Ormiston Gorge

Top choice in Northern Territory

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, red kangaroo and euro are all possible, and look for the fat-tailed false antechinus near sunrise) and birds (western bowerbird, rufous-crowned emu-wren and spinifex pigeon among others). The only drawback? It's also the busiest site along Namatjira Dr.

There are some excellent walking tracks – take one and you'll soon leave the crowds behind – including the Ghost Gum Lookout (20 minutes), which affords brilliant views down the gorge, and the excellent, circuitous Pound Walk (three hours, 7.5km). There's a small visitor centre, a kiosk (open 10am to 4pm) and a camping ground, all 8km off Namatjira Dr.

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