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!
Table of Contents
- Moving From Adelaide to Alice Springs
- Arriving in Alice Springs
- Our time spent in Alice Springs
- Things we liked about living in Alice Springs
- Things we didn’t like about living in Alice Springs
- How is Alice Springs different from Adelaide?
- Would we move back or visit again?
- Tips for moving to Alice Springs
- Rental properties are expensive
- It’s pretty easy to find a job
- Liquor laws are very different
- The weather can be intense
- It’s a beautiful place
- Pin it for later!
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.
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.
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.
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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