops, if you wanna learn our Aussie slang) don’t open until 2pm and close at 9pm during the week. They open at 10am on Saturday.

Most bottle shops are closed on Sundays. Cask wine is unavailable, and fortified wine (port or tawny) is only sold after 6pm, and limited to one bottle per person, per day.

Oh yeah, and if you’re of drinking age and want to purchase alcohol, bring a valid form of photo ID (passport, Australian drivers license, international drivers license or proof of age card). If you don’t have your ID, you won’t be able to purchase alcohol.

The weather can be intense

Like we mentioned, summer is brutal in Alice Springs. It can be described as nothing short of awful. That being said, if you love the sun and enjoy spending time outdoors, you’ll probably love Alice Springs.

Always wear sunscreen and take a bottle of water with you everywhere. Even if you don’t despise the heat, the sun can still do damage to your skin, and it’s very easy to become dehydrated.

It’s a beautiful place

Alice Springs truly is a very beautiful and impressive place to both live and visit. There is so much wildlife, a ton of incredible ranges and during the year when it rains more frequently, there can even be lots of beautiful greenery.

We hope these tips and information has helped you plan your move from Adelaide to Alice Springs. Keep in mind that things are very different, there is less to do and the heat can be pretty brutal if you’re not used to it or don’t enjoy summer at the best of times. Depending on your reason for moving to Alice Springs, there will be things you like and dislike about living in such a small town.

Have you ever moved interstate before? Either for work purposes, or because you wanted a change of scenery? Tell us below! What did you find most difficult and rewarding?

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  1. Kelly
    June 24, 2017 / 2:40 pm

    So many things I love about this post, that I don’t even know where to start. I mean, you have a cat named Hermione. Enough said. But I give you so much credit for moving to the Outback. So ruggedly beautiful but moving is hard and besides the scenery, looks like there is not a whole lot to do. And I can’t even imagine how stressed out you must have been catering to all the tourists. Kudos to you for doing it and being totally honest about your experience. I really admire that!!

    • June 24, 2017 / 2:47 pm

      Thank you Kelly! It was definitely something that I wouldn’t do again, but at the same time, I’m glad I did! I got to experience living in a totally different place in Australia. Complete opposite to what I had grown up with and what I’m used to. So it was good in that aspect, but yeah not a whole lot to do and that can be difficult! Thanks for reading 🙂

  2. June 24, 2017 / 2:50 pm

    This is such a practical post. Sounds like the outback is full of challenges and although you say you wouldn’t move back, seems like it was still a positive adventure!

    • June 24, 2017 / 3:29 pm

      It was a positive adventure! I’m glad to have experienced it, but also glad to be home! Thanks for reading 🙂

  3. June 24, 2017 / 3:16 pm

    Girl I’m a crazy cat lady and I don’t even own a cat but I’m a cat sitter for about a dozen furry friends in NYC! lol Both Alice Springs and Adelaide sound sooo exotic to me! I love that you gave it a try. That’s what it’s about. We go places, try them out for ourselves and we get to have our own opinion. Little by little with each experience we chip away at our shells, understanding who we are and what we want. Glad you’re where you need to be. 🙂

    • June 24, 2017 / 3:31 pm

      Haha that’s awesome! I’d love to have a dozen cats lol! 😀
      That’s exactly right! It’s so important to experience things for ourselves, and not just take the word of others.
      Thanks for reading, Erika! 🙂

  4. June 24, 2017 / 3:48 pm

    Such an interesting perspective on life in Alice Springs! As an Australian I am actually yet to visit, but your detailed advice on what you liked and didn’t like about living there give me a clear idea of what it could be like. It’s good to know you’d also be happy to revisit (for a short-term holiday!) someday, too. Thanks for sharing your view!

    • June 25, 2017 / 7:42 pm

      I think it’s a great place to visit, definitely! Such great scenery. I hope you get to visit Alice Springs yourself one day! Thanks for reading 🙂

  5. June 24, 2017 / 5:24 pm

    Moving is such a tedious task. You never really feel you’ve taken everything. Must have been quite an experience.. I’m glad I came across this post!

    • June 25, 2017 / 7:42 pm

      Moving is super time consuming and stressful, but it can also be a fresh start! Thanks for reading 🙂

  6. June 24, 2017 / 5:46 pm

    Welcome back to Adelaide 🙂 Alice Springs would be a tough challenge that’s for sure! I practically grew up in the “outback” and still have a lot of family living amongst the red dirt and saltbush of northern SA. I think you really have to be a certain type of person to live there long term – and I’m not that type! I love to visit it from time to time though. Great photos of the landscape!

    • June 25, 2017 / 7:44 pm

      Thank you! I think you’re right, it takes a certain type of person to live comfortably and long-term in Alice Springs. But I can see why people would also enjoy it. Thanks for reading, Josie 🙂

  7. Flo
    June 24, 2017 / 9:02 pm

    I can’t believe how small it is! Alice Springs sounds like a beautiful place but tiny – I can see how it would feel like you’re living in a bubble! Enjoy your time back home 🙂

    • June 25, 2017 / 7:45 pm

      It is a very small town! Doesn’t take long to tour the place, which is both a bummer and a good thing! Thanks for reading 🙂

  8. June 24, 2017 / 9:37 pm

    I love that you named your cat Hermione!! Also Alice Springs looks like really nice, though not too sure about the restricted liquor store hours. What if you suddenly ran out of alcohol for a birthday at 9.05pm? Or worse what if you had a bad day and realised the store is close and you ran out of wine? (worse case scenario for me hahah I’m just being overdramatic). The Outback looks really amazing though!

    • June 25, 2017 / 7:46 pm

      The liquor store hours are annoying, but for good reason! Most people are fairly understanding, although it was inconvenient for some (people having parties etc). It is a very beautiful place! 🙂 Thanks for reading.

  9. June 24, 2017 / 10:32 pm

    I can totally understand why you didn’t love Alice Aprings as much as Adelaide! I really enjoyed Alice Springs, much more than I expected to, but I definitely couldn’t live there for long. The nature around is incredible but I also prefer cities like Adelaide where there’s more excitement and Ocean close by 🙂

    • June 25, 2017 / 7:47 pm

      I enjoyed it too, but like you said, not for long. The weather is hard to adjust to, especially if you’re not used to the heat! Adelaide will always be my home, so I’m glad to be back! Thanks for reading, Christie 🙂

  10. June 24, 2017 / 11:14 pm

    I was glad to read your very interesting story, and not very surprised by the conclusion. I’ve visited Alice Springs a few years back and I didn’t like it too much, especially because it was small, the weather so hard, and seemed filled with more backpackers than locals. On the contrary, I loved Adelaide, this is a place where I would love to live for a while one day!

    • June 25, 2017 / 7:49 pm

      The weather can be difficult to get used to if you’re not used to hot weather (especially considering there’s such long stretches of time with horrible hot days). But apart from that and getting used to dealing with so many backpackers/tourists, it’s a fun place! Adelaide is an amazing place to live. So lucky to live here! 🙂 Thanks for reading, Alice.

  11. June 25, 2017 / 12:05 pm

    What a contrast moving from Adelaide to Alice Springs! I’m surprised to hear that rental properties are expensive in Alice. What’s the average cost? It’s good to hear there’s plenty of work though. Central Australia is one of my favourite parts of the country to visit (not to live!).

    • June 25, 2017 / 7:51 pm

      For a 2 bedroom house, it can be up to $400 per week. Back home in Adelaide, 2 bedroom rentals tend to be between $280-$320 per week (depending on location). Almost everything is more expensive in Alice Springs! Work is very easily found, since a lot of the temporary jobs go to backpackers and people who only want casual positions! Thanks for reading, Christina 🙂

  12. Cherene Saradar
    June 25, 2017 / 12:42 pm

    I can only imagine how hot it is there in summer. I visited Alice Springs in winter and was hot! It is beautiful but I can see how you didn’t live living there. Glad you’re back where you are happy!

    • June 25, 2017 / 7:53 pm

      It can be pretty horrible in summer! When we arrived, we had a couple of months straight of intense, hot days. But winter is a lot more bearable. The nights are freezing cold, though! Below zero during the cold months. Thanks for reading 🙂

  13. June 25, 2017 / 1:04 pm

    Great post! I would love to get to the Outback before our time in Oz is over. I am currently in Banff, Canada, which is a total tourist town and I can only imagine how strange (and sometimes frustrating) living in a tourist town can be.

    • June 25, 2017 / 7:54 pm

      I hope you make it there! I’m sure you’ll love visiting. Yeah tourist towns can be difficult, especially living in them. But at the same time, it’s pretty cool seeing so many people from so many different places around the world, in such a small town! Thanks for reading, Dawn 🙂

  14. June 25, 2017 / 3:48 pm

    Looks like the best place for an adventure. Looks so isolated. And say Hi to Miss Hermione 😀

  15. June 25, 2017 / 4:27 pm

    I have not been to Alice Springs but I am a bit familiar with the geography. I am impressed ( and surprised) that there is always something going on. The heat must be severe in the summer.

    • June 25, 2017 / 7:56 pm

      Yeah, there actually can be quite a few events on at the same time! I found it strange when I first moved there. The heat can be awful in summer, but it gets really nice during winter 🙂 Thanks for reading.

  16. Barb
    June 25, 2017 / 7:41 pm

    Alice Springs looks like a magical destination to visit for mountain lovers like me. The place reminds me of Arizona! I hope I can see this place with my own eyes one day.

  17. June 27, 2017 / 11:08 pm

    Alice springs does look beautiful. I do get what you mean by not wanting to move back though. As much as I love the mountains, I am used to the pace of city life. Every once in a while I love to get out and complain about the city. Moving is also quite stressful. I would love to visit Alice Springs though. Sounds like a great place for a holiday.

  18. June 28, 2017 / 2:34 am

    Congrats on your move to Alice Springs. I know from experience, moving from one city to a completely different place is not easy. But the rewards make up for it. You’ll have a blast.

  19. June 28, 2017 / 3:24 pm

    What an adventure! Alice Springs looks like a gorgeous area and it would be fun to visit! I can see where you would have mixed feelings about living there though–it would be fun for awhile, but any place you live has downsides at times and I need more action sometimes, too. Sounds like it was good timing to have the Japan trip in the middle and it sounds like a fun stint living in a new spot for awhile anyways!

  20. April 21, 2018 / 2:58 pm

    An interesting read Rhiannon and not the typical place to live in Australia. I’m so keen to see more of Australia and the outback and photos like yours reminds me of that – thank you!

  21. April 21, 2018 / 3:43 pm

    I first heard about Alice Springs when I read the book “A Town Called Alice”. It sounds beautiful but a little too rugged for me. Interesting post, and very informative for folks looking for details about the place. I love that you named your cat Hermione 🙂

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