West MacDonnell Ranges is part of our 21 day Australia Outback camping tour.
We visit the West MacDonnell Ranges after spending a free day in Alice Springs. Alice Springs itself is actually located in the gap of the MacDonnell Ranges (West and East).
The West MacDonnell Ranges National Park is a classic example of a landscape sculptured over time by climatic conditions. It is rich in flora and fauna many of which are only found in this area. The West MacDonnell Ranges has 40 rare species including the Cycad. Some other unlikely plants found here include the Maiden Hair Fern, Skeleton Fork Fern, Mountain Hakea and the Glory of the Centre Wedding Bush. The River Red Gum is found in several places as well providing a great habitat for birds, bats and other animals.
The park is also a great place for wildlife including the Peregrine Falcon, Dusky Grasswren and Rufous crowned Emu-Wren.
The West MacDonnell Ranges is one of Central Australia’s natural attractions stretching for 400km. The traditional owners of Alice Springs area, the Arrernte People, believe giant caterpillars called the Yeperenye became the Ranges. They entered the world through one of the dramatic gaps in the escarpments of the area. We will call in and visit three places in the West MacDonnell Ranges.
Standley Chasm lights up in fiery colours reflected by the overhead sun at midday. The walk into the narrow chasm passes through a stony watercourse with cycads, ghost gums, acacias and cypress pines.
ELLERY CREEK BIG HOLE
Ellery Creek Big Hole is the deepest waterhole in the area and great for a swim. The pool is in the shade most of the time and the water is a bit cold. Fantastic in the warmer weather, but may be a little bit cool in winter.
Ormiston Gorge and Pound has some of the most spectacular scenery in the West MacDonnell Ranges. The gorge has a permanent waterhole, 14 metres deep and again depending on the time of year, we can go for a swim here. There are also several walking tracks.