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Explore the river gorges and red-rock bluffs of the Western MacDonnell Ranges

Stretching for more than 640 clicks across the flat and dusty scrub plains of the Outback, the Western MacDonnell Ranges harbour some of the Red Centre's most impressive natural attractions. Gum-shaded creeks weave through craggy gorges, dramatic rock walls peer down upon vast expanses of bushland and black-footed rock wallabies hop between granite boulders and along gully floors. Departing from the rural hub of Alice Springs, this one-day adventure will get you hiking through Ormiston Gorge, enjoying a splash in Ellery Creek, exploring the dry riverbed of Simpsons Gap and perhaps taking in the sunset from the hump of a camel on a saunter across the desert.

Alice Springs, Australia
Alice Springs, Australia
Northern Territory, Uluru, Outback
Short Breaks, Walking & Trekking
Physical rating
Min 8
Group size
Min 1, Max 24

Why we love this trip

  • Ormiston Gorge is an intriguing landscape of dramatic cliff walls drenched in colour

  • The waterhole of Ellery Creek is an idyllic place to take a cool, refreshing dip

  • Learn about the dream trails and stories of Simpsons Gap, an important spiritual site for the Arrarnta Aboriginal people

  • Spot rock wallabies hopping through the underbrush in the Western MacDonnell Ranges

Is this trip right for you?

  • Temperatures in the area can be extremely warm and the sun is strong. It’s important to wear sunscreen and a hat, cover exposed skin and drink plenty of water.

  • This trip involves some walking, so please wear comfortable clothing and sturdy walking shoes.


Natural beauty, historical depth and sacred significance combine in the West MacDonnell Ranges, a landscape of exceptional biodiversity less than an hour’s drive from Alice Springs. Setting out early by minibus, get the adventure into gear with a morning hike through the multicoloured rock walls of Orniston Gorge. As the sun climbs the sky, light and shade interplay across the ochre cliffs and clefts of the gully, making for a memorable sight. This landscape was often evoked in the paintings of the famous Arrernte artist Albert Namatjira, and it’s easy to see how and why it captivated his imagination. Continuing on to Ellery Creek, there’s the chance to freshen up with a dip. Then it’s on to Simpsons Gap. Arguably the prettiest gap of them all, Simpsons boasts lovely little waterholes, is populated by plenty of Black-footed Rock Wallabies and considered the mythological home of the Arrernte people’s giant goanna ancestors. The final activity for the day is a short desert camel ride during sunset. This is an optional excursion, but one that we recommend highly.

The total driving time will be about half an hour, and you will walk up to 5km.
Optional Activities
  • Sunset Camel Ride (Child) - AUD40
  • Sunset Camel Ride (Adult) - AUD70
Meals Included
  • Lunch


1 lunch


All Terrain vehicle

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. Tour commences in Alice Springs on day 1 at 7:00am and finishes in Alice Springs at approximately 6pm, later if you do the sunset camel ride
2. Sunset camel ride can be booked in advance to guarantee your place

Essential Trip Information

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