|: Access driving via the sealed south from Alice Springs after some 75km it becomes unsealed. .|
|East MacDonnell Ranges National Park and surrounding
• Arltunga Historical Reserve and hotel or camping • Trephina Gorge • Emily Jessie Gap • Corroboree Rock • Ross River Resort • Ruby Gap • N'Dhala Gorge Nature Reserve • Gemtree • Chambers Pillar • Rainbow Valley
The East and West MacDonnell Ranges
The East and West MacDonnell Ranges stretch out for hundreds of kilometres on both sides of Alice Springs. The traditional owners of the Alice Springs area, 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 of the area.
The panoramic landscapes of the West MacDonnell Ranges are easily accessed from Alice Springs. Each of the West MacDonnell Ranges chasms and gorges has its own unique character and scenery. Simpsons Gap sports a permanent pool and rock wallabies live in the gap's rocky ridges. Standley Chasm lights up in fiery colours reflected by the overhead sun at midday. Picturesque swimming holes such as Ellery Creek Big Hole, Ormiston Gorge, Glen Helen Gorge and Redbank Gorge offer refreshing relief on a scorching day. It is also possible to visit the Ochre Pits that desert Aboriginal people once used as a quarry for ochre pigments.
The East MacDonnell Ranges, while not as well known as the West
MacDonnell Ranges, do provide beautiful scenery for bush walking,
camping and four-wheel-driving. Visit Arltunga, a ghost town that
was the site of a gold rush in the 1930's. Other places of spectacular
natural beauty like Trephina Gorge, make a trip to the East MacDonnell
Ranges more than worthwhile.
Trephina Gorge, in the East MacDonnell Ranges, is noted for its sheer quartzite cliffs and River Red Gum lined watercourses. Two gorges dissect the range: Trephina, with its wide views and sandy creekbed, and John Hayes Rock Hole with steep, narrow rock walls.
From the Trephina Gorge intersection with the Ross Highway it’s only 12km to Ross River Resort.
Steep ravine road in please check tourist information centre in Alice before trying to take a motorhome down here or camper (not recommended from personal experince very steep at one point decline)
The Emily and Jessie Gaps Nature Park
These small Gaps in the Heavitree Range are the first features you come to on your trip into the East MacDonnell Ranges. They contain interesting Aboriginal paintings and are important spiritual sites to the Eastern Arrernte Aboriginal people. The Emily and Jessie Gaps Nature Park, a scenic area close to Alice Springs, is an example of the Parks and Wildlife Commission’s commitment to the Northern Territory’s rich and diverse Aboriginal culture. The Park protects sacred sites and galleries of rock painting significant to the Arrernte Aboriginal people and associated with the Yeperenye (caterpillar) and other dreamings.
Corroboree Rock Conservation Reserve is about an hour's easy drive from Alice Springs. Corroboree Rock is an outstanding dark grey column of dolomite. It is of great importance to the Aboriginal people of the region. The rock itself is an outcrop of dolomite from the Bitter Springs Formation originally laid down in salty lakes 800 million years ago. Dolomite is a soft sedimentary fine grained rock. It is very similar to limestone except magnesium carbonate is the dominant compound rather than calcium carbonate. At the base of the rock you can see dark grey and light grey streaky blobs of 'dalmation rock'. A ring of low ground surrounding the rock makes it look like an obelisk.
Ross River Resort
Ross River Resort has a variety of attractions and activities
for you to enjoy. Abundant birdlife, Bushwalking,
Sunset Camel tours and Hot Air Ballooning
can be organised on request through Frontier Camel Tours.
N’Dhala Gorge Nature Park
N’Dhala Gorge Nature Park is located 90 kilometres East of Alice Springs, via the Ross Highway and is accessable by four-wheel drive only. This shady gorge contains a wide range of rock carvings and paintings. There are well over 6,000 individual petroglyphs (prehistoric carvings) as well as art sites and shelter sites. One way that Petroglyphs were created was by holding a sharp stone against the rock and striking it with a heavier stone.
Arltunga is located on the 5 000 hectare Arltunga Historical Reserve. The Arltunga Historical Reserve was established in 1975 and since then there has been a systematic attempt to restore and maintain the existing buildings. At Arltunga Historical Reserve you'll find a complete ghost town - with the remains of mines, mining camps and stone buildings. The police station and gaol have been completely restored and there are even old mines you can walk through.
Thinking of a family self drive hire vacation -
then search here for a one way rental
Darwin to Alice Springs on the Stuart Highway travel information for self drive visitors guide. 1500 klm a jouney to remember and you have never really known Australian until you visit both Uluru (Ayers Rock), Katherine Gorge (Nitmiluk) and Kakadu.