West MacDonnell Ranges

West MacDonnell Ranges

 Alice Springs NT 0870, Australia +61 8 8951 8211 Website Alice Springs Campervan Hire

hatscoach (contributor)

The MacDonnel Ranges are a natural wall next to Alice Springs.

The “West MacDonnel National Park” consists the west of Alice Springs located part of the rough MacDonnel Ranges (2005 km2). The Ranges are about 400 km long.
They originated from Vulcanic activities and were later eroded. Rivers made deep Valleys, and the shadow allowed a lot more plants and animals to survive.

Here you find these great Landscapes:
Ormiston Gorge
Ellery Creek Big Hole
Standley Chasm
the Ochre Pitts


realmwaiting (contributor)

I visited the West MacDonnell ranges with Emu Run Tours. The day-trip consisted of visits to Flynn’s Grave, Simpsons Gap, Standley Chasm, Ellery Creek Bighole, Orche Pits, Ormiston Gorge & Glen Helen for A$99 tea, lunch and park entrance fee included (circa 2003).

This is the furthest point of the day-tour and after this, the journey back to Alice Springs begin.

Glen Helen is home to one of the largest gap in the West MacDonnell ranges. Here, you may find some accommodation near the carpark (1 hostel and 1 hotel) and 1 restaurant for meals & drinks.

Glen Helen is home to a great waterway (Finke River), though should you visit it during the dry months, the water recedes to such a great extent that what was previously submerged under river water is left exposed to the sun as wonderful walking/hiking trails which eventually end at the water edge where the cool blue waters looked inviting for a plunge. Don’t be fooled – it’s biting cold. Members of my tour group found out the hard way (grin)

Really beautiful place. Glad I was there!


slurpunction (contributor)

I visited the West MacDonnell ranges with Emu Run Tours. The day-trip consisted of visits to Flynn’s Grave, Simpsons Gap, Standley Chasm, Ellery Creek Bighole, Orche Pits, Ormiston Gorge & Glen Helen for A$99 tea, lunch and park entrance fee included (circa 2003).

Flynn’s Grave is the first stop. It is the resting place for the ashes of the Reverend John Flynn, founder of the Flying Doctor Service and the Australian Inland Mission. In 1949, aged 70, Reverend John Flynn climbed Mt Gillen and declared this was the place he would like to be buried. The ashes of the reverend is safeguarded by a rock removed from the Devils Marbles (or Karlukarlu which is the Aboriginal name), south of Tennant Creek some 46 years ago. It also serves as an enduring marker of his grave.

The grave is on a low hill at the foot of the MacDonnell Ranges. The plaque expresses a lifetime achievement in just a few lines: “His vision encompassed the continent. He established the Australian Inland Mission and founded the Royal Flying Doctor Service. He brought to lonely places a spiritual ministry and spread a mantle of safety over them by medicine and the radio.”

There are bicycle paths here as well.


aridunarmed (contributor)

I visited the West MacDonnell ranges with Emu Run Tours. The day-trip consisted of visits to Flynn’s Grave, Simpsons Gap, Standley Chasm, Ellery Creek Bighole, Orche Pits, Ormiston Gorge & Glen Helen for A$99 tea, lunch and park entrance fee included (circa 2003).

Ellery Creek Bighole is one of Central Australia’s most pristine waterholes and is also the last stop of the day. At this spot, you are almost mid-point between Alice Springs and Glen Helen.

Here, you may find amenity facilities and if you wish, swim in the waterhole especially during the warmer months. Do note: A word of warning here, the water temperature gets colder with the depth of the water, so don’t dive deeply.

I was very surprised to find a solitary black swan when I was there. It was actually the first time I have seen one in the wild! Maybe it is still there.


codaroasting (contributor)

I visited the West MacDonnell ranges with Emu Run Tours. The day-trip consisted of visits to Flynn’s Grave, Simpsons Gap, Standley Chasm, Ellery Creek Bighole, Orche Pits, Ormiston Gorge & Glen Helen for A$99 tea, lunch and park entrance fee included (circa 2003).

A river runs through the gorge and was flanked on both flanks by sandy white sand.

From Ormiston Gorge, you will get a view of nearby Mount Sonder, which my guide said look like a pregnant lady lying down. It is the subject of many paintings by the famed aboriginal artist and Arnada tribesman, the late Albert Namatjira, after whom the drive is named.

We stopped here for a simple sandwich and coffee/tea lunch. Extremely scenic and windy!


bedoff (contributor)

I visited the West MacDonnell ranges with Emu Run Tours. The day-trip consisted of visits to Flynn’s Grave, Simpsons Gap, Standley Chasm, Ellery Creek Bighole, Orche Pits, Ormiston Gorge & Glen Helen for A$99 tea, lunch and park entrance fee included (circa 2003).

Continue west for another 23kms after Simpson’s Gap and you’ll arrive at Standley Chasm, located 10kms north of the main road. It is now managed by representatives of Iwupataka, an aboriginal settlement on nearby Jay Creek, and is one of the most publicised attractions in Central Australia.

From the kiosk, picnic area and carpark, you will walk some 800 metres along the stony riverbed to reach the chasm, which is best photographed at noon when the sun is directly overhead. The sheer, steep and reddish walls around you will slowly, but surely cave in on you until you reach the final walking point in the chasm. Here the chasm ends with a river. The view of the towering walls around you is just breathtaking!

For folks driving, an entrance fee is charged to the chasm area and the park is open from 8.30 am until 5.00 pm daily. Drinks, sandwiches, souvenirs and films are available from the kiosk.


siexterior (contributor)

I visited the West MacDonnell ranges with Emu Run Tours. The day-trip consisted of visits to Flynn’s Grave, Simpsons Gap, Standley Chasm, Ellery Creek Bighole, Orche Pits, Ormiston Gorge & Glen Helen for A$99 tea, lunch and park entrance fee included (circa 2003).

17km after Ormiston Gorge are the Ochre Pits, a source of painting materials of the Aboriginals for centuries. Brilliantly coloured, the natural ochres in the cliff face are a must for the photographer and a pleasant respite for any visitor.

Watch walls of multi colour hues surround you. Lots of walking trails here too.


specificrob (contributor)

I visited the West MacDonnell ranges with Emu Run Tours. The day-trip consisted of visits to Flynn’s Grave, Simpsons Gap, Standley Chasm, Ellery Creek Bighole, Orche Pits, Ormiston Gorge & Glen Helen for A$99 tea, lunch and park entrance fee included (circa 2003).

Simpson`s Gap, located near Alice Springs, as the name implies, is a natural gap in the West MacDonnell Ranges and was the second stop.

A little way along Larapinta Drive is an information centre, and the gap is some 7kms from the main road. Simpson’s Gap is one of the most frequently visited in the ranges and a colony of Rock Wallabies can usually be seen there (yes, I saw them hopping among the rocks, unbelievable!) on the steep hillside to the right of the riverbed leading to the water-hole in the Gap.

Toilets, barbecue facilities and picnic facilities are provided.


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