My cart

Things to do at Standley Chasm

Standley Chasm is a beautiful chasm in Central Australia. Traditionally called ‘Angkerle Atwatye’, which means ‘Gap of Water’, it was once a tributary of the Finke River. The reserve has special significance as it has great cultural importance to the indigenous Western Arrernte community. The site is located on privately owned Aboriginal land. Situated in the West MacDonnell Ranges, this 100% privately owned property is under the care of the local Arrernte community.

 

What is Standley Chasm?

As mentioned above, Standley Chasm is a chasm located in the West MacDonnell Ranges, off the Larapinta Drive, which is about 50km west of Alice Springs. Opening hours are between 8am and 5pm. The gates to the reserve will be closed at other times. The last entry to the chasm is at 4.30pm. There is no public transport to access the chasm and so you will have to join a tour or drive your own vehicle.

Visiting the Chasm

The main attraction is the chasm itself. You can access it through a well-maintained path that starts at the kiosk. This 1.2 km walk is easy and also wheelchair accessible (grade 1 path). You can easily reach the chasm in 20 minutes even if you walk leisurely. The Standley Chasm entry fee is $12/adult. Tickets are available at the kiosk and the code to unlock the turnstile will be printed on the tickets. You can book your tickets online as well.

The path leads you along a stunning ravine beside a dry creek bed surrounded by native gumtrees. The scene gets even more beautiful as you near the chasm, which is 80m tall. The narrowest point is just three metres wide, and it offers a stunning spectacle. 

The best time to visit is during noon, as the overhead sun provides a rich red glow, making it the most picturesque sight. This is one of the best sites to click the most awesome photos. However, it means that noon is also the busiest time of the day at the chasm. You can avoid the crowd by reaching there as soon as the gate opens at 8 am before the crowd arrives.

Self-Guided Walks

Most people visit Standley Chasm for a day trip, spending only an hour or two there. However, the real charm of the place is that there are some lovely short hikes you can try if you have time. 

For instance, there is a short, steep path that leads to a lookout just behind the kiosk. The views of the ranges and the campsite are fantastic from there. This is the start/finish of section 4 of the Larapinta Trail (depending on which direction you’re hiking). A short walk along the trail and off the Larapinta Trail (watch out for the signpost), will lead you to the lookout.

Likewise, when you go down the path to the chasm, you’ll find a trailhead and sign for the Larapinta Trail (Section 3) on the left at around 1km down the path. This steep, rocky trail will lead you to a peak – you will have to walk for about 30 minutes. Once there, you can enjoy stunning views of Standley Chasm in front of you and the West Macs behind you. It is a photographer’s paradise. You have to be reasonably fit if you hope to negotiate the steep rocky trail. However, the views are worth every effort. Don’t forget to carry a good supply of water, some snacks and of course, a pair of sturdy shoes!

Larapinta Trail Section 3

From the peak, you can continue on Section 3 of the Larapinta Trail to return the way you came. You can also climb down the chasm, but as it is quite dangerous to try the descend; it is not advisable to go that way. All this will take just over a couple of hours, with lots of time to take the pictures.

Tours

Standley Chasm operate 2 main tours that travellers can join to learn more about the area and Aboriginal Culture.

Cycad Guided Cultural Walk

On this one hour walking tour, one of our experienced Aboriginal guides will take you through the Chasm, and teach you about the flora, fauna, and cultural history of the area. When you finish your Chasm experience, join us at the café for freshly baked scones with jam and cream.

Aboriginal Cultural Experience and Art Tour

The 4 hour tour includes a guided walk up to Standley Chasm with commentary on geology, flora, fauna, bush medicine, bush tucker and weaponry. Gain insight into the cultural history and discover what makes this place so special. Then participate in a guided dialogue about traditional and contemporary Aboriginal society and how the people can continue to preserve indigenous culture. Later, craft your own souvenir in the dot painting workshop. Learn the traditional techniques and significance behind them in Western Arrernte artwork. To cap the tour off, enjoy a buffet lunch on the verandah of the Kiosk Café.

Camping & Caravan Facilities

Standley Chasm is an ideal location for day-trippers, hikers, and overnight travellers. There is a modest grassy area near the ablution block for hikers and campers to pitch their tents. A car park and space for caravans and campervans are also available.

Camping fees are $18.50 for a non-powered site and $23.50 for a powered site. This is inclusive of entrance to the chasm for the duration of your stay.

Facilities include:

  • A café that serves coffee, tea, breakfast, and lunch between 8am and 4pm
  • A small camping area, with some powered campsites
  • Picnic Tables and BBQ
  • Clean toilets and hot water showers
  • Small camp kitchen with sink, kettle, and fridge
  • Washing machine
  • Gift shop
  • Telstra phone and internet reception

Subscribe

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?