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The East and West MacDonnell Ranges stretch out for hundreds of kilometres on both sides of Alice Springs. The Arrernte people, believe giant caterpillars called the Yeperenye became the ranges - they entered this world through one of the dramatic gaps in the escarpments.

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The MacDonnell Ranges are rich in cultural and an adventure playground with hiking trails, four-wheel drive tracks, swimming holes, and camping spots but they differ in subtle ways – the East MacDonnell’s have more rock art but less permanent water, more history but fewer people.

Much of the East MacDonnell Ranges depict the Eastern Arrernte Aboriginal Yeperenye Dreaming. At Emily and Jessie Gaps you will see rock art, red ochre and white lime paintings, as well as flocks of native budgerigars drinking from waterholes. Figs hug gorge walls, bloodwoods hang with bush coconuts and bush passionfruit grow from the sand. You will think this land is unyielding but you will be pleasantly surprised. The 300-year old ghost gum at Trephina Gorge is one of the finest natural features in the region. Trephina Gorge hosts five walking trails that showcase the sheer quartz cliffs, rivers and creeks. From the shades of N'Dhala Gorge over 6,000 prehistoric rock carvings, art and shelter sites, and rare plants will be revealed.

ochrepits

The East MacDonnell Ranges aren’t 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 1930’s. There are a few accommodation choices in the region, Ross River Resort built on the original site of Loves Creek Homestead, Old Ambalindum Homestead, a working cattle station that was settled in the 1900’s and Gemtree, a quiet bush caravan park.

Standley

The ancient landscape, sculptured over time by climatic change and made famous by the art of Western Arrernte artist Albert Namatjira is on display in the West MacDonnell Ranges. You can find relics of a bygone tropical forest at many of the cool scenic gorges that act as a refuge for an assortment of plants and animals.

Easily accessed from Alice Springs, each of the West MacDonnell chasms and gorges has its own unique character and scenery. Drive or jump on a bike and ride along the 17 kilometre cycle path to Simpsons Gap, see the permanent waterhole and spot rock wallabies that live in the Gap's rocky ridges. Photograph Standley Chasm at midday when it lights up in fiery colours. Find refreshing relief from the heat of the day at the picturesque swimming holes in Ellery Creek Big Hole, Ormiston Gorge, Glen Helen Gorge and Redbank Gorge. Trek the Larapinta Trail, which stretches more than 223 kilometres from the Alice Springs Telegraph Station to Mount Sonder. Discover the Ochre Pits that desert Aboriginal people once used as a quarry for art and ceremonial body decoration.

If you would like to spend a night in the West MacDonnell Ranges, then pitch a tent at one of the many camping sites dotted throughout the region or enjoy a cold drink and the comforts of Glen Helen Resort.

*Please note that phone reception is limited to none within the MacDonnell Ranges and to let someone know of your plans before heading out.

Birthday Waterhole

Parks and Reserves
West MacDonnell Ranges NT
Birthday Waterhole is a semi-permanent pool on the Hugh River in the West MacDonnell Ranges, rarely suitable for swimming. It is also the Trailhead for sections 4 and 5 o... show more

Redbank Gorge

National Parks
West MacDonnell Ranges NT
Redbank Gorge (Rwetyepme, pronounced 'roo-chip-ma') is a stunning gorge and chasm that is a refuge for many threatened plant and animal species.Located 156km west of Alic... show more

Tnorala/ Gosse Bluff Conservation Reserve

Parks and Reserves
South of Alice Springs NT
The Tnorala/Gosse Bluff Conservation Reserve is an enormous comet impact site and a place of significant international scientific interest. It also has great cultural and... show more

Larapinta Trail

Attractions
West MacDonnell Ranges NT
Ranked as one of the planet's top 20 treks, the Larapinta Trail is a 223 kilometre walking track which traverses the magnificent, semi-arid landscapes and impressive, roc... show more

Mt Sonder

Parks and Reserves
West MacDonnell Ranges NT
Mt Sonder is the third highest peak in the West MacDonnell Ranges and Northern Territory. It marks the western end of the section 12 of the Larapinta Trail, a 223 kilomet... show more

Ochre Pits

National Parks
West MacDonnell Ranges NT
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 110k... show more

Standley Chasm Angkerle

Caravan Parks & Camping
Alice Springs and Surrounds NT
Standley Chasm Angkerle Atwatye is a "must see", spectacular geological and culturally significant icon of Central Australia. Surrounded by the West MacDonnell Ranges ... show more

Outback Tour Services

Tours
Alice Springs NT
At Outback Tour Services, we are proud to offer you a variety of adventurous tour products and services throughout the great Australian Outback. Our own touring produc... show more

Wayoutback Australian Safaris

Tours
Kakadu National Park NT
From the culturally rich, red sand landscapes of Uluru and the sheer beauty of the Red Centre, to the wildlife and river systems of the Top End, Wayoutback Australian Saf... show more

Finke Gorge National Park

Parks and Reserves
West MacDonnell Ranges NT
Explore the ancient landscapes of Finke Gorge National Park, 140 kilometres west of Alice Springs. The 46,000-hectare park protects the desert oasis Palm Valley, home to ... show more

Trek Larapinta

Tours
West MacDonnell Ranges NT
Established in 1998, Trek Larapinta is a boutique award-winning trekking operator, offering world class guided walking holidays on the Larapinta Trail. As a small local o... show more

Emu Run Experience (Book Now)

Tours
Alice Springs NT
Awarded the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for the past 6 years, Emu Run Experience is based in Alice Springs and specialises in Uluru & Central Australian touring... show more

Ormiston Gorge and Pound

National Parks
West MacDonnell Ranges NT
Ormiston Gorge is a great place for a cool dip, to see the towering red walls of the gorge and pound, and local plants and wildlife. Located 135 kilometres west of Alice ... show more

Tjoritja/ West MacDonnell National Park

National Parks
West MacDonnell Ranges NT
Tjoritja/ West MacDonnell National Park stretches for 161 kilometres west of Alice Springs. Explore and appreciate the scenic beauty and history of the area on foot, swi... show more

Ellery Creek Big Hole

National Parks
West MacDonnell Ranges NT
Ellery Creek Big Hole is one of the most popular and picturesque camping, walking, swimming and picnic spots in the West MacDonnell Ranges National Park. show more

AAT Kings - NT Day Tours

Tours
Alice Springs and Surrounds NT
From soul-stirring sunrises over the ochre sands of the Red Centre against a glittering canopy of stars, through to the Top End’s pristine waterfalls and wildlife rich-... show more

Wayoutback Australian Safaris (Book Now)

Tours
Kakadu National Park NT
From the culturally rich, red sand landscapes of Uluru and the sheer beauty of the Red Centre, to the wildlife and river systems of the Top End, Wayoutback Australian Saf... show more

Walking Country

Tours
West MacDonnell Ranges NT
Walking Country, based in Alice Springs, offers genuine small group tours, specialising in extended, fully catered, walking tours of the world class Larapinta Trail. C... show more

Alice Springs Expeditions

Tours
Alice Springs NT
Alice Springs Expeditions offers personalised bespoke tours (up to 6 passengers) to the most spectacular natural attractions around Central Australia. Meet John, the o... show more

Australian Walking Holidays

Tours
Alice Springs and Surrounds NT
As part of World Expeditions Travel Group, Australian Walking Holidays is a fully Australian-owned company specialising in small group guided walking adventures. We were ... show more

Serpentine Gorge

National Parks
West MacDonnell Ranges NT
Serpentine Gorge is a narrow gap in the West MacDonnell Ranges, 100 kilometres west of Alice Springs. Follow a well marked path and easy path to the gap and peaceful wate... show more

Outback Elite Tours

Tours
Alice Springs NT
OUTBACK ELITE TOURS organise VIP, Private, Classic and fully personalised tours of half-day, one day or multi-day in Central Australia. We also offer tours in Italian a... show more

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