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Tjoritja/West MacDonnell National Park
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Ayers Rock Day Trip from Alice Springs Including Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Sunset...
Reviewed 3 September 2013

We went into just about every gorge along the way, camping at Ellery Waterhole, Ormiston Gorge then around to Palm Valley (Finke Gorge National Park) which is out of this world and on to Kings Canyon. The bottom walk is nice but nothing special, but the rim walk is fantastic and worth the effort. Start reasonaly early to avoid the heat.

2  Thank KiahJennyRobb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 28 January 2013

I travelled along Ranges with my son who was visiting from Tasmania on a fairly hot day in January. What I like about this trip is that there are so many places to stop and look, walk or swim. While you can do a bushwalk along the whole Range from Alice Springs to Mt Sonder (called the Larapinta Trail) for the average tourist, the drive is a good alternative that doesn't require a lot of exertion. I particularly enjoyed Ormiston Gorge, Serpentine Gorge and Ellery Creek Big Hole, probably because of the combination of water, red rocks and blue sky. You can't go past Ellery Creek for a swim. The water is deep and wide (200m from one side to the other) and it is just so relaxing. There are no park entry charges unless you call in at Standley Chasm, which is operated by a local Aboriginal Corporation. Simpson's Gap is also well worth a look.

3  Thank conatus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 April 2012

This is a must if you have a spare day and are visiting the Red Centre. The scenery is breathtaking and remember to take your bathers as the swimming holes you visit are very safe and very spectacular. Lunch provided was most enjoyable and more than sufficient. Book the 10 hour tour through Alice Wanderer Tours. Ask for Nathan Way as your tour guide. For a young man his passion for his job and his country was inspiring. He was extremely knowledgable on the area and he looked after all his 20 passengers throughout the entire day. His congeniality combined with the breathtaking scenrey made for a great day.

1  Thank Henschko
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 December 2011

Some of the gorges West of Alice Springs are superb. Most of the better ones are on the Western track and my only disappointment was Standly Chasm. The surroundings were poorly looked after and toilets were filthy, possibly because it is run by the indigenous population. Ormiston Gorge and Ellery Creek were my favourites but the other ones were also quite stunning especially for photography. If travelling further out this road I do not recommend you stay at Glen Helen Resort. I have put a review separately. It is a lovely location but the rooms were filthy, food awful and very much overpriced. Just drive back to Alice Springs and save money.

2  Thank Malcolm K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 October 2009

Far away in the West MacDonnell Ranges lies one of the scenic wonders of the Red Centre that only sees a fraction of the visitors that take in the more famous attractions of Uluru and Kata-Tjuta. Ormiston Gorge and Ormiston Pound offer the visitor the chance to escape the busy tourist areas, and simply enjoy an outback experience like no other.

A favourite weekend getaway of mine is the Glen Helen Resort, which offers a range of accommodation from camping to air-conditioned motel rooms. The Finke River runs past the back of the resort where, each evening, the walls of the gorge glow with the warmth of the afternoon sun. Here you’ll find the permanent waterhole that provides a habitat for a wide variety of plants and animals rare in this region.

Only a short drive away is Ormiston Gorge, with its sheer cliff walls reaching up to great heights. The stunning geological features of this place must provide great excitement for those with the knowledge. The rest of us can only marvel at the natural forces that combined to create these features.

The Gorge is an excellent place to see the endangered black-footed Rock Wallaby. These pint-sized marsupials have specially adapted feet that allow them to bound across rocky surfaces with ease. They’re also very used to the visitor here, and show little fear towards you as you pass by. Morning or evening is the best place to view them, as they come down from where they’ve been sheltering to feed. During the day it takes a keen eye to spot them napping under a rocky overhang, safe from the heat of the sun, and the peering eyes of wedge-tailed eagles.

The gorges boulder strewn floor can be quite difficult to negotiate at times, however there are sandy patches that make you feel like you’re at the beach. There is another waterhole here that during dry times can almost completely dry up. By the way you’re welcome to swim in the waters here, and at Glen Helen. Perfect for a hot day, which we get a lot of around here!

After about two kilometres the narrow Gorge opens up into the wide expanse of Ormiston Pound. The floor of the pound is littered with piles of boulders, remnants of the massive geological upheaval that created this formation. A few stunted trees struggle to survive here in what at times is an extremely harsh environment. The exception here is the large river red gums that grow along the creek that flows through the pound, but only after heavy rain.

The pound walk begins and ends at the Visitor Centre, where there are displays on the formation of the gorge, and about the creatures that inhabit it. It takes around four hours to complete, and is of moderate grade. Just outside of the pounds’ walls is a lookout which gives you a panoramic view of the pound. After taking in this stunning vista, take time to just close you eyes and just drift away, where the only sounds you hear are the wind and the birdlife.

Whilst the first part of the pound walk can be quite busy with people, the further you get into gorge the quieter it gets. In fact you’ll be luck to meet a handful of walkers after this section, and for most of the time you’ll be on your own, just enjoying the beauty.

It’s this solitude that makes this place unique, and it only takes a short time to let everything go, and just soak up the atmosphere. It certainly is a special place to me, and I hope by sharing this experience with you, you’ll take a little extra time when you’re in the West Macs to get out and explore! Want to know more – just ask me!

1  Thank TeeDeeNT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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