West MacDonnell Ranges

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NT Government

NT Government

NT Government

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Known as Tjoritja by the Traditional Owners, the continuation of cultural practices and a connection to the land is highly significant for local Aranda Aboriginal culture. Running due west from Alice Springs, the West MacDonnell Ranges contain a variety of impressing and interesting geological features and landscapes.

Some of the sites you shouldn't miss on a journey here include Simpsons Gap, Ochre Pits, Standley Chasm (privately operated) and the permanent waterholes at Ellery Creek Big Hole and Ormiston Gorge. Simpsons Gap is a dramatic cleft in the range through which a dry white sand riverbed fringed with river red gums winds. Standley Chasm with its vertical red walls that glow in the midday sun gives the impression of some sort of giant fracture in the rock. It contains permanent springs and unusual plant life and is a pleasant excursion on its own.

Ellery Creek Big Hole is a large permanent waterhole nestled in the ranges that is a favourite swimming place for locals in the summer. The water can be freezing at other times of the year however.

The Larapinta Trail winds 250 kilometres from Alice Springs through the West MacDonnell Ranges to Mount Sonder. The Trail is one of the world’s great walks and visitors not wishing to attempt the entire walk can chose sections to walk in the space of a day. Most of the West MacDonnell Range’s key attractions are easily accessible from Alice Springs via a sealed highway as far as Glen Helen Resort.

Ellery Big Hole and Redbank Gorge have basic camping facilities. Bush camping is available at Serpentine Chalet and Finke 2-mile. Ormiston Gorge has a campground with showers and flushing toilets.


  • Sight-seeing
  • Hiking
  • Camping (fees apply)
  • Swimming
  • Photography


  • Various facilities located at the different trail heads along the 231km Larapinta Trail.
  • Camping grounds (fees apply)
  • Picnic areas with barbecues
  • Hiking trails
  • Toilets

Important Information


  • Always do some research before heading out for your journey. Visit the local visitor information centre for the most up to date information.
  • Stay safe and get the most out of your visit by preparing for natural hazards and other outdoor risks. You are responsible for your own safety and the safety of those in your care.
  • Wear suitable footwear and ensure to wear appropriate clothing to protect yourself from the elements when outside exploring.
  • Plan ahead and ensure to take enough food, fuel and water for your journey.
  • Always stay on the marked tracks where possible. Never climb fences, they are there for your own safety.
  • Please consider the environment, take your rubbish with you or place in the bins provided. We want to ensure these beautiful places are still here for our future generations to enjoy.
  • Ensure to let a responsible adult know of your plans and report back into them once you have finished exploring for the day.
  • National park fees may apply for national parks in Australia. Check the parks website for bookings and/ or further details.
  • Entry fees may change at anytime at the discretion of Parks and Wildlife Services, check their website for the most up to date information.

Photo credits: NT Government

Content credits: NT Parks and Wildlife Service & Aussie Bucket List®

Location & Supplier

West MacDonnell Ranges

Address: West MacDonnell Ranges, Hugh NT 0872

8 people have added this to their Bucket List

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