Top things to do in MacDonnell Ranges

Top Choice Nature Reserve in East MacDonnell Ranges

Trephina Gorge Nature Park

If you only have time for a couple of stops in the East MacDonnell Ranges, make Trephina Gorge Nature Park (75km from Alice) one of them. The play between the pale sandy riverbeds, the red and purple gorge walls, th…
Top Choice Canyon in West MacDonnell Ranges

Simpsons Gap

One of the prettiest corners of the West MacDonnell Ranges, Simpsons Gap, 22km by road from Alice Springs and 8km off Larapinta Dr along a paved road, combines wonderful scenery with good wildlife-watching. Towering…
Top Choice Historic Site in East MacDonnell Ranges

Arltunga Historical Reserve

At the eastern end of the MacDonnell Ranges, 110km east of Alice Springs, the old gold-mining ghost town of Arltunga (33km on an unsealed road from the Ross Hwy) has lonely ruins and a wonderful end-of-the-road feel…
Top Choice Gorge in West MacDonnell Ranges

Ormiston Gorge

If you've only time for one stop in the West MacDonnell Ranges, make it here. There's a waterhole shaded with ghost gums and the gorge curls around to the enclosed Ormiston Pound. It's a haven for wildlife (dingo, r…
Top Choice Natural Feature in West MacDonnell Ranges


Protected by a combination of remoteness and difficult access, Tnorala, as it's known to the Western Arrernte people, is a lost and beautiful world. The original crater had a diameter of 22km, but only the core, a s…
Top Choice Gorge in Finke Gorge National Park

Palm Valley

Top attraction Palm Valley is famous for its red cabbage palms (up to 12,000 of them!), which exist nowhere else in the world. These relics from prehistoric times give the valley a picture-book, oasis feel. In Palm …
Top Choice Viewpoint in West MacDonnell Ranges

Mt Sonder Lookout

Just 1km northwest of Glen Helen Gorge, the Mt Sonder lookout has sweeping views out over the West MacDonnells; sunrise and sunset are the best times to visit.
Gorge in West MacDonnell Ranges

Ellery Creek Big Hole

Ellery Creek Big Hole, 91km from Alice Springs, has a large permanent waterhole and is a beautiful spot. It's a popular place for a swim on a hot day (the water is usually freezing), but be very careful – a swimmer …
Nature Reserve in East MacDonnell Ranges

Ruby Gap Nature Park

This remote park rewards visitors with wild and beautiful scenery. The sandy bed of the Hale River sparkles with thousands of tiny garnets. It's an evocative place and is well worth the considerable effort required …
Nature Reserve in East MacDonnell Ranges

N'Dhala Gorge Nature Park

Just southwest of the Ross River Resort, a strictly 4WD-only track leads 11km south to N'Dhala Gorge. More than 5900 ancient Aboriginal rock carvings (some date back 10,000 years) and some rare endemic plants decora…