Ormiston Gorge and Pound

Ormiston Gorge and Pound showcase the spectacular geology and landforms of the MacDonnell Ranges. A must for visitors to those ranges, it has camping facilities, a safe place to swim and numerous walks of differing lengths, thus making it an ideal all-day destination as well as a stopping off point on a day tour through the ranges,

Location: approximately 135 kilometres west of Alice Springs.

The cubist-like rock formations tower over the massive pound, making this a spectacular and unique place in the centre. The gorge has a near-permanent waterhole, estimated to be up to 14m deep at its southern end. The area contains an inter5esting variety of native fauna and flora including a number of relict plant species remaining from a tropical past. The rediscovery of the long-tailed dunnart and the central rock rat makes the park an important fauna refuge. The park is accessible all year round and although the water is still cool in summer, the temperature can soar on the exposed walking trails. The cooler months (April to October) are the most pleasant.

Ormiston Pound is a ring of mountains punctuating the MacDonnell Ranges. It lies at roughly the half way point in the celebrated Larapinta Trail and offers spectacular views from its circumference of Mount Sonder, Gosses Bluff crater and the surrounding range. The Pound, a ring of mountains, is dominated by Mount Giles, which forms its eastern boundary. The western boundary is formed by the Ormiston Gorge, a popular tourist destination. The entire pound ecompasses 46.55 square kilometres. The famous Finke River passes Ormiston Gorge in the west.


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The seven kilometre long Ormiston Pound walk is a full circuit from the visitor centre. It is also a windy and undulating walk from the gorge to Hilltop Lookout. From the lookout onwards, along the rim of the gorge, the area flattens out a little. There are a number of creek and river crossings to complete as walkers make their way down onto the flat floor of the pound, returning along the gorge via the main waterhole. An extended walk adds 2 km to the trek and takes 4 hours to complete.

The 1.5 hour Ghost Gum Walk takes you around the lake and offers a spectacular view of the surroundings. It got its name by the ghost gums, trees with a white trunk that shines brightly under the moonlight against the red rocks, which makes the whole area quite spooky at night. Other walks in the area contain interesting collections of regional native flora, including a number of relic plant species remaining from a tropical past. Camping and caravanning fees apply.

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