The MacDonnell Ranges on the Doorstep

Alice Springs is located at the base of the MacDonnell Ranges which stretch for over 400km in an east-west direction in parallel ridges with flat valleys between. They were formed through massive earth movements some 300 million years ago, breaking up what was then a sea bed as fossil remains testify. Being so old and weathered, generally they extend up only around 300 metres from the valley floor but are a sensational sight 

The MacDonnell Ranges provide a majestic backdrop to Alice Springs and provide a host of permanent water holes, stunning gorges and beautiful ancient ridges and peaks. The Ranges run for more than 640km’s in an east - west direction and are separated by Heavitree Gap, or Ntaripe to the local Arrernte, into the East MacDonnell and West MacDonnell Ranges. It is through ‘The Gap’ that the Stuart Highway and the rail line run through making Alice Springs accessible from the south. 

They were formed through massive earth movements some 300 million years ago, breaking up what was then a sea bed as fossil remains testify. Being so old and weathered, they generally extend up to only around 300 metres from the valley floor but are a sensational sight, particularly the way the strata has been tilted through nearly 90 degrees and then worn into beautiful bands in many stretches.  

The West MacDonnell’s are by far the most popular amongst tourists and locals with attractions like Ellery Creek Big Hole, Ormiston Gorge, Redbank Gorge, Standley Chasm, Glen Helen Gorge, etc, although there are some gems to be discovered in the East Macs as well such as Emily Gap, Jessie Gap and Trephina Gorge.  

The Larapinta Trail is a walking track that runs for 223km’s along the backbone of the West MacDonnell Ranges and is gaining a world class reputation as one of the great walks to be had on the planet.