With the MacDonnell Ranges being so close to Alice Springs it doesn’t matter if you have a day or a few weeks, there’s so many places to explore. So, get out there and find your hidden oasis.
The MacDonnell Ranges is a 644 km long series of mountains made up from parallel ridges that run east and west of Alice Springs. The mountain range contains many spectacular gorges and waterholes as well as areas of First Nation significance.
Rising majestically from the rugged landscape is Mount Sonder, a striking landmark at the western end of the Larapinta Trail. Spend a day hiking around its base, or perhaps experience a breathtaking sunrise from its peak.
The Finke River begins its journey high in the MacDonnell Ranges and is one of the few sources of water in this harsh, arid landscape. This ancient watercourse is believed to be the oldest river in the world and creates many beautiful oases allowing a network of flora and fauna to flourish.
As the Finke makes its way through the arid central outback, it passes through Glen Helen Gorge. The reds of the gorge contrasts with the blue of the sky and river, to create an explosion of colour.
As the river meanders further through the ranges it has created the hidden gem that is Palm Valley. There aren't many places that you can find palm trees in the outback. Only two hours from Alice Springs, it’s great for a day trip or stay in the valley’s campsite.
One of the largest waterholes in the MacDonnell Ranges, Ellery Creek Big Hole provides life-giving water for local wildlife and is a great place to spend a few hours cooling off. This destination is popular with walking, camping, swimming and picnics, and I would highly recommend spending a day exploring all it has to offer.
Hidden away in the MacDonnell Ranges you will find Ormiston Gorge, a spectacular gap in the range where towering Ghost Gums shelter cool waters. Enjoy a walk, swim or camp in the incredible natural beauty of this sanctuary.
Standley Chasm was created by the slow weathering and erosion of a singular fissure in the rock, this geological marvel has attracted travellers for decades. An easy trail from the carpark leads through the rocky terrain to reach the towering walls of the chasm.