9. West MacDonnell Ranges Small Group Tour
Depart your Alice Springs accommodation at approximately at 7.30 AM and visit the 'West Macs'- a stunning natural wonder. Learn about this prehistoric mountain range - broken by a series of gorges and chasms - from your guide on the drive. First stop is Simpsons Gap, which offers a short, easy walk to a waterhole (no swimming), rich in native wildlife. Follow the dry creek bed and massive River Red Gums to a dramatic gap in the range, featuring towering cliffs on either side. Keep your eyes out for the famous colony of adorable Black-footed Rock Wallabies!
Standley Chasm (Angkerle) is up next, a perfect place to stop for morning tea. This picturesque walk, suitable for all fitness levels, winds through a beautiful oasis, lush with an amazing array of native plants including cycads and ancient pines. The walk finishes with an astonishing view of the sheer quartzite walls rising more than 60m on each side of the narrow chasm. Then, see Ellery Creek Big Hole: the biggest and deepest waterhole in Central Australia. It offers superb swimming (summer months only) and scenery unlike anywhere else, and is only a few minutes’ walk from the car park.
Visit the Ochre Pits, where Aboriginal people have been mining ochre for thousands of years and still use ochre today for medicinal, ceremonial, and spiritual purposes. The vivid colours make for excellent photographs so bring your camera. You will also stop at Mt Sonder Lookout, which is a stunning 360 ⁰ vista overlooking one of the most picturesque sections of the Finke River: a favourite spot for photographers and landscape painters.
Stop for a gourmet picnic lunch, before visiting Ormiston Gorge’s spectacular scenery. A string of beautiful waterholes emerges from the immense gorge, carved by a once mighty river. The deep, permanent waterhole offers excellent swimming (summer months only) and a stunning lookout to see abundant wildlife. Finally, on your way back to Alice, make a brief stop at the famous John Flynn Memorial before drop off at your accommodation in Alice Springs at around 5:30 pm.