NT: 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's
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 MacDonnells, 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 MacDonnells more
Explorer: Heading west from Alice Springs you can drive through
the magnificent Western MacDonnell Ranges. There are two routes that
you can take. Starting from Larapinta Drive you can either follow this
along through Hermannsburg until you reach the Mereenie Loop Road, or
turn off onto Namatjira Drive which eventually joins the Mereenie Loop
Road. This then leads to Kings Canyon and the Watarrka National Park.
The first place you will come across along Larapinta
Drive is the Desert Wildlife Park and Botanical Gardens, shortly followed
by Simpsons Gap, where the river cut through solid rock now forming
a pleasant home for rock wallabies. 50km further west is another amazing
land formation at Standley Chasm. The huge rock walls almost touch allowing
the sun to reach the base of the gap for only 15 minutes a day. The
small fee to enter the Aboriginal land is definitely worth it to see
Continuing along Larapinta Drive, there is little other
than landscape to see, before you reach Hermannsburg. One thing you
will pass is the Wallace Rockhole, where you can camp and take a tour
around the Aboriginal rock art. Just before you reach Hermannsburg is
the Namatjira Monument, for the painter Albert Namatjira who was the
first Aboriginal person to be granted Australian citizenship. Once at
Hermannsburg you can visit the mission with its old pretty buildings,
as well as the tearooms and store. It is in the tearooms where you can
buy a permit for the Mereenie Loop Road, and unfortunately the rest
of town is out of bounds as it is Aboriginal land.
Small Guide to a Big Country: The telegraph
line followed the route of explorer John MacDouall Stuart. Permanent
waterholes, named Alice Springs (after the wife of South Australia's
Postmaster General), were the reason for the Overland Telegraph Stations
location in the 1870s. It was the seed of a township originally called
Stuart, named after the explorer. In 1933, when it was renamed Alice
Springs, there were just 400 residents. The Telegraph Station is now
the centre of a historical reserve at the north end of town.
West of Alice, and only a short drive from town, is
Simpsons Gap, gouged by millions of years of floods from Roe Creek and,
at dawn and dusk, black-footed rock-wallabies turn up for a drink at
the waterhole. Standley Chasm is best visited (but most crowded) at
midday, when the sun passes overhead to penetrate the chasm (80 metres
high and only 8 metres wide at its narrowest point). It was named after
Ida Standley, the Alices first schoolteacher. On the way, on Larapinta
Drive, is the grave of John Flynn, founder of the Royal Flying Doctor
The MacDonnell Ranges of the Northern Territory, are a 644 km (400 mile)
long mountain range located in the centre of Australia (23°42'S
132°30'E), and consist of parallel ridges running to the east and
west of Alice Springs. The range is composed of red sandstone peaks
and gorges with the highest peaks being Mount Liebig (1,524m AHD/ 5,000
ft) and Mount Zeil (1,510 m / 4,955 ft). The mountain range was named
after Sir Richard MacDonnell (the Governor of South Australia at the
time) by John McDouall Stuart, whose 1860 expedition reached them in
April of that year.
Reference: Mountain range in Northern Territory, central Australia,
running east to west in parallel ridges for 644 km/400 mi. The highest
peaks are Mount Liebig (1,524m/5,000 ft) and Mount Zeil (1,510 m/4,955
ft). The town of Alice Springs is situated in the middle of the Macdonnell
Ranges. The spectacular scenery, with its deep gorges and red rocks,
attracts many tourists.
Tourist Map: There is much to see east of Alice Springs along the
Ross Highway to Ross River homestead and camping area. To see this fascinating
area of Central Australia, take the Ross Highway, which turns east from
the Stuart Highway just south of Heavitree Gap. After a short drive
through the 'Farm Area', you will pass Amoonguna Aboriginal Settlement
on your right (permit area only). Amoonguna was established in 1963
to provide accommodation for aboriginals in close proximity to the town.
Many of the first residents there lived at the Old Telegraph Station.
A few kilometres past here, on the left, is Emily Gap, a popular gap
with picnic tables, just 11km. from the Stuart Highway. Another 7 km.
further is Jessie Gap, also a popular picnic spot for locals and visitors.
Continue along the highway another 25 km., past the Ringwood Station
turn-off, on your right, to Corroboree Rock (Antanangantana), mystic
and sacred site for Aranda aboriginals who once stored sacred objects
there. The small reserve, with a car parking area has limited facilities.
The Scenery of the MacDonnell Ranges is inspiring. With it's magnificently
coloured rugged gorges and rocky ridges. Each of the West MacDonnells'
chasms and gorges has its own unique character and scenery. At Simpsons
Gap you can walk to the permanent pool and possibly catch sight of the
rock wallabies that live in the gap's rocky ridges. At midday, stand
in Standley Chasm as it lights up in fiery oranges reflected by the
overhead sun. Plunge in for a swim at the picturesque waterholes at
Ellery Creek Big Hole, Ormiston Gorge and Glen Helen Gorge. Visit the
Ochre Pits, which desert Aboriginal people used as a quarry for ochre,
a valuable traditional material used for paintings and ceremonial body
Holiday Company Descriptions
Holiday Park: Discover the Red Centre - the majestic natural wonders,
the ancient cultures and the breathtaking horizons. The most awarded
Holiday Park in the Northern Territory, the famous MacDonnell Range
Holiday Park is a Big 4 Park. Situated in the picturesque surroundings
of the MacDonnell Ranges, away from the traffic and noise, just 4.5kms
south of Alice Springs on Palm Place. Come to our park and enjoy a quiet,
relaxing holiday, and experience the spirit of the true outback. You
will discover and experience all that the unique Centre of Australia
has to offer. Here at MacDonnell Range Holiday Park we offer you year
- round accommodation in a friendly atmosphere we guarantee you will
Alice Springs, the vibrant hub of central Australia, grew up around
a permanent waterhole that was a key terminal for the Overland Telegraph
Station in 1870. It became a tough frontier town serviced by camel trains
from the railhead at Oodnadatta, until the railway reached it in 1929
and it became a major terminus centre. Today the city, with a population
of 25,000 and stylish shopping and dining facilities, provides a perfect
base from which to access all of the surrounding natural wonders, including
Uluru (Ayer's Rock), where you can learn more about the local Arrernte
Aboriginal tribal group who have inhabited the area for 20,000 years.
The city is also the point from which intrepid adventurers strike south
to explore the Simpson Desert, or east to visit the ghost towns of the
MacDonnell Ranges. Alice Springs has good connections to Australia's
capital cities; there are daily flights to and from the capitals and
road and rail access from all capital cities is possible.
of Distinction: This morning we board our coach which will take
us along the scenic Desert Oak Drive to Alice Springs where our accommodation
is booked at the first class Crowne Plaza Hotel. The rest of your day
is left completely at leisure. This morning we shall arrange for those
that so wish, an optional hot air balloon ride over Australia's outback.
After breakfast enjoy a morning exploring this little town. Visits include
the Royal Flying Doctor Base and the Old Telegraph Station, now a museum
and site of the old springs from which Alice gets its name. Later in
the afternoon we make our way to Alice Springs airport for our flight
to Adelaide. Upon arrival we will be transferred to the deluxe Adelaide
Hilton in the heart of the city where we spend the next three nights.
(Meals: Breakfast, Refreshments).
Australia: Rise early to view Uluru at sunrise. There is the opportunity
to climb to the summit (optional). Tour the caves at the base of Uluru
and hear stories of the Aboriginal Dreamtime. Later, visit the Uluru-Kata
Tjuta Cultural Centre. This afternoon travel through the desert plains
to Kata Tjuta (Olgas). The size and grandeur of these 36 massive domes
of conglomerate red rock will amaze you. Take a walk through Walpa Gorge
following the natural creek bed between two of the domes. After sunset
with sparkling wine, enjoy a delicious Australian barbecue dinner and
This morning travel along Namatjira Drive to the beautiful West MacDonnell
Ranges. Explore Simpsons Gap and Angkerle (Standley Chasm), a spectacular
nine meter break in the range. When the sun strikes the floor in the
chasm its walls blaze red. Visit the Desert Park and see different Australian
desert habitats, their plants and wildlife, through a variety of interactive
displays. The remainder of the day at leisure to explore the town and
perhaps purchase genuine Aboriginal artwork. Overnight Accommodation:
Alice Springs Resort or Crowne Plaza Alice Springs
Backpacker: Take a Camel to Dinner Tour - No trip to Alice Springs
is complete without a ride on a camel. You are collected from your Alice
Springs hotel and transferred to the Date Gardens, where you meet your
'ship of the desert' under the shady palms. Get to know your camel on
a leisurely one hour ride along the sandy course of the Todd River bed,
past magnificent river red gums, on your way to dinner. On arrival at
the Frontier Camel Farm, enjoy a visit of the Camel Display and the
Camel Shop before pre-dinner drinks and bush-tucker tasting. Then sit
down to a delicious home-cooked dinner, including nibbles of nutritious
native foods and home made bread, a choice of baked fillet of Barramundi
(Fish) or Prime Beef with fresh salads, warm sticky date pudding, Australian
wine or beer, tea or coffee and fresh local dates. After dinner, you
are transferred back to your Alice Springs hotel.
Oz Motorcycle Tours: Established in 1992, The award winning Alice
Springs 'Central Oz Motorcycle Adventures' provide self-ride & passenger
tours on Harley-Davidson motorcycles. We tour Alice Springs & the
rest of the Outback Northern Territory. Tours range from 1 hour to 7
days including Ayers Rock/Uluru, MacDonnell Ranges & extended tours
to Darwin. We provide what the motorcycling enthusiast is looking for.
Travel: At the very heart of Australia lies the historic town of
Alice Springs - situated 462kms from Ayers Rock/Uluru and positioned
between the East and West MacDonnell Ranges, Alice Springs makes both
a great touring base and a great holiday destination. You can see the
original Alice Spring which is still there - the permanent waterhole
that clinched the location of the Overland Telegraph Station in the
1870s. The surrounding MacDonnell Ranges are not as well-known as Uluru,
462km to the west, but they are a haven of rockholes, gorges and parks
with hundreds of camping, walking, swimming and picnic spots. A major
tourist town, Alice Springs makes a great touring base and a diverse
and fascinating destination on its own.
Backed by the rugged MacDonnell Ranges, Alice Springs sits in the centre
of Australia, a melting pot of cultures and traditions. Alice Springs
has a variety of things to do and see. It also serves as a good starting
point for exploring the surrounding attractions of Central Australia
including the MacDonnell Ranges, Kings Canyon and Uluru (Ayers Rock).
More than just an overnight stop, Alice Springs has many attractions
to visit. Make sure that Alice Springs is part of your Outback itinerary.
4 Tours: A 11 Day tour visiting Uluru (Ayers Rock), Kata Tjuta (Olgas),
Aboriginal Culture, Kings Canyon, Palm Valley, Mereenie Track, Gosse
Bluff, Western MacDonnell Ranges, devils Marbles, Mataranka Thermal
Springs, Katherine Gorge, Darwin, Litchfield NP, Kakadu National Park,
Mary River Wetlands, Wildlife/Crocodile Cruise, Ubirr Rock, Aboriginal
Rock Art, Jim Jim & Twin Falls.
Abroad: Early this morning we fly across the vast desert known as
the "Red Centre" to Uluru, commonly called Ayers Rock, located
in the centre of the continent. Uluru is an incredibly impressive monolith
5 km (3 miles) in length and over 300m (1,000 ft) high! Towering 343m
(1,143 ft) above the plain and measuring 9 km (5A½ miles) in
circumference, the rock is twice the size of central London! The rock
is honeycombed with caves, some of which are used for tribal ceremonies
and burial chambers. We enjoy the sunset which creates a series of changing
colours on the rock.
Uluru is a remnant of ancient mountains which long ago
weathered away, leaving the sandstone monolith standing alone in the
desert. In 1989 scientists found evidence that Uluru, the Macdonnell
Ranges, and a cluster of huge rock domes named Kata Tjuta (the Olgas)
were part of a single plateau. The plateau was formed about 300 million
years ago and has steadily been eroded ever since. At one stage during
this erosion process, according to the scientists, there would probably
have been vast gorges here of Grand Canyon dimensions.
Tour the sights of 'The Alice' including the historic Telegraph Station
and the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Visit the School of the Air where
sometimes we are able to listen to the children take lessons on air.
Stop at the Alice Springs Reptile Centre where you will see unique Central
Australian reptiles such as the Perentie and Thorny Devil. Conclude
with a panoramic view of Alice Springs and the surrounding ranges from
the top of Anzac Hill.
Explorer: Today we give you a chance to enjoy sunrise in a truly
unique and beautiful setting. After breakfast we pause at the WA / NT
border near the Aboriginal settlement of Docker River. Crossing the
Docker River (there are no bridges out here) the Great Central Road
passes through the magnificent Petermann Ranges and with only six more
rivers to cross and a visit to Lasseters Cave, then the majestic Olgas
will soon appear pink/purple on the horizon. After a breathtaking walk
into the Olgas (Kata Tjuta) and distant views of Ayres Rock (Uluru)
it is a short drive to the cultural centre for a close look at the Anangu
way of life. Sunset will find us watching the setting sun change the
colours of the worlds most famous rock.
Experience the outback the authentic way - get off the bitumen and on
to dirt roads. This 4WD adventure allows you to get right off the beaten
track through cattle stations to outback icons such as Uluru, Kata Tjuta
and Watarrka in a small group, allowing the freedom to explore some
remote areas. By night, settle down in your bush camp, cook over a campfire
and sleep under the vast, starry sky.
Cook: A chance to get right into the outback today with a visit
to the Western MacDonnell mountain ranges. You'll have views of Simpson's
Gap, Ellery Creek Gorge and Standley Chasm.
Springs Resort: What many refer to as the best accommodation in
town, Alice Springs Resort combines efficient and friendly outback service
with modern, comfortable facilities. Low rise architecture and lush
green lawns contribute to the relaxed atmosphere of our award-winning
resort, situated on the banks of the famous Todd River with its magnificent
river red gums.
You could be riding a camel down a dry river bed or
watching the old Ghan steam into the station; maybe you're sailing above
the mighty MacDonnell Ranges in a hot air balloon or enjoying bush tucker
under the stars: no matter what you do in and around Alice Springs,
you'll discover that the romance of outback Australia is alive and well.
The early days of European settlement are well preserved
here with buildings like the old jail and original Telegraph Station
still standing. Yet you'll also find Aboriginal culture extremely well
presented in the Alice. It is a truly unique place. The location of
Alice Springs Resort puts you in a perfect position to explore both
the town and surrounding areas.
Western Elkira Motel: Centrally located in the heart of the Alice
Springs CBD, Best Western Elkira Motel, with its tranquil gardens and
friendly staff offers a warm welcome. Only a five-minute walk to the
post office or local tourist attractions such as Panorama Guth and the
Royal Flying Doctor Service, the Elkira Motel is ideally positioned
for both business and leisure.
The Elkira Motel offers three styles of comfortable
rooms that have views of the magnificent McDonnell Ranges, lush gardens
or the beautiful in-ground pool. The fully licensed Terrace Restaurant
is known for great value home style cooking, offering a number of quality
Australian wines and beers.
Hotel Casino: Set against the McDonnell Ranges and adjoining one
of the worlds best dessert golf courses, the Lasseters Hotel Casino
Alice Springs offers accommodation of high standards comprising of 127
spacious guestrooms and 13 elegantly appointed suites each fitted with
stylish and comfortable furnishings. All rooms and suites boast a private
balcony or courtyard with magnificent views of the MacDonnell Ranges,
pool, golf course or famous Todd River.
The Samphire Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and
dinner in a comfortable atmosphere with a variety of choices for all
tastes. Overlooking the gaming floor in the casino, the Reef Bar offers
the perfect place to meet for a drink and dine casually from the All
Day Dining Menu. While at the hotel, you can relax by the pool, play
a game of tennis, or use one of the bicycles to follow the trails and
visit the nearby attractions
Plaza Hotel: Crowne Plaza Alice Springs combines luxury, elegance
and resort style facilities. The hotel offers a wide range of services
for the leisure and business traveller in a relaxed and stylish environment.
Outback Hotel: Located in the foothills of the MacDonnell Ranges,
Novotel Outback Alice Springs is close to many tourist attractions of
the city such as West MacDonnell, Anzac hill, Desert Park, Botanical
gardens and racecourse.
Gap Outback Lodge Alice Springs: This property is located 4.5 kms
south of Alice Springs, in a stunning outback setting. The hotel's courtesy
bus takes guests to Alice Springs and back. Next door is a Caravan Park
and 3 acres of tent sites. Great spot for lovers of scenic walks.