West MacDonnell Ranges Caravanning

West Macdonnell Ranges Caravanning is such a diverse term and is certainly unique to every traveller. Some people will buy a caravan as an investment for regular family holidays, but then there are those who're are taking off to see every ounce of this crazy Australian landscape.

If you choose to head up the Northern Territory, then you can't can't escape caravanning in the West Macdonnell Ranges. The true Australian outback is waiting right for you, and you'll love every minute.

What's to love about this location?

You can answer this question with many points and still miss many aspects of The West MacDonnell Ranges. A glaring answer would be the breathtaking landscape. It's truly a place of unrivaled visual appeal, with iconic dusty red rocks, to the precious waterholes sneakily set amongst desert surroundings.

Where can I find this outback diamond?

The West MacDonnell Ranges is located as part of the MacDonnell Ranges, west of Alice Springs, but only a small skip away. If you begin at Alice Springs, follow Larapinta Drive (westbound). With a sealed road, this suggests a huge bonus (or not, depending on the traveller in question).

Caravanning in The West Macdonnell Ranges is a truly unique experience, and you'll leave with an understanding of the landscape which can't be imagined. Due to the expansive landscape and attractions it's important you're prepared to feel utterly exhausted after a day adventuring, but alas you can explore at your own pace.

Simpsons Gap

One of the most talked about areas of The West MacDonnell Ranges is Simpsons Gap. As the name suggests this is a gap, found among the towering rocks of Simpsons Range. However, this is not just any gap; known for fantastic walking trails and a quaint waterhole that flows through the gap. What's great about this particular spot is there are facilities, for those who're still keen to keep their amenities. Another interesting facet surrounding Simpsons Gap is the historical Aboriginal connection, as it's considered a spiritual site for the native Arrarnta people. Wildlife is ever present through Simpsons Gap, and you might get the chance to see a Black-footed Rock Wallaby.

Although a favourite spot for tourists (there is even a clear cycling track), the raw beauty is still prevalent.

Redbank Gorge

Swimming anyone? Although known for it's deathly cold waters, the Redbank Gorge is another scenic wonderland. If you're not interested in dipping into the waters, you'll find the tree lined creeks a reason to explore further. Or if you're the adventurous type, be sure to follow the water through the gorge, and experience the many tiers of refreshing tranquility. You also get the benefit of views of the fourth largest mountain in the Northern Territory, Mount Sonder. Just gazing at the expansive waterhole will leave you breathless.

Larapinta Trail – for the active caravanner

Although not for everyone, the Larapinta Trail is an iconic walking trail of The West Macdonnell Ranges and worthwhile challenge. With a distance extending 223 kilometres, this trail isn't easy, but with the right fitness and health, an unforgettable memory to take home. Due to the fact the trail is large, it is divided into sub-sections (as found in walking guides), so you can choose which areas of the trail to focus. Also an important note – the trail is accessible by vehicles, and you can elect to stay at one of the many campsites. If you have the option of tackling the Larapinta Trail during sunset, or sunrise, make it possible.

Ochre Pits

Visual wonder doesn't stop at the mountainous landscape or at least the architectural aspect. Instead, the Ochre Pits will allow you to get in touch with your inner artist, with earthly colours splashed along the walls of the cliffs. Enthralled by the incredible artwork of the Arrarnta people, please don't touch, it's a sacred site. It's one of those times we observe beauty without corrupting it.

Fact about Ochre: Utilized since pre-historic times and an important tool/element of Aboriginal artwork.

If you're looking to escape into the wild landscape of Australia, you won't find a more visceral experience than heading into the Northern Territory, with the West Macdonnell Ranges ready to be explored. Make sure you leave yourself enough time to appreciate every inch of this rocky wonderland.

Places To Stay
Caravan Parks:
1 Namatjira Drive, Alice Springs NT 0872

Glen Helen Homestead Lodge:

  • Powered and Unpowered Sites
  • BBQ Facilities
  • Swimming Pool
  • Pets Welcome

Phone: 08 8956 7489
Fax: 08 8956 7495
Email: res@glenhelen.com.au

Menu: A wide range of food is available at Glen Helen Homestead Lodge

Campsites and Campgrounds
Banks of the Finke River

Finke River Rest Area (Free Camping)

10 Sites available

Pets Allowed

Ellery Creek Big Hole
Access via Larapinta and Namatjira Drives

Limited spots available

Pets Not Allowed

Ridge Top -Redbank Gorge Campground

10 Spots Available

Pets Not Allowed

Places to Eat

Unlike small towns and coastal areas, eateries are fairly slim in the West MacDonnell Ranges. If you're looking a bit of variety, it's best to head straight into Alice Springs. Or if you're staying at the Glen Helen Homestead Lodge then you'll already be set for tucker.

Barra on Todd Resturant and Bar

Cuisine: Seafood

Opening times: Open for breakfast 6 am to 10 am, lunch 11.30am to 5.30pm, dinner 6 pm to 9 pm during winter and 6.30pm to 9.30pm during summer.

Where: Chifley Alice Springs Resort, 34 Stott Terrace, Alice Springs, Northern Territory, 0870, Australia

Coolamon Cafe

Cuisine: Cakes, Coffee, Lunch Refreshments

Opening Times: 9 am – 5 pm 7 days a week.

Where: Alice Springs Desert Park, Larapinta Drive, Alice Springs, Northern Territory, 0870, Australia