What to expect when heading WEST of ALICE SPRINGS

What to expect when heading WEST of ALICE SPRINGS

There is much to discover when heading west from Alice Springs. Here are a few travel tips

- Glen Helen Gorge

- Ellery Creek Big Hole

Heading west on Larapinta Drive, you'll see signs for the following (in order):

- Simpson's Gap

- Stanley Chasm

At this point there's a turnoff for Bullen Road which loops back towards Alice Springs and passes through Honeymoon gap. If you decide not to take that turnoff, a little further on the road splits: Larapinta continues southeast and Namatjira continues northeast. They are both sealed roads, which form a fork which is connected on the ends by a dirt road.

On Namatjira you see:

- Ellery Creek Big Hole

- Serpentine Gorge

- The Ochre Pits

- Ormiston Gorge - has a serviced camping area and a permanent ranger station. It's a permanent waterhole.

- Glen Helen Gorge - end of the road, literally. All after this are 4WD. Glen Helen Resort is located there and has a Cafe, restaurant, camping, accommodation.

Past Glenn Helen is a 4wd track which leads west, then south to meet up with the end of Larapinta. A permit is required; on the 4wd track you'll find:

- Redbank Gorge

- Roma Gorge - Aboriginal rock art.

- Haast's Bluff

- Tyler's Pass

- Gosse Bluff and Gosse Crater, also known as Tnorala - a massive meteor crater. Registered sacred ground, a premit is required to travel the road (available at Kings Canyon, Hermansburg and probably Glen Helen) and overnight camping is NOT permitted. It's not on the direct road from Alice to Uluru, but on the Merini loop road. There's 4WD tracks, picnic tables, and walking tracks. The dreamtime story told is worth a read; it's really an amazing place.

The next stop down is Hermansburg, which is the far end of the sealed Larapinta Drive. The following are the points of interest leading back into town from the end of Larapinta:

- Hermansburg - a small aboriginal art community, famous for their pottery and painting, for being the home of Albert Namatjira. It's the site of an old Lutheran mission; there's a small museum. Sealed roads all the way.

- Palm Valley - short 4wd side-track off Larapinta. It's fun to get there and there is a nice walking track through the valley which takes about 3-4 hours.

- Wallace Rockhole - short 4wd side-track off Larapinta

- Owen Springs - 4WD track which connects Larapinta to the south stewart Highway; some ruins and scenic areas.

- The Finke River Track is a really lovely 4WD track which leads south from Hermansburg - but should definitely only be used by experienced four-wheel drivers, as there's every hazard you can imagine for a four wheel drive vehicle. Heads south towards King's Canyon. Track is not marked! Boggy Hole is the man destination camping site for the Finke River Track.

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