Moving to Alice Springs From Adelaide City: Living Interstate in Australia

In October of last year (2016), my partner Russell and I began our next adventure: moving to Alice Springs from Adelaide, on an 8 month work contract. The whole move happened in less than two months, from the day we were given the offer, to the day we arrived in Alice Springs!

I was excited for the experience, even though neither of us knew what to expect. Everything we had heard about Alice Springs, wasn’t enough to prepare us. Since we were going to be gone for almost a year, we had to pack up our lives in Adelaide, and ship it to our new home in the Centre of Australia. The company we work for, organised removalists to pack up our belongings, load them into a shipping container, and transport them to Alice Springs! It was quite the ordeal. But the best part was, we didn’t have to pack it all onto a truck ourselves, it was done for us!

MOVING TO ALICE SPRINGS FROM ADELAIDE CITY

The day we arrived in Alice Springs, we were pretty impressed by the scenery and huge ranges all around us. If you’ve never experienced Outback Australia before, you’ll be quite amazed at what you see. The ranges are spectacular, and there are an abundance of photograph opportunities! It almost doesn’t matter where in Alice Springs you are, you’re always guaranteed a pretty great view.

Moving to Alice Springs From Adelaide City: Living Interstate in Australia

We arrived from Adelaide, to Alice Springs airport early on a Friday afternoon. 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, incase I haven’t already mentioned this, my partner and I have a cat. Her name is Hermione (yes, that Hermione), and she is very well traveled! She’s been almost everywhere with us this year, except Japan! (more on Japan here).

Since we didn’t start work until the Monday, we settled into our accomodation (a sort of self-contained one bedroom apartment), made sure Hermione was relaxed enough, and went out to explore a little! We didn’t go far the day we arrived, but we did manage to drive through almost every suburb within Alice Springs!

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

We drove a bit further the next day. Around 25 minutes west out of the main town, is Simpsons Gap. It’s essentially just a gap in the MacDonnell Ranges, but it’s pretty cool to see. During the wet season, the waterhole fills up, and it can be quite beautiful. If you’re keen on seeing some Australian wildlife, Simpsons Gap is also home to the rock-wallaby. You’ll see tons of them hopping around, if you look close enough!

Moving to Alice Springs From Adelaide City: Living Interstate in Australia Moving to Alice Springs From Adelaide City: Living Interstate in Australia Moving to Alice Springs From Adelaide City: Living Interstate in Australia

We ended up having to stay in our temporary accomodation for 5 weeks, because it took quite a while to lock down a rental property. Scroll to the bottom for tips if you’re moving to Alice Springs.

OUR TIME IN ALICE SPRINGS

I have mixed emotions about our time living in Alice Springs. On the one hand, it can be a very relaxing and chilled place to live. Majority of the people in town are tourists and backpackers. So there is a very chilled vibe, with everyone in their own little holiday worlds. This is great – if you’re traveling! Since Russell and I were living in Alice Springs to work (in a customer service type role), it was a very fast paced lifestyle for us. Work was super stressful and busy at times, which made it difficult to enjoy the relaxing aspect of Alice Springs.

Moving to Alice Springs From Adelaide City: Living Interstate in Australia

We lived and worked in Alice for 4 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 (our cat, incase you forgot!) came with us to Adelaide, but spent the month living with my mum! I hadn’t been away from her for that long before, so it was a very distressing time for us both (actually, if I’m being honest, probably just distressing for me. I’m the crazy cat lady). One month later, our flight from Japan flew into Adelaide, then the next day we were on yet another plane back to Alice Springs.

We only had 2 months to endure in the Outback, before returning home to Adelaide for good! This flew by, especially given the fact it was leading up to one of work’s busiest times in the year. The days quickly turned into weeks, and eventually we were home! We have been home in Adelaide for exactly a week now. We’ve found (and are living!) in our own home, start back at work next week, and are enjoying being home very much!

What I liked about living in Alice Springs:

  • The scenery and endless amounts of beautiful lookout spots
  • Wildlife friends – we had multiple kangaroo visitors outside our house!
  • Being close to everything – it took less than 5 minutes to drive to town (where we worked) from our house!
  • The lack of traffic
  • The relaxed vibe is good on days off work!

Difficulties we faced moving to and living in Alice Springs:

  • Not having our belongings for the first 5 weeks we were living in Alice Springs was pretty hard. Living out 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 we couldn’t really purchase new appliances either.
  • Having to repurchase all of the kitchen staples, plus toilet paper and an entire cupboard of food ended up being pretty expensive. It’s not something that we really thought about before moving, so it sucked having to spend so much money re-buying perishables and other must-have items.
  • The fact that there’s not a whole lot to see and do can sometimes be a bit disappointing. But we were usually happy to just stay at home on our days off and relax. When the weather got less awful, we rode our bikes through town a few times and admired all the ranges.
  • Getting used to all the tourists can take a while. I found it so strange at first, seeing so many travelers come through town. But the longer we lived in Alice Springs, the more we realised that it was in fact, a super popular tourist town! With Uluru being a 4 hour drive away, Alice is the perfect town to camp in for a couple days, stock up on supplies and have a rest from driving!

HOW IS ALICE SPRINGS DIFFERENT TO ADELAIDE?

There are so many differences between Adelaide and Alice Springs. To start with, Adelaide has a ton more things to see and do. That’s probably something I didn’t even need to tell you. Sure, Alice Springs is a very beautiful and impressive place to visit. But if you’re looking for actual activities, tall buildings and the ocean, you’ll struggle finding them in the outback.

The people who live in and visit Alice Springs, seem super relaxed and have a very ‘carefree’ vibe about them. There are also a ton of events that happen throughout the year. I was surprised at this. Coming from Adelaide, which I thought had a lot of annual events and month long festivals. Alice Springs seems to always have something going on! From concerts to football games, music festivals to Australia’s biggest desert race (Finke), there’s never really a dull moment.

Moving to Alice Springs From Adelaide City: Living Interstate in Australia

I am glad to be back in Adelaide though. Moving interstate, to such a different and remote place, really makes you appreciate home. No matter where you consider home to be (the place you were born, 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.

WOULD I MOVE BACK OR VISIT AGAIN?

To be honest, I wouldn’t move back to Alice Springs again. It’s a beautiful place, with great people and a wonderful relaxed vibe, but I couldn’t live there again. Maybe it’s the fact that work was always busy, or that we missed our friends and family, but being there semi-permanently wasn’t something either of us enjoyed.

As for visiting again – we definitely plan to! Russell and I both want to visit Alice Springs again one day, probably on our way to Uluru! It’ll be nice experiencing the town in a relaxed way once more.
I know there are a ton of people who live in Alice Springs and enjoy it a lot, they’d never return to city life. But if we were to visit again, it would only be temporarily!

Things you should know if you’re moving to Alice Springs:

  • Rental properties are expensive – everything when it comes to living independently is expensive up there (electricity, general bills, car maintenance). This is obviously because Alice Springs is dead centre of Australia. There aren’t any distributors for most things, it takes longer and costs more for products to be transported. Prices are higher, essentially because they can be. The options are limited, so companies make the most of that and mark up their prices.
  • It is pretty easy to find a job – Surprisingly (or maybe not too surprising) jobs are easy to come by in Alice Springs. Since it’s very much a temporary place to live (and visit), there are people applying for temporary jobs, working for extra money, then continuing on with their travels. If businesses are looking for a permanent employee, you’ll have a good shot at getting the gig, especially if you plan on staying in town for a while.
  • The liquor laws are very different – There are a ton of restrictions when it comes to buying takeaway alcohol in Alice Springs. Liquor stores in town open at 2pm and close at 9pm during the week, and open at 10am on Saturdays. Most liquor stores are closed on Sundays. Cask wine is unavailable and fortified wine is only sold after 6pm. Oh yeah, and if you’re of drinking age and want to purchase alcohol, bring some form of photo ID, otherwise you won’t be able to buy!
  • The weather can be intense – Especially during summer. Alice Springs in summer can be described as nothing short of horrible (but that’s just because I’m a sook when it’s super hot). If you love the sun and love spending time outdoors, you’ll love Alice Springs. Always wear sunscreen and take a bottle of water with you everywhere. Even if you enjoy the heat, the sun can still do damage to your skin, and it’s very easy to become dehydrated.
  • It’s a beautiful place – Like I’ve constantly mentioned, Alice Springs really is an impressive and beautiful place. There is so much wildlife, a ton of awesome Ranges and (during summer when it rains more frequently) there can even be a ton of greenery!

Moving to Alice Springs From Adelaide City: Living Interstate in Australia

Why I’m happy to be back in Adelaide again:

  • Being in a familiar place again
  • Being close to family and friends
  • The abundance of things to see and do!
  • The ocean is a mere 30 minute drive away (bit better than 16 hours from Alice Springs!)
  • So many more shopping options (not that I shop for myself, but it’s nice having more than one choice incase I decide to buy myself some new socks or something).
  • The houses are much cheaper to rent (electricity and gas rates are also lower)
  • It’s not as hot during summer!

Like I’ve mentioned many times in this post, Alice Springs and Adelaide are very different places. I’ve been lucky to call them both home, and although I wouldn’t ever live in Alice Springs again, I’m definitely excited to go back and visit one day.

Moving to Alice Springs From Adelaide City: Living Interstate in Australia

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

MORE ABOUT AUSTRALIA:

  1. Australia Travel Tips: 10 Reasons why you Should Visit + 10 Things you Should Know
  2. Australian Winter Travel Essentials: 5 Must Pack Items for your Stay!

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33 Comments on "Moving to Alice Springs From Adelaide City: Living Interstate in Australia"

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Kelly
Guest

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!!

Catherine
Guest

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!

Erika @LatinAtlas
Guest

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. 🙂

Alyse - The Invisible Tourist
Guest

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!

Tanvi Nadkarni
Guest

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!

Josie
Guest

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!

Flo
Guest

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 🙂

Alyssa J
Guest

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!

Christie
Guest

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 🙂

Alice
Guest

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!

Christina Pfeiffer
Guest

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!).

Cherene Saradar
Guest

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!

Dawn
Guest

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.

Gokul Raj
Guest

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

Rhonda Albom
Guest

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.

Barb
Guest

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.

Shruti Prabhu
Guest

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.

Mike Cotton
Guest

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.

Jenna
Guest

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!

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