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Ochre Pits

West MacDonnell Ranges National Parks and Reserves

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Details

Head out into the West MacDonnells to see the vivid colours of the mineral ochre pits, which have been mined for generations by the local Aboriginal people. Located 110km west of Alice Springs, the Ochre Pits is a colourful outcrop of ochre walls on the banks of a sandy creek.

Description

This Ochre Pit is highly regarded as being one of the best quality in the country. The ochre here is noted to have a particularly silken texture and glimmer, due to the presence of Mica and Heavitree Quartzite.

It is a culturally active site so, visitors are advised not to touch, use or remove the ochre. Interference with the ochre can result in heavy fines.

An information shelter at the site provides information about how, why and when the Ochre Pits were used. Ochre occurs in a range of earthy colours ranging from white through to yellow, orange, red and browns. It is an important part of Aboriginal culture and is used in everyday and ceremonial life. It is the raw material for paintings and ceremonial body decoration. Weapons were painted with ochre to increase the success of hunting and to protect the wooden weapons from termites. Red ochre was mixed into an ointment to relieve decongestion and white ochre used as a magical charm.

After browsing this historic site, sit down in the scenic surrounds and enjoy a barbecue lunch.

Facilities

  • Barbeque

Map & Directions

Namatjira Drive, Alice Springs, Northern Territory 0870 Australia

Phone 08 8951 8250

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