Araluen Cultural Precinct
The Araluen Cultural Precinct is home to a diverse range of art and cultural exhibits. See the work of the great Albert Namatjira at the Araluen Arts Centre and enter the Caterpillar Dreaming inside the huge Yeperenye sculpture. Learn about the region’s history at the Museum of Central Australia and the Central Australian Aviation Museum.
The Albert Namatjira Gallery should be one of your first stops. The famous indigenous artist from nearby Hermannsburg had a talent for capturing the unique light and colours of Central Australia and particularly the MacDonnell Ranges in his watercolours. Namatjira was the first indigenous artist to exhibit works in a Western style. Though he received tutelage from artist Rex Battarbee, he was largely self-taught. Works from the Hermannsburg School of Painting, founded by Namatjira, are also displayed in the gallery, as well as Papunya paintings from the Western Desert.
Meet Sarchosuchus, a 12-metre (40-foot) long prehistoric crocodile in the Museum of Central Australia. Interpretive panels give you an insight into the formation of the incredible geology you will see in the Central Australian outback. In the museum’s Strehlow Research Centre you’ll see incredible archival footage and recordings of Indigenous Australian ceremonies.
Go to the Central Australian Aviation Museum to learn about the early aviators delivering mail and supplies to Alice Springs and to see the planes used for the Royal Flying Doctor Service. The wreckage of the Kookaburra plane tells the sad tale of two aviators who flew out in search of explorer Charles Kingsford Smith and crashed.
Purchase unique souvenirs at Central Craft, a gallery and studio that displays and sells local ceramics, woodwork, painting, jewellery and textile arts.
The Araluen Cultural Centre is located off Larapinta Drive just south of Alice Springs. The admission cost allows you entry into all the museums, galleries and studios within the complex. The centre is open every day, with shorter hours on the weekends.