Alice draws short straw in Melbourne promotion


Alice Springs is rating scarcely a mention in a breathless media handout about a promotion in Melbourne’s Federation Square, starting today, April 1, from Tourism Minister and Chief Minister Adam Giles.
The centerpiece, notwithstanding the Territory’s endemic alcohol problems, is a pub: “The Outback Watering Hole is the perfect place to wet your whistle with a range of ice cold beer, wines and even some local NT Mango ice cream, all the way from Darwin,” says the Tourism NT blurb.
Alcohol is by far the most frequent cause of the sustained and endemic crime rate here which has led to a drop in tourism.
Says Mr Giles: “Visitors will get a feel for what a holiday in the Northern Territory is like with [virtual reality headsets] to take viewers on a journey through the NT’s spectacular scenery at Kakadu and Katherine.”
An outdoor giant digital billboard will promote Jetstar sale fares to Uluru and Darwin, says Mr Giles.
The event will also promote Season 2 of the Million Dollar Fish competition which includes a barramundi fishing adventure in the Top End.
Tourism Central Australia, the industry lobby in The Centre, does its best to look at the bright side of the event.
“Local Alice Springs musicians Andrew Langford and Dave Crowe will be performing tonight at Federation Square,” says CEO Stephen Schwer.
Both Mr Langford and Mr Crowe are non-Indigenous people playing the didgeridoo, a Top End Indigenous instrument.
Mr Schwer says they will be “adding to the amazing list of local talents. They will also chatting with the crowds at Federation Square over the next few days promoting Alice Springs and the Red Centre and all the attractions and experiences that make this region the magical heart of Australia.
“Alice Springs tourism businesses Outback Ballooning, Alice Springs Reptile Centre and The Rock Tour are also attending the event to promote Alice Springs and the Red Centre.
“Rex from the Alice Springs Reptile Centre has taken along Blossom the Bearded Dragon and Olive the Python which have already been a huge hit with the crowds today at Federation Square.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to share with the Melbourne crowds why Alice Springs and the Red Centre is a must visit destination for all Australians and overseas visitors.”
Participants are: Central Australia: Intrepid Travel / Adventure Tours, Outback Ballooning, The Rock Tour, Wayoutback Australian Safaris, Voyages Ayers Rock Resort, Alice Springs Reptile Centre.
Top End: Chillis Backpackers / Youth Shack, Crocosaurus Cove & Melaleuca on Mitchell, SeaLink NT, Kimberley Adventure Tours, Territory Expeditions.
Tony Mayell, CEO Tourism NT, says the inaugural ‘Backpack the Outback’ roadshow runs from 31 March to 8 April.
“The estimated cost for the seven day roadshow occurring in Melbourne, Sydney and Byron Bay, which includes the Outback Pub setup at Federation Square, including musicians Dave Crowe and Aaron Langford (Alice Springs) and At the Dakota (Top End) performing at the display, associated promotion is $220,000.”


  1. Yes. Come to the Northern Territory and see how we mismanage alcohol related harm to our most vulnerable residents.
    At the same time we not only pay for the security costs for those that sell alcohol, we also have a stupid government that promotes us as an alcohol destination “the watering hole”. What a pity the truth doesn’t prevail here, pictures of the children that are raped by drunks, smashed business windows, facial injuries and victims of AFS should be held up to the general public in Melbourne, under the slogan “the Giles government knows all about this and still sits on its arse”.
    But wait, it gets better. Now the CLP are striking a deal with the Federal government so that Federal government funding does not need to be tied to health – untied funding for health – no Federal audits or accounting any more on the delivery of health services.
    Looks like more holes with concrete pours are going to get covered up again real soon AND THAT’S NOT THE ONLY THING THAT WILL BE COVERED UP. We have been abandoned by the Feds.
    Braedon Earley
    President, 1 Territory Party

  2. I think we should recognise that antisocial behaviours associated with alcohol are not uniquely NT problems.
    People will have read about lockouts in night club districts in Kings Cross and other night spots around the nation.
    But if a night club area wanted to promote itself as a destination they would probably focus on a club and a group of people having a drink.
    If @1 wants to represent an NT electorate by all means criticise the Government but please find something positive to say about the Territory.

  3. Typical though, the NT Government and tourism industry promotes the booze culture of the NT, despite the associated social issues and crime across the NT.
    Should have done some recruitment as well for bottle shop cops. The NT Government and the tourism industry want to have their cake and eat it too.

  4. A few of the above comments I feel in no way reflect the real intent of the great Tourism NT promo in Federation Square.
    The NT is rightly perceived as an outback frontier destination and the connect of the “watering hole” promoting the NT as an alcohol destination is wrong.
    If you asked the many Melbournians and indeed Victorians who experienced just a glimpse of what the Territory has to offer at Federation Square, not one would have said “I’m heading to the NT because it is the alcohol destination of Australia”.
    The NT has what all other destinations would like, it is raw, it can be as rough as you want it to be, it’s got romance and in essence, its the real Australia.

  5. All those people coming to Darwin etc to drink should “piss off” back to their own communities, Melbourne, Sydney etc.

  6. Just like the hundreds of Melbourne kids who saw the NT tourism advertisement in Federation Square over the weekend, I was far more interested in looking at the two stuffed camels than in making a moral judgment about any perceived message of a grog culture that it portrays.
    This was in the same Federation Square where a few Saturday nights earlier I witnessed ugly running battles between gangs of drunken and drug affected youths wielding weapons from the eastern suburbs attacking beleaguered, outnumbered police. Just like the poor old camels in the traveling NT tourism road show, Australian society in every state and territory, not just in the NT is now well and truly stuffed with a growing culture of grog, drugs and violence with weapons.
    Alice today is simply a reflection of Federation Square, multiplied a hundred times around the country on any given Saturday night. Just ask the poor old cops who have to handle it all. They are well and truly stuffed, too!

  7. For all those that were more interested in the stuffed camels than the perceived message that some found in an event that is attempting and seems to be achieving success in attracting visitors to all parts of the Northern Territory.
    Good on ya keep it up.
    It is a great example of good promotion for Alice Springs camel cup and the camel industry in Central Australia as a whole.
    For if you look a little closer you will see the camels are not poor they are very well cared for and obviously well trained And having been along to support the Alice camel cup I think both those camels have been racing in the local event.
    So no poor stuffed camels were used to make this add I believe.
    So please, all come along and support local events and see the difference between what is stuffed and what is not.

  8. In making astute observations about living healthy camels from the Alice, Spot has obviously spotted something that escaped my eagle eye.
    The two camels that I spotted near the pub door and the Slim Dusty chap with the Chad Morgan hat looked pretty stuffed to me.
    Mind you, last Saturday morning as I made my way past the ad to gather at the meeting place for the March of the Bomber 10,000 to the G, I spotted another two rather healthy, good looking young girl camels with long eyelashes standing with their Victorian camel owners close to the footpath near the tram stop on Swanston Street Bridge. They wore Victorian royal blue saddle cloths with the name of a Melbourne Camel Riding School emblazoned on them, and a mobile phone number in large gold lettering.
    As a matter of fact, I think the older of the two girl camels, the one with the extra long eyelashes, rather liked what she saw when I walked past.
    Perhaps it was my red and black Bomber scarf with the tasty aroma of the egg and sauce stain of a Maccas breakfast burger I had dropped on it earlier at the Maccas outlet next to Young and Jacksons.
    I am waiting for the day when one of the albino camels that Dougy Abbott and the lads have rounded up over the years is paraded in Federation Square. That will cause a riot!


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