West MacDonnell National Park (Tjoritja)includes
Ormiston Gorge, Ellery Creek Bighole and Glen Helen Gorge | Uluru
camping tours Red Centre in Australia
Swimming in the West MacDonnell National Park:
Swimming is permitted at Ellery Creek Big Hole, Redbank Gorge,
Ormiston Gorge and Glen Helen Gorge.
You should be aware that most swimming holes are very cold.
Long exposure, even during summer, can lead to hypothermia.
How to get there:
From Alice Springs, access the Tjoritja / West MacDonnell National
Park's many visitor areas along Larapinta Drive and Namatjira
Drive. From Watarrka National Park (Kings Canyon) access the park
on the unsealed Red Centre Way (Mereenie Loop). You need a permit
to access this road.
Ormiston Gorge: Tjoritja / West MacDonnell National Park
Ormiston Gorge is a great place for a swim, or to see the towering
walls of the gorge and pound, local plants and wildlife. Located
135km west of Alice Springs in the Tjoritja / West MacDonnell
National Park, it is accessible by sealed roads and is the trailhead
for sections nine and 10 of the Larapinta Trail. The gorge has
a waterhole that is there year round and is great for swimming,
especially in warmer months. It is located just 500m from the
visitor centre and is estimated to be up to 14m deep at its southern
end. The five minute Waterhole Walk, which has wheelchair access
to the end of the paved path, and the 20 minute one way Ghost
Gum Lookout Walk are the most popular with visitors. Another way
to explore the area is by walking the Ormiston Pound Walk, which
is a three to four hour circuit that follows the rocky slope into
the flat expanse of the pound and back along the gorge by the
main waterhole. The area has an interesting range of native plants
and animals including a number of relict plant species from Central
Australia's tropical past. The park is also an important fauna
refuge, with the rediscovery of the Central rock-rat in 1997.
Ellery Creek Big Hole
Enjoy a picnic overlooking the red cliffs, swim in the waterhole
and sandy creek of this important geological site. Ellery Creek
Big Hole is a spectacular waterhole in the mighty Ellery Creek
which cuts through a gorge in the West MacDonnell Ranges. Thousands
of years of massive floods have carved out this beautiful waterhole
and unlocked some amazing geology. Visitors to Ellery Creek Big
Hole will be rewarded with excellent recreational opportunities
- walking, swimming, picnicking and camping just to name a few.
Rainbow Valley Conservation Reserve
Rainbow Valley has scenic sandstone bluffs and cliffs that are
a photographer's delight. These are most impressive in the soft
light of the morning or afternoon around sunset. At these times
the sandstone bands change from ochre red to orange and purple.
Chambers Pillar Historical Reserve
The 50m high sandstone pillar is the main feature of the Chambers
Pillar Historical Reserve. The pillar is impressive and towers
over the plains below. It's best seen at sunset when it reflects
the light to bring out the strong red and orange colours. Explore
the reserve on foot and don't forget your camera. The local Aboriginal
people believe that the pillar is the gecko ancestor Itirkawara.
N'Dhala Gorge Nature Park
N’Dhala Gorge is a cultural treasure with 6,000 individual petroglyphs,
or rock carvings, found in 438 engraved sites along the main gorge
and 240 engraved sites in the side gorge. It is suggested that
engraving occurred over two time periods. The first was around
10,000 years ago and the second started about 3,000 years ago.
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