Standley Chasm

Gorge in West MacDonnell Ranges

Spectacular Standley Chasm is owned and run by the local Iwupataka community. The narrowest of the West MacDonnell defiles, it's a stunning spot with sheer rock walls rising 80m from the canyon floor. A rocky path into the gorge (20 minutes, 1.2km) follows a creek bed lined with ghost gums and cycads. There's a kiosk, camping, picnic facilities and toilets near the car park.

The chasm is 50km west of Alice Springs and signposted off Larapinta Dr. The road is sealed all the way.

Although it may not look like there's a lot of water, this is one of eight permanent water sources in the ranges; note the many different rock types along the chasm floor, all carried here by water. Hikes radiate out from here, but the far end of the chasm is closed off as an Aboriginal sacred site lies beyond. The kiosk at the entrance does simple meals, but you may want to bring some of your own supplies as well.

From 9am to 1pm on Thursdays (and at other times by appointment), you can take the Angkerle Cultural Experience, which includes a presentation about local cultural and natural history, an art workshop, morning tea and a buffet lunch. Advance bookings are essential.