The first brief
stop in the Northern Territory was a visit to Uluru and Kata Tjuta
back in 94. A second
trip to Australia brought us to Darwin and a visit of Litchfield
National Park in
95, and finally a major stop in the central deserts region
was undertaken in
99. This is also where the journey is starting,
leaving Alice Springs,
or Alice as called by the locals, in a 4 WD camper
the West MacDonnell Ranges. The first stops are Simpsons Gap
and Standley Chasm.
Simpsons Gap, a narrow
gorge, is about 20 km from Alice and a popular place for a picnic.
The red vertical
walls of Standley Chasm offer spectacular sights.
the next major stop on Namatjira Drive are Ellery creek big hole,
and the Ochre pits before arriving at Ormiston gorge
to stop for the
Ellery creek big
hole as well as Serpentine gorge offer good opportunities
for a cold swim
during summer. The Ochre pits are an important place for the
still use the yellow ochre found here.
Ormiston gorge with
its cliffs, gum trees and a water hole is an excellent
place to discover
this part of the MacDonnells and the wildlife.
The next stops enroute
to the Mereenie Loop road is Glen Helen gorge
and the homestead.
The sealed road ends here so be prepared and ensure to
have obtained the
necessary permit to drive on Mereenie Loop road opened in 94 only.
About 20 km further
west, you reach the turn off to Red Bank Gorge. The gorge itself
is about a 30 minutes
walk from the car park through a creek bed. As the water pool in the
narrow gorge, surrounded
by high rock walls, is rather cold, an air mattress or similar
is a good alternative
to get through it and enjoy the magnificent colors and atmosphere.
Continuing the way,
you pass Gosse Bluff, a huge crater caused by a comet millions of
years ago. Tnorala
as the Aborigines call this place, is a sacred place and only
limited access is
possible. The road towards Tnorala is for 4 WD only.
If Finke Gorge Ntl
Park is the next stop (again 4 WD only), ensure to fill up
your car in Hermannsburg.
If continuing to
Finke Gorge Ntl Park, ensure to fill up your car in Hermannsburg.
Finke Gorge is popular
for its rare palms and is one of Central Australia's
most beautiful wilderness
areas. Palm valley is a narrow gorge where rare palms
grow up to 25 meters
high. This Ntl park can only be acceeded by 4 WD.
Early morning or
late afternoon offer the best views.
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