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Camping in the East MacDonnell Ranges

East MacDonnell Ranges camping provides you with the opportunity to truly experience the natural beauty and cultural heritage of this ancient land. Inhabited by the Arrernte people for tens of thousands of years, the East Macs is a mountain range boasting stunning natural attractions like Trephina Gorge and important cultural sites like the ancient rock carvings at N’Dhala Gorge. 

Camping in the East Macs is the best way to soak up the scenery and go exploring on an overnight adventure. Here are some of the best camping spots and attractions in the area.

 

Ross River Resort

The Ross River Resort is based around a historical nineteenth-century homestead. It provides both campsites and lodge accommodation. Offering a restaurant and bar, it can serve as an excellent base camp for exploring nearby attractions like N’Dhala Gorge. Walking tracks will also allow you to explore the local area, including the historic homestead. 

Ross River Resort

Ross River Resort

Trephina Gorge 

Located just 75km out of Alice Springs, Trephina Gorge is an accessible location for camping, hiking, swimming, wildlife spotting, and general exploring. The gorge itself is a stunning chasm with waterholes and a wide array of wildlife and exotic plants and trees. Hike along the Ridgetop Walk to take in the gorge and the surrounding mountains before stopping at John Hayes Rockhole for a swim. 

Trephina Gorge Nature Park offers four campsites (Trephina Bluff, Trephina Gorge, Trephina Panorama, and John Hayes Rockhole). All Trephina Gorge camping sites are Category B ($4 for adults, $2 for children, and $10 for families), offering toilets and picnic tables. Bring your own water. The John Hayes Rockhole campground is only accessible by 4WD.

Trephina Gorge Camping Renae Saxby

Trephina Gorge campsite Apollo

Trephina Gorge

N'Dhala Gorge

N’Dhala Gorge is both an incredible natural attraction and a cultural site with thousands of years of history. The gorge features 6,000 ancient rock carvings as well as many rare plants and animals, all of which can be seen on a network of walking trails. 

There is a simple campsite at the entrance to N’Dhala Gorge Nature Park. It offers toilets and picnic tables but no water. Campsites are bookable online here, and no longer payable onsite. Category B fees apply ($4 for adults, $2 for children, and $10 for families). 4WD access only. 

 

Ruby Gap

Ruby Gap is a more rugged landscape at the far reaches of the East Macs. Here you will find tough but rewarding hiking through a stunning landscape, as well as some interesting 4WD trails. 

There are no designated campgrounds in Ruby Gap Nature Park. However, you can camp anywhere along the river between the park entrance and Ruby Gap itself. Campsites are bookable online here, and no longer payable onsite. Category B fees apply ($4 for adults, $2 for children, and $10 for families). 4WD access only.

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