To The West

The stunning scenery of the Western Macs (Western MacDonnell Ranges) Western Macs (Western MacDonnell Ranges) is Namatjira country. Aboriginal artist Albert Namatjira was born in Hermannsburg in 1902. Namatjira's watercolours were influenced by the colours of the majestic Macs. Cool scenic gorges are important refuges for a collection of plants and animals, many of which are found only here and some are relicts of a bygone era of tropical forests. Features of the landscape are significant in the stories of Western Arrernte Aboriginal culture, and have existed for many thousands of years. This is must see country!

Larapinta TrailLarapinta Trail
The Larapinta Trail is an exciting long distance walking track through the spectacular West MacDonnell National Park, in the heart of central Australia.

The Trail runs over 223 kilometres along the backbone of the West MacDonnell Ranges from Alice Springs west to Mt Sonder. It is divided into twelve sections.

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Flynns GraveFlynn's Grave
Located 7 Kms from Alice Springs, this tiny Reserve is the resting place for the ashes of the Reverend John Flynn, founder of the Flying Doctor Service and the Australian Inland Mission. The grave is on a low hill at the foot of the MacDonnell ranges with a sign detailing some of his achievements.

Simpsons GapSimpsons Gap
Located 23 kms from Alice Springs in the West MacDonnell National Park, the site incorporates a number of scenic gaps, including Simpsons Gap, one of the most prominent gaps in the West MacDonnell Ranges. It is renowned as a place with excellent opportunities to see Black-footed Rock-wallabies along short walks into the Gap at dawn or dusk.

Standley ChasmStandley Chasm
Located 50 kms by sealed road from Alice Springs, Standley Chasm has been gouged into tough sandstone by floods, over untold millions of years. The result is a deep red cleft crowded on either side by craggy slopes that rise 80 metres above the floor.

An inspiration regardless of either the weather or the time of day, the chasm is at it's most dramatic an hour either side of noon on a sunny day. Then the sheer walls glow from reflected sunlight to create a breathtaking display of stark form and rich colour.

Ellery Creek Big Hole Nature ParkEllery Creek Big Hole Nature Park
93 kms from Alice Springs. High red cliffs, a large waterhole, and a sandy creek fringed by River Red Gums make this Park one of the region's most popular swimming and picnic areas.

Ochre PitsOchre Pits
110 kms from Alice Springs. This site has been used for generations by Aboriginal people as a mine for ochre. This mineral occurs in a range of earthy colours and is the raw material for paintings and ceremonial body decoration.

Ormiston Gorge and Pound Nature ParkOrmiston Gorge and Pound Nature Park
132 kms from Alice Springs. Ormiston Gorge is one of the many spectacular features of the MacDonnell Ranges. In summer, its deep waterhole is a welcome relief from the heat, and in cooler times the walking tracks through scenic Ormiston Pound are popular with visitors.

There is a small general campground for tents, campervans, and caravans and a larger campground for big groups and coach tours. Drinking water supplies are unreliable, so bring plenty of water with you.

Glen Helen Gorge Nature ParkGlen Helen Gorge Nature Park
133 kms from Alice Springs. Here the sandy bed of the mighty Finke River squeezes between sandstone walls at the start of its journey to the Simpson Desert. Most visitors take a 20 minute stroll down the riverbed to the Gorge and many will enjoy a swim there. This semi-permanent waterhole is important to the survival of the area's small fish. Camping isn't allowed in the Park, but accommodation, water, camping and picnic facilities are available at nearby Glen Helen Lodge.

Redbank Nature ParkRedbank Nature Park
161 kms from Alice Springs. Deep icy waters block this narrow cleft in the range. You can best enjoy the eerie stillness and pastel colours of the flood smoothed rock walls floating through the gorge on an air mattress. Ghost gums on steep slopes along the creek contrast with the shrubland and spinifex around the carpark. The gorge is a 25 minute walk from the carpark. Photo courtesy - Tourism NT.

Tylers Pass & Tnorala (Gosse Bluff)Tylers Pass & Tnorala (Gosse Bluff)
A place to stop for spectacular views of Tnorala / Gosse Bluff. 142 million years ago, a huge comet struck Central Australia (175 West of Alice Springs) leaving one of the largest impact structures in the world, measuring roughly 25 kilometres in diameter. The site is best appreciated when viewed from the air, but a a good vista is still afforded from Tyler's Pass. Much of the crater has been eroded away with the original bed of the crater now two kilometres below the surface.

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Located 124 km south-west of Alice Springs. The Hermannsburg Mission is the most famous of all of the religious missions to Aborigines. It was established in 1877 when two Lutheran missionaries from Germany made an overland trek from Bethany in the Barossa Valley region of South Australia bringing with them livestock and equipment to set up a permanent mission. Hermannsburg is also the birthplace of famous artist Albert Namatjira. where a faithfully restored 1870s Lutheran mission, showcases Namatjira's and other local artists' work. Photo courtesy - Tourism NT.

Finke Gorge National ParkFinke Gorge National Park
138 km west of Alice Springs. Finke Gorge National Park covers an area of 46,000 hectares including the impressive Palm Valley. Palm Valley is home to a diverse range of plant species, many of which are rare and unique to the area, including the Red Cabbage Palm. The Park and nearby areas hold cultural significance to the Western Arrernte Aboriginal people evidence of early European settlement of Central Australia. 4x4 access only.

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Wallace RockholeWallace Rockhole
117 kms west of Alice Springs. Wallace Rockhole is a small Aranda Aboriginal township located on the edge of the James Ranges and includes a natural drinking waterhole in the foothills of the Ranges. Rock ledges by the waterhole feature Aboriginal rock art belonging to a graphic tradition widespread in Australia.

Accommodation and Tours
Wallace Rockhole Aboriginal Cultural Rock Art Tour and Accommodation

Information provided courtesy of the Department of Natural Resources, Environment and the Arts.

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