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MacDonnell Ranges

MacDonnell Ranges are situated East & West of Alice Springs. Both ranges are highly significant for local Aboriginal culture. There are several scenic gorges which are important refuges for plants and animals, many are found only here and some are relicts of a bygone era of tropical forests.


Map of West MacDonnell Ranges which are extends upto 160km west of Alice Springs.


The National Road Transport Hall of Fame museum have good collection of old train carriages (8km south of Alice Springs).


And some old cars as well.


Anzac memorial on a small hill in Alice Spring.


View of Alice Springs from the lookout facing west towards MacDonnell Ranges.

Sat 1st July, 2018

Simpson Gap. The first gorge west of Alice Springs.

Simpson Gap is one of the most prominent gaps in the West MacDonnell Ranges.


It is a stunning gorge carved out of the West MacDonnell Ranges by Roe Creek, where water flows through a small gap in the range.


No Swimming sign on dry bed of Roe river.


Drive on Left in Australia - reminder to foreign tourists especially from NAM and mainland Europe.

Mon 2nd July, 2018

The spectacular Ellery Creek Big Hole is fed by the West MacDonnell Ranges (Tjoritja) and surrounded by high red cliffs and sandy Ellery Creek.


Ellery Creek Big Hole is also at the trailhead for Sections 6 and 7 of the 231 kilometre Larapinta Trail walk.




Thousands of years of massive floods have carved out this beautiful waterhole and unlocked some amazing geology for everyone to see.




View from Point Howard Lookout - looking west.

Ormiston Gorge

Ormiston Gorge is a great place for a swim, or to see the towering walls of the gorge and pound, local plants and wildlife.


Located 135km west of Alice Springs in the Tjoritja / West MacDonnell National Park, it is accessible by sealed roads and is the trailhead for sections nine and 10 of the Larapinta Trail.




Swimming hole at Ormiston Gorge.


Lookout platform at Ormiston Gorge.




FoxRoo at the parking lot.

Glen Helen Gorge

Signboard at the start of the (just 500m away from parking) which is 130km west of Alice Spring.

Glen Helen Gorge is a great place to view the West MacDonnell Ranges, and is an important refuge for local wildlife.


The West MacDonnell Ranges part briefly at Glen Helen Gorge, to make way for the Finke River.

The ranges are of pacoota sandstone and form steep, broken ridges and it is here that the permanent Finke River waterhole is an important refuge in the hot summer months.




Fink River passing through this gorge is considered the oldest river system in the world. It has only native Australia fishes.


Fink River is 700km long mostly dry with many water holes along the way. These are joined during rainy season for few days only.


Mt Sonder Lookout is on the main road about 500m past Glen Helen Gorge turnoff.

Mt Sounder is one of the highest points in Central Australia, which changes colours with the light.


Mt Sonder Lookout - looking north.




Sunset over Glen Helen Gorge.


Sunset from Mt Sonder Lookout.




We spent the night on the bank of Fink River.

Tue 3rd July, 2018

Sunrise over Mount Sonder




Sunrise over Glen Helen Gorge.


Sunrise over Glen Helen Gorge.

Wed 4th July, 2018

We travelled towards East MacDonnell Ranges after crossing back to Alice Springs. First is a Emily Gorge only 10km east of Alice.


Trephina Gorge - is about 85km east of Alice Springs.


It is noted for its sheer quartzite cliffs and River Red Gum lined watercourses.


A moderate walk along the rim of the Gorge with scenic views.


View from campground.


A wild melon.


Sunset over the Gorge.

Thu 5th July, 2018

A morning Panorama walk.


Panorama Lookout - 1hr return track from the campground.


The largest Ghost Gum in Central Australia is near Trephina Gorge, alone on a saltbush flat.




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