Outback Elite Tours’ Classic West MacDonnell Ranges tour visits the same places that the big companies do, but because we are a small outfit, we add a personal touch and we do it in style. Our guides have years of experience in the Outback and we have a passion and a knowledge base the big guys just can’t match.
We leave Alice Springs at approximately at 7.30 am and return to Alice Springs at around 5:30 pm. Please be ready at least 10 minutes before your pick up
The West Macs are a stunning natural wonder that deserves to be as famous as nearby Uluru and King’s Canyon. In fact, this spectacular National Park is soon expected to be World Heritage listed. It really is that good!
This prehistoric mountain range is broken by a series of gorges and chasms and is dotted with beautiful waterholes, and isolated pockets of wildlife and plants found nowhere else in the world. Relicts of when these rugged mountains once towered over a tropical landscape. Known as Toritja to the local Arrente Aboriginal people, it is rich with ancient creation stories and sacred sights.
- Simpsons Gap: this gorgeous spot, popular with Alice Springs locals, offers a short, easy walk to a waterhole (no swimming) rich in native wildlife. Follow the dry creek bed and massive River Red Gums to a dramatic gap in the range, featuring towering cliffs on either side. Keep your eyes out for the famous colony of adorable Black-footed Rock Wallabies!
- Standley Chasm (Angkerle): a perfect place to stop for morning tea. This picturesque walk, suitable for all fitness levels, winds through a beautiful oasis, lush with an amazing array of native plants; including cycads and ancient pines. It follows a permanent trickle of water that was once the surging floodwaters that created the natural alleyway of the chasm. The walk finishes with an astonishing view of the sheer quartzite walls rising more than 60m on each side of the narrow chasm.
- Ellery Creek Big Hole: the biggest and deepest waterhole in Central Australia, visitors are always amazed that this natural wonder exists in Outback Australia. It offers superb swimming (summer months only) and scenery unlike anywhere else, and is only a few minutes’ walk from the car park.
- Ochre Pits: Aboriginal people have been mining ochre from this site for thousands of years and still use ochre today for medicinal, ceremonial, and spiritual purposes. Learn how this beautiful natural resource was a vital part of everyday traditional Aboriginal life. This unique place is a registered sacred site and one of the largest ochre deposits in Australia. The vivid colours make for excellent photographs so bring your camera.
- Mt Sonder Lookout: we drive up to this stunning 360 ⁰ vista overlooking one of the most picturesque sections of the Finke river. Towards the west, Mt Sonder dominates the skyline. A favourite spot for photographers and landscape painters.
- Glen Helen: the historic Homestead is the perfect place to stop for lunch (choose a main from the menu). Nestled on the banks of the Finke river, with the towering cliffs of the MacDonnell Ranges as a backdrop. In the summer months, take the short walk down to the lovely waterhole for a swim next to the striking Glen Helen Gorge.
- Ormiston Gorge: the spectacular scenery features the soaring cliffs of an ancient mountain range and the incredible rock formations it has left behind. A string of beautiful waterholes emerges from the immense gorge, carved by a once mighty river. A variety of walks lead to a deep, permanent waterhole that offers excellent swimming (summer months only), or up to a stunning lookout. The gorge also has abundant wildlife, including Black-footed Rock Wallabies and remarkably diverse birdlife. As a result, Ormiston has become a must-see on any visit to the West Macs.
- Finally, on our way back to Alice, we’ll make a brief stop at the famous John Flynn Memorial and drop you off at your accommodation in the late afternoon
More Tours by Outback Elite Tours
- Small group guaranteed Maximum 10 passengers
- Friendly and accredited guide
- Modern air-conditioned 4WD vehicle
- Snacks, fruit and complimentary water throughout the day
- Complimentary accommodation pick-up and drop-off
- Entry fee to Standley Chasm
- 1.5 l water bottle
- Morning Tea
- Lunch at Glen Helen
- Travel Insurance