Perhaps the Australian equivalent to Africa's Timbuktu, Alice Springs is literally miles from anywhere: 1,000 miles due south of the province's largest city, Darwin, and the same distance north of Adelaide. Located in almost the exact centre of Australia, it also is the springboard to the famed Uluru (better known as Ayer's Rock), even though that is still a dusty 300 miles away to the southwest. Approximately 2,000 of its 25,000 inhabitants hold U.S. citizenship, due to the city being the site of the United States Air Force Detachment 421, part of a joint U.S.-Australian project called the Joint Geological and Geographical Research Station, so do not be surprised if you find July 4 being celebrated at some Alice Springs MICE venues.
Alice Springs Airport (ASP), eight miles south of the city centre, is very accessible, with flights to Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Darwin, Melbourne, Sydney, and Uluru, as well as to a couple of other smaller towns in the city's immediate region.
Chief among stand-alone MICE venues, Alice Springs Convention Centre has the MacDonnell Room for up to 1,200 persons and the Ellery Room for up to 560. MICE hotels in Alice Springs include the 240-room DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Alice Springs, which has a meeting room, a Grand Ballroom for up to 400 persons, and even a helipad that can host functions (presumably when helicopters are not trying to land or take off); the 139-room Chifley Alice Springs Resort, which has three meeting rooms for up to 150 persons; the 109-room Aurora Alice Springs, which has no specific meeting space but does have a large courtyard for events; the 81-room, upscale-but-motel-style Diplomat, which has a meeting room for up to 50 persons; and the 68-room Quest Alice Springs, which has one meeting room for up to 25 persons.
The area makes full use of its amazing scenery, unforgettable deserts, Aboriginal culture, and pioneer history to make unique events even more so. Choices include the Alice Springs Telegraph Station, which is the facility that began the modern rise of the city, still can send mail for you (a favourite souvenir here), and has lawns that can cater to tented events; Alice Springs Reptile Centre, which has numerous examples of Australia's very poisonous wildlife (probably the closest you'll want to get to the snakes, lizards, and other critters) and the Gecko Cave for up to 70 persons; dramatic, modern Araluen Cultural Centre, which has a 487-seat theatre, a cinema, and several galleries with event space and Aboriginal art; Earth Sanctuary World Nature Centre, which has the mission of portraying the entire history, ecology, and spirit of the Australian Outback and offers dinner under the stars, survival courses, and other group activities; and even golf at the Alice Springs Golf Club, which has an 18-hole course, a golf school, clubhouse, and the Range View Restaurant.
Restaurants in Alice Springs include The Juicy Rump, a steakhouse inside the large Lasseters hotel and casino complex next door to the convention centre; Overlanders, another steak house (they like steak here), this one with a very good wine cellar; Red Ochre Grill, which serves traditional and contemporary Australian dishes; Hanuman, which serves Asian fare from within the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Alice Springs; and Monte's, which is very relaxed, is sort of a pub, sort of a restaurant, and has a buzzing patio scene.