I finally made the trip to Central Australia – and it exceeds expectations

Alice Springs is surprisingly lively despite its remoteness and the absence of international tourists. My travel companion and I got into the DoubleTree by Hilton in a rental SUV (which you’ll definitely need unless you want to get on a tourist bus).

The main draw to staying at the DoubleTree, next to the proximity to the city center, is Hanuman, the hotel’s fantastic restaurant run by restaurateur / chef Jimmy Shu, who was walking around the floor, lovely patrons on the evenings when I had dinner there (the madras goat curry was unreal).

Alice is not known to be a foodie destination but, in addition to Hanuman, there is some great food to be found. Confucius Palace Dumpling, a place right next to the mall, had excellent fried dumplings, a crushed cucumber salad as good as any I’ve had, and wonton soup that I looked at jealously on the next table. For brunch and coffee, the Page 27 Cafe serves Little Marionette coffee and an impressive menu of modern cafe dishes filled with fresh ingredients.

DoubleTree by Hilton – 82 Barrett Drive, Alice Springs
Best for Lunch: Confucius Palace Dumpling – 10/63 Todd Street, Alice Springs
Best for Lunch / Coffee: The Goods Cafe – 13/11 Todd St Mall, Alice Springs
Best for Lunch / Coffee: Duyu Coffee Roasters – 10 Hele Crescent, Alice Springs
Best for Dinner: Hanuman – 82 Barrett Drive, Alice Springs
Best for dinner: Simply Korean Restaurant – Simply Korean Restaurant, 41 Gap Road, Alice Springs
Great for Breakfast / Brunch: Page 27 Cafe – 3 Fan Arcade, Alice Springs

Creations woven in Tjanpi, Tourism NT / Felix Baker

There are artist spaces and galleries in small communities and remote areas, but in central Alice you can find tremendous collections of works by indigenous artists from all over the central desert, from famous paintings to peas from the region for weaving, pottery and wood. sculptures.

Some of the best places in Alice Springs to view, buy, or explore art include the Papunya Tula Gallery, which showcases works from the world-renowned artist cooperative Papunya Tula. It is wholly owned and run by the traditional indigenous peoples of the Western Desert.

Jila Arts sells works which, in part, are created in the gallery-funded studio where you can find First Nations artists like Clarise Tunkin, Judy Watson Napangardi and the husband-wife painting team Damien and Yilpi Marks who combine their individual dream stories in each collaborative piece.

At the Iltja Ntjarra (“many hands”) art center owned and run by aborigines, you can buy works, meet artists and watch them practice their art. Much of the Center focuses on Hermannsburg School-style watercolorists, who paint in the tradition of their grandfather and parent, the legendary Albert Namatjira.

If craftsmanship is more your thing, Tjanpi Desert Weavers is a non-profit Indigenous social enterprise of the Women’s Council of Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (NPY) with a gallery in Alice Springs where you can find Tjanpi baskets, sculptures, jewelry and more. .

The experience of listening to artists and gallery owners talk about their stories expressed through patterns, shapes and colors – while you are there, instead of their history and their home …

Iltja Ntjarra “Many Hands” Art Center – 29 Wilkinson St, Alice Springs
Mbantua Gallery – 64 Todd Mall, Alice Springs
Papunya Tula – 63 Todd Mall, Alice Springs
Jila Arts – 75 Todd Mall, Alice Springs
Tjanpi Desert Weavers – 3 Wilkinson St, Alice Springs

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