If you think there's nothing to see in the Red Centre of Australia
apart from Ululu, Alice Springs and lots of red desert, then you don't
know about the MacDonnell ranges. Stretching for 400km from east-west
in a series of parallel ranges, the East and West MacDonnell Ranges
straddle the town of Alice Springs, which sits alongside a gap between
The long term erosive work of streams in the ranges has created a
magnificent series of dramatic gaps and gorges which are easy to access
from Alice Springs and are truly a photographer's delight.
The majority of the natural attractions that visitors come to see
are in the West MacDonnell Ranges, however the eastern branch still has
plenty of natural wonders to enthral the visitor. Tours of the ranges
operate from Alice Springs, taking in each section of the range in day
and half day tours. All the well known attractions are serviced by well
maintained sealed roads that are suitable to drive any kind of vehicle
along. For the best photographs, we recommend visiting the gorges in
the afternoon when the light on the rocks is far better than in the
Access to the Eastern MacDonnell Ranges is via the Ross Highway
which is sealed for the first 75kms. The unsealed road continues to
Ross River Homestead and Arltunga.
Emily And Jessie Gaps
Two creek-worn gaps in the MacDonnell Ranges quite close to Alice
Springs. Both sites have great significance in the Aboriginal Yipirinya
Dreaming story for Alice Springs, being the location where the
Caterpillar ancestors met.
Corroboree Rock Conservation Reserve
A small reserve about 50 km from Alice Springs that contains a rock
outcrop of great significance to the Eastern Arrernte people, being a
site where initiation ceremonies took place.
85 km east of Alice Springs, Trephina Gorge is recognised as the
most attractive of the natural features in the Eastern MacDonnell
Ranges. Its stunning scenery includes huge River Red Gums, sandy creek
beds, semi-permanent waterholes and towering rocky bluffs. Trephina
Gorge is noted for its sheer quartzite cliffs and broad, river red gum
lined, sandy watercourses (Ross River flows through it); two gorges
dissect the range.