Emily & Jessie Gaps Nature Park

Nature Reserve in East MacDonnell Ranges

Both of these gaps in the rock wall of the East MacDonnells are associated with the Eastern Arrernte Caterpillar Dreaming trail. Emily Gap, 16km out of Alice, has stylised rock paintings and a fairly deep waterhole in the narrow gorge. The gap is a sacred site with some well-preserved paintings on the eastern wall, although some of the paintings have been vandalised. Jessie Gap, 8km further on, is usually much quieter. Both sites have toilets, but camping is not permitted.

Known to the Arrernte as Anthwerrke, Emily Gap is one of the most important Aboriginal sites in the Alice Springs area; it was from here that the caterpillar ancestral beings of Mparntwe originated before crawling across the landscape to create the topographical features that exist today.

Both sites attract flocks of birds looking for a drink, although the water often runs dry. An 8km unmarked bushwalk leads around the ridge between the two gaps.