The Drive from Alice to Sydney

A driving holiday may not be a lot of fun for those who don’t enjoy driving but those who do enjoy driving will appreciate the many fine aspects of a drive from “The Alice” to the bustling metropolis that is Sydney.

The deserts of Australia are fascinating and have a lot of history behind them; with many panhandlers finding their fortunes in gold during Australia’s pioneering early years. The Australian desert is also not a good place to get lost in, or if you are actually looking to get lost then yes, it is a perfect place to get lost. There are many dangerous and wild animals that roam the deserts, not to mention venomous snakes and other reptiles. It is highly advised that you stick to the highways and avoid any side trips unless you are certain of where you are heading as you could end up not being able to find your way back to the highway. Maps and GPS Systems come in very handy when driving in Australia.

Sydney harbour bridge

One of the most memorable things about Sydney is the Sydney Harbour Bridge.


People who are not familiar with Australia usually buy into the stereotype that it is a cultural wasteland with no highways and a lot of desert. This is no way true as Australia has built up a fantastic cultural heritage that takes its cue from the Aboriginal people who inhabited the land before the people from the Northern Hemisphere settled in the late 18th century. While it is true that a great portion of the continent of Australia is taken up by some major deserts, there are most certainly highways to every major city and the drive from Alice Springs, which is at the southern tip of Australia’s Northern Territory state, is one of beauty and mystique.

However, you will have to LOVE driving if you want to do this drive. There is no direct highway between Alice Springs and Sydney, you’ll have to take the long way round and end up taking in most of South Australia if you want to take the quickest route. Suddenly flying from Alice Springs to Sydney isn’t looking so bad if you factor in the amount of petrol you’ll be guzzling and the cost and logistics of renting a car to drive halfway across the continent.

As drives go, the one from Alice to Sydney is pretty grueling. It is a long drive non-stop, a whole day and 3 hours and it is strongly recommended that you take some breaks to stretch your legs and enjoy the scenery that you will definitely encounter on a driving trip like this. If you have a camper van then that is perfect as you can stop at the many parks that are on the drive between Alice Springs and Sydney and you can rest before you continue your journey to Sydney. When you arrive in Sydney, you’ll know when you enter the city that tourists have come to believe is the actual capital of Australia is much bigger and much more lively than Alice Springs.

Alice is a relatively small city compared to Sydney, it has a population of 24 thousand, of which two thousand are United States citizens due to the Pine Gap Space research and defence facility which employs most of them. Sydney itself has a lot to see and do and there are more tourist attractions to see, the most obvious ones being the Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera house. Alice Springs straddles the mostly dry Todd River and the surrounding area is known as the Red Centre due to the convergence of several different Australian deserts, making for a hot and arid climate. Sydney is by the sea and therefore enjoys a moist climate all year round.

People who have allergies should take note of this as the difference in climates is vast. This drive is beautiful and if you don’t mind the time or expense of travelling between the two places, you will surely appreciate the landscape you just experienced when you’re rolling into Sydney after the drive.

photo credit: Kata Tjuta, Northern Territory – 08 via photopin (license)

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