About the West MacDonnell Ranges
The panoramic landscapes of the MacDonnell Ranges stretch along three hundred kilometres. On the West, the immensity and the spectacular array of sunburnt oranges, maroons and purples are never unnoticed. Yet to truly appreciate the West MacDonnell’s’, you must explore the ranges' rugged gorges, gaps and chasms to experience the unspoiled serenity of this region. Bush Walking, cycling and driving are the options to reach these places.
GORGES AND CHASMS
Each of the West Mac Donnells' chasms and gorges has its own unique character and scenery.
At Simpsons Gap, a permanent pool and possibly catch sight of the rock wallabies that live in the gap's rocky ridges. Stand in Standley Chasm as it lights up in fiery oranges reflected by the overhead sun. Plunge in for a swim at the picturesque waterholes at Ellery Creek Big Hole, Ormiston Gorge, Glen Helen Gorge and Redbank Gorge. Or visit the Ochre Pits, which desert Aboriginal people used as a quarry for ochre, a valuable traditional material used for paintings and ceremonial body decorations.
The desert rivers and the nutrient-rich areas that run alongside them are ribbons of favourable habitat in the arid environment of the West Mac Donnell. Pulses of activity are a feature of life here, floods bring change and rebirth for many aquatic animals. The Finke River is the main drainage river of the West MacDonnell Ranges with the Hugh River and Ellery Creek being the main tributaries of the Finke which empties into the Simpson Desert down stream some 1,000kms.
GLEN HELEN RESORT
Sitting on the banks of the Finke River is sited on one of the original homestead sites for Glen Helen Station. Offering rustic air conditioned accommodation in a scenically beautiful wilderness area and renown for it’s friendly staff, Glen Helen Resort is one of those hidden gems you un-expectantly find in the bush.
If the sand country is the land of the lizards, then the riverine habitat is the land of the birds where they can find trees to be perched and nest. The never ending and varied bird chatter can be experienced around any desert waterhole and creek line.