“I WORK AROUND 70 HOURS A WEEK AND I’VE ALMOST BEEN IN ALICE SPRINGS FOR A YEAR,” SAID ANNA*, WHO CURRENTLY WAS MOONLIGHTING AS OUR DRIVER INTO ALICE SPRINGS – WHEN ONLY AN HOUR PRIOR SHE WAS GREETING US AT HOTEL RECEPTION.
“I’ve come up from South Australia to work in the Centre. As awful as it sounds, I have yet to get to Uluru. It is on my list while I’m here.”
Anna was only one type of traveller working at Lasseters Hotel and Casino, and as an Australian she was doing her part for the local tourism industry. The other type was the international backpacker. Sophie* from France was our second driver and she happily chatted away about her love for the Centre and how she was sad to be returning home next week.
“But, I will be back. I want my whole family to see the beauty of this country,” said Sophie.
While the distance from Lasseters into the town of Alice Springs is easily walkable (or rideable on the free-to-hire mountain bikes), the complimentary car shuttle service is worth the drive just to talk with the ‘locals’ and find out about their Alice story. Of course, they are just as interested in what brought you all the way to the Red Centre.
“I thought I should see my own country before I get too old,” was my honest response. “We’re off on a three day tour tomorrow so we will only be at Lasseters for one night.”
As my mum had decided to come along with me, I’d ditched my usual hostel booking for an actual hotel. Even if it was for less than 24 hours it felt nice to receive real hospitality from staff, as opposed to the usual hungover grunt. Plus there was the added bonus of a large pool, a clean large pool I should say. Which was very welcoming after a morning of flights, especially when the stunning MacDonell Rangers was the pool side view!
So staying in an actual hotel for a layover definitely had its perks; non-hungover staff, a swimmable pool and, of course, fine dining. If you are going to head out into the desert for three days, treating yourself to a three course meal and beautiful Australian wine should be a prerequisite. The Australian-Asian flavours of Lasseters’ à la carte restaurant, Tali (meaning sand-dunes in the Pitjantjatjara language of Central Australia), is definitely worth the money.
Once that stomach is full there is a comfortable bed waiting for you. A double bed, not a bunk. And trust me you will need it – there is a 4am wakeup call after all.
93 Barrett Drive