The MacDonnell Ranges, a mountain range and an interim Australian bioregion, is located in the Northern Territory, comprising 3,929,444 hectares (9,709,870 acres). The range is a 644 km (400 mi) long series of mountains located in the centre of Australia, and consist of parallel ridges running to the east and west of Alice Springs. The mountain range contains many spectacular gaps and gorges as well as areas of aboriginal significance.
The ranges were named after Sir Richard MacDonnell (the Governor of South Australia at the time) by John McDouall Stuart, whose 1860 expedition reached them in April of that year. The Horn Expedition investigated the ranges as part of the scientific expedition into central Australia. Other explorers of the range included David Lindsay and John Ross.
We rented a car and headed for the beautiful West MacDonnell Ranges videos and visited the attractions below:
First stop is Angkerle (Standley Chasm). Take a walk along the stony watercourse, where spring-fed pools attract a great variety of wildlife and birds.
Next you’ll arrive at Ellery Creek Big Hole, a spectacular waterhole in the mighty Ellery Creek, which cuts through a gorge in the West MacDonnell Ranges. Thousands of years of massive floods have carved out this beautiful waterhole and unlocked some amazing geology.
Ochre has been used all over the world for decoration and painting since pre-historic times. At this location you can see the natural ochres in the cliff face that have provided a source of materials for Indigenous people for thousands of years.
Ormiston Gorge offers all the spectacular geology and landforms of the Tjoritja/MacDonnell Ranges. The rugged scenery of the gorge is complemented by a near-permanent waterhole, which attracts an interesting variety of native fauna and flora.
The permanent waterhole here is home to many species of animals, including a variety of water birds and fish.
Surrounded by towering cliffs, incredible Simpsons Gap is one of the best known destinations in the ranges and features a number of walking tracks. Walk through Simpsons Gap to the waterhole, keeping an eye out for the elusive black-footed rock wallabies hiding among the rocks. Enjoy the late afternoon sun reflecting on the MacDonnell Ranges as you return to Alice Springs.