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East MacDonnell Ranges

The East MacDonnell Ranges could be considered the 'hidden gems' of Central Australia, it is commonly referred to as the East Macs and very much the other half of the popular West MacDonnell Ranges. Much of the East MacDonnell Ranges depicts the Eastern Arrernte Aboriginal Yeperenye Dreaming.

Popular spots to visit include Emily and Jessie Gaps, Corroboree Rock, Trephina Gorge, N'Dhala Gorge and Ruby Gap. The East Macs are not all about natural history, the Binns Track wriggles through the ranges to the ghost town of Arltunga, the site of a gold rush in the 1930s.

Accommodation      |     Dining

 

Things to do in the East Macs

The East MacDonnell Ranges offer some great experiences, there are a plethora of activities to enjoy. Walking trails through the nature parks, a swimming hole, the resort and camping offer tourists relaxation and some quality time in nature. There is plenty of culture available too: history, rock art and birdwatching.

Within the East Macs there are several nature parks you can spend days exploring on your outback journey. The Emily and Jessie Gaps Nature Park, Ruby Gap Nature Park and Trephina Gorge Nature Park offer several nice walking trails and swimming holes to cool off at (after rainy days), after the hiking is done.

Trephina Gorge 2

Trephina Gorge

Emily Gap entrance

Emily Gap entrance

Emily Gap entrance

John Hayes Rockhole - Trephina Gorge Nature Park (We Are Explorers/Renae Saxby)

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Accommodation in the East MacDonnell Ranges

There are two homesteads which travelers can stay at in the East MacDonnell Ranges. The Hale River Homestead (CLOSED FOR 2022) and Ross River Resort offer limited accommodation for adventure enthusiasts seeking to spend several days hiking through the local national parks.

Camping at Trephina Gorge Nature Park is also possible and offers up some great starry views. Ruby Gap has space for camping with no facilities along the river between the park entrance and the gap. N'Dhala Gorge has a small and simple bush camping area at the entrance to the Park. Campsites are bookable online here, and no longer payable onsite ($4/adult, $2/child).

Ross River Resort

Ross River Resort

Trephina Gorge campsite Apollo

Apollo motorhome at Trephina Gorge Campsite

Trephina Gorge Camping Renae Saxby

Camping at Trephina Gorge Campground

East MacDonnell Ranges Dining

Within the East MacDonnell Ranges, there lies two homesteads which travelers may eat at. Ross River Resort offers both dining options and alcoholic beverages. This resort requires some notice before meals are prepared. The Hale River Homestead also provides a menu of different cuisine which can sustain the weary traveler after a day of hiking (CLOSED FOR 2022).

East Macs FAQ

The East Macs are full of gorgeous natural attractions for visitors to enjoy including:
- Emily and Jessie Gaps
- Corroborree Rock
- Trephine Gorge
- N'Dhala Gorge
- Arltunga
- Ruby Gap

You can enjoy an array of walking tracks, a cycle path, camping, swimming, fossicking, and birdwatching.
The East MacDonnell Ranges sit to the east of Alice Springs. Just south past "the Gap" is the turnoff onto Ross Highway which takes you along the East Macs to all the natural attractions.
Within Trephina Gorge Nature Park, there is a Rockhole named John Hayes where swimming is possible. It is best to do so after recent rainfall, however this can be unpredictable, and therefore swimming isn't necessarily guaranteed.
YES! There is heaps of rockart that visitors can see throughout the East Macs.
At Emily Gap you can see a Caterpillar Dreaming story displayed in rock art.
At N'Dhala Gorge you can find one of the largest collections of petroglyphs (rock art) in the region.

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