Rainbow Valley Conservation Reserve

South of Alice Springs Camping

Need some help?

Click Here


Marvel at the ancient landscape of the aptly named Rainbow Valley and admire the exposed bands of coloured rock in the sandstone bluffs and cliffs. These are most impressive in the soft light of the morning or at sunset when the sandstone bands ablaze with colour, changing from ochre yellow to orange, red and purple.



These free standing cliffs form part of the James Range and are a favourite subject for photographers, who capture their varied shapes and colours. After heavy rain the magnificent clay pan fill with water, capturing unbelievable reflections in the pools.

The reserve is on the traditional lands of the Southern Arrernte people and is known to them as Wurre. The reserve is rich in ancient petroglyphs (rock engravings) and rock paintings, as well as grinding stones and stone tool chips, all of which evidence the ancient connection of these people to the area.

Weathering and erosion are responsible for the valley shape, where sandstone blocks have been eroded into rock faces and squared towers. The dark red capping on the sandstone formations is hard and weathers slowly, whereas the softer white sandstone below, erodes quickly into loose sand.

Make sure you visit Mushroom Rock, an interesting sandstone formation, which has been carved by wind and rain over millions of years. The short walk around the claypan is well worth it as well, especially in wildflower season.


  • Public Toilets
  • Picnic Tables
  • Gas Barbeque
  • Campsites
  • Walking Tracks
  • Fire Pits (no firewood collection inside the park)
  • Interpretive signs

Map & Directions

97 kilometres south of Alice Springs, Alice Springs, Northern Territory 0870 Australia


The turnoff to the reserve is 75km south of Alice Springs along the Stuart Highway. The reserve is a further 22km on an unsealed access road. It's recommended for four wheel drive (4WD) vehicles.


Phone 8951 8250


Sign up to receive the latest news, deals and travel information about the Northern Territory.

Choose to book with the Red Centre’s local experts

Need a hand choosing or booking your red centre adventure?