Many older houses in Alice Springs were built as government housing in the 1940s and 50s, so it's not unusual for several houses in the same street to have identical floor plans, décor and fittings.
Renovating or building a new home in Alice Springs can take a bit longer, due to transporting materials and special-order items across vast distances, and should be taken into consideration when calculating a move-in date.
There are many apartment complexes, town houses and share-homes around town that frequently become available for rent or purchase, due to the large proportion of transient workers. If you’re planning to move to Alice for work, consider a short-term rental as a temporary base to assist you in getting your bearings, and guide your decision towards where you’d like a permanent home.
Summer in Alice Springs is generally very hot with maximum temperatures frequently exceeding 35o Celsius for several days at a time. Very few homes and offices will have no air-conditioning installed.
Most homes will at least have a roof-top evaporative air-conditioning unit installed – locally known as a ‘swampy’, due to the high moisture content in air pushed through vents, via water-filled panels, by a large drum fan. Swampies are very effective in hot, dry weather and are generally cheaper to run than refrigerated, reverse-cycle air-conditioning. Where they tend to fail is in hot and very humid weather.
Newer reverse-cycle air-conditioning units are becoming more efficient and cost-effective, particularly when used in small-to-moderate sized spaces.
For at least three months of the year, night time temperatures in Alice can drop below 0o Celsius – even though winter days can be sunny and warm, sitting comfortably around 25o Celsius.
Winter wood fires are popular in older homes, but properly-serviced gas heaters are more environmentally-friendly with little or no carbon-emissions.
Local gas supply is almost exclusively liquid petroleum gas (LPG) and is supplied in gas-cylinders by local providers. Natural gas appliances will need to be modified to work with LPG.
Swimming pools and spas can be a blessing during the few, very hot summer months, but may sit unused for several months, either side of and including winter.
If renting, ensure you are clear about where the responsibility lies for pool chemicals, maintenance and excess water-usage. Council recommends using a quality pool/spa cover to reduce water-loss through evaporation.
The Northern Territory Government’s swimming pool and spa regulations can be found here.
Of course, there is always the 50m public pool at Council’s Aquatic & Leisure Centre, 10 Speed Street, in The Gap! Opening hours are 6am-7pm, Monday to Friday, and 9am ‘til 7pm weekends (closed Christmas Day and Good Friday only).