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“Not to be missed” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Tjoritja/West MacDonnell National Park

Tjoritja/West MacDonnell National Park
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Alice Springs Camel Tour
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
30 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Not to be missed”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 July 2014

Definitely a place you MUST go!!!

Not as busy as Uluru and even Kings Canyon, but most definitely spectacular!!!
One day trip options are available but if the weather allows maybe you can go for a couple of days and spend more time in the amazing gorges and water holes and go for a swim.

Visited June 2014
1 Thank 0Raquel0
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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20 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Alice Springs, Australia
Level Contributor
1,921 reviews
1,122 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6,098 helpful votes
“Attraction with the most satisfaction”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 April 2014

The West MacDonnell ranges will provide you with a memorable day out in regards to spectacular views, swimming spots (depending on the time of year) and some remarkable photography.
You can choose to self-drive or take one of the few available day tours with hotel pick up.
Self-driving, gives you more flexibility, but both are worth the visit depending on time and costs.

All gorges are accessible by 2WD and following Namatjira Dve out of Alice Springs.

Your first stop on the right is Simpsons Gap, 20km from town.
Only a short walk from the car park and starting early morning, you may spot some of the rock wallabies along the cliffs.

Stanley Chasm is operated under the management and on behalf of Angkerle Aboriginal Corporation. There is a $10 P/P entry fee which supports this significant and important cultural site. A 20 minute walk to the 30 metre towering cliffs is fairly easy now due to recent upgrades.
The best viewing is during the middle of the day when the cliffs have an ambient glow from the sun which only lasts about an hour.
You can stop here for lunch at the cafe, or bring your own picnic.
Later parts and beyond, of this walk, are part of the Larapinta trail.
This is also the only site/gorge you will need to pay an entry fee for.

After Stanley Chasm, to enjoy the best views and afternoon light for photography, drive all the way to the end of the ranges to Glen Helen gorge. Fuel, Pub, Food, Take-Away, Accommodation, Camping, even Helicopter flights are available from here.
The gorge is an easy 10 minute walk and do lookout for the local lizards and the occasional snake. You can swim here and is almost always is fine to do so.

Now head back towards Alice Springs for all the areas you have passed on your way to Glen Helen.
Drive for about 10km and look for the turnoff to Ormiston Gorge on your left.
Follow the sealed road to the many parking sites, a cafe with limited opening times, toilets, (no drinkable water), BBQ area's and camping available. There are a few walks here including around the gorge, or take the Ghost gum walk with around 200+ steps to view from the top.

About 23km from Ormiston you will find the Ochre Pits on the left hand side, which is another sacred site of the local Arrarnta people and was/is used for local painting with colours of purple, red, orange, yellow and white. Some great photographs during the morning and certainly, beautiful photography in the afternoon sun.

A further 13km or so, you will find the Serpentine gorge turnoff, again on your left.
This gorge is omitted by all the tour companies, (that I know off).
Not only due to time constraints and with several walks available, but mainly due to the 1.5km walk to the gorge, being through the bush, or the hard walk to the lookout, it would be impossible to get you back in time to Alice Springs before dark.

The Ellery Creek Big Hole turnoff is about 10km on your left.
This area has become a big local swimming and camping area, especially due to recent expansion over the years with upgrades to toilets, showers and camping facilities.
A great cool-off swim in a sandy bottom gorge after a long trek is worth it though.
Beware...it is almost always cold.

Travel around 83km, back to Alice Springs.

To really enjoy this trip and to take in all the sites, walks, experiences, many that I have not mentioned, you will definitely need more than a day!

Visited November 2013
21 Thank 1TraveltheWorld
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“West MacDonnell Ranges with Alice Wanderer; Excellent but a bit pricy”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 November 2013

Had a great trip to West MacDonnell Ranges with Alice Wanderer.
We visited a broad variety of places, such as Simpsons Gap, Orcher Fields, a viewing platform on whch you could overview the landscape, other viewing spots and a lake where you could swim, if you preferred to do so.
The tour guide had excellent knowledge and was humorous, which made it a great trip, despite the fact the most attendants were 40 years and older. Therefore, you shouldn't expect long hikes, as they are kept short to no longer than 30 minutes. This is a complete contrast to the long hikes you do when visiting Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon, but as there are so many places to see, it is still the best compromise.

Is there enough water & food?
Yes, there is definitely enough water and food available, all inclusive. There will be a morning and an afternoon tea, as well as lunch, which consits of a delicious sandwich and some dessert.

What about the vehicle / safety?
The vehicle was held in good condition and I always felt safe on the road. It features air conditioning, as well as seat belts.

Is the place worth a visit, if you already made a 3 day tour at Uluru?
Yes, it is, as this place is completly different to Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon. However, it is not a real 'must have seen' place. But if you need to spend another night in Alice Springs, in order to get a cheaper flight, e.g. with Tigerair (from $79 on sale), this trip might possibly be the best option.

Visited November 2013
Thank Martin L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
218 reviews
99 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 85 helpful votes
“This is a very special part of the world..let alone Australia”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 October 2013

Some great stops as you drive on what is a surprisingly good road from Glen Helen to Alice...all hardtop. There is some serious Geology going on in those hills and they are very impressive. Glen Helen itself is a good stop and it is a good place to fuel up with food and wander into the Gorge. Any fuel out this way is expensive so just bear that in mind...there is fuel which is advantage..but you need a mortgage to buy it. Ormiston Gorge is a good stop and a great swimming hole (pretty cold I must say but worth it). Ellery Big Hole is an even better stop and swim and a nice place to hang out for a bit. Standley Chasm I have to say was a bit of a let down...the 25 metres of Gorge is cool enough but the $25 for the family to walk along to it is a bit rich considering everything else on offer. Simpsons gap closer to Adelaide is worth a drive up to and you can only guess how glad Simpson was to find that gap in the range.

Visited October 2013
Thank DiverDanSydney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kiah, NSW, Australia
Level Contributor
37 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles 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.

Visited July 2013
2 Thank KiahJennyRobb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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