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“Beautiful location, relaxed atmosphere.” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Glen Helen Homestead Lodge

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Glen Helen Homestead Lodge
3.0 of 5 Cabin/Campground   |   Namatjira Drive | West MacDonnell Ranges, via, West MacDonnell National Park, Northern Territory 0871, Australia (Formerly Glen Helen Resort)   |  
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1 review
“Beautiful location, relaxed atmosphere.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 5, 2013

Don't go to Glen Helen expecting 5 star accomodation. It is about an hour away from Alice Springs, so you well and truly far away from civilisation. I camped in the camping area from a powered site. The amenities are basic but sufficient. The views of the gorge, which rise up over the entire property - are sensational. Sunset is a truly amazing experience there. If you are a relaxed person who enjoys nature and beauty over luxury, this is the place for you. My partner and I enjoyed everything the gorge had to offer and then ate an amazing dinner at the restaurant. It was 5 star food and we were able to wear thongs while we ate! Then we moved into the pub and enjoyed some beers and a live band which created a really nice, festive atmosphere. In the morning we woke up early and drove up to the lookout at Mt Sonder for sunrise, only 10 minutes away. I would recommend Glen Helen for any traveller. Very memorable.

  • Stayed April 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
outback_oasis, Manager at Glen Helen Homestead Lodge, responded to this review, March 7, 2013
Dear pixieyes

Thankyou very much for reviewing Glen Helen Resort.

It is wonderful when a guest really 'gets' Glen Helen. Really appreciates the quality of the experience within a simple accomodation.

We are really glad you got the most out of your stay by enjoying an excellent Restaurant experience, spending time in our Outback Pub and experiencing the great atmosphere that surrounds a night of great entertainment at Glen Helen.

We hope you return soon for another relaxing stay in our small Oasis in the Desert

Kind regards

Shelagh O'Brien
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274 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (56)
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Sydney, Australia
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 1, 2013

We spent one night here in a powered site with our campervan, couldn't wait to leave.
The sites are very closed to each other, no green and trees, no grass. The toilets are shabby and not particularly clean. There is no bbq area, only a shack with a single bbq and some basic facilities. We left as soon as we could the next morning.
Glen Helen is overrated, it was more a swamp then a swimming hole (also due to the fact that it's been very hot and didn't rain in a while when we went, so consider this when you plan your visit)
It's better staying at the MacDonnell Park in Alice and come here on a day trip.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
outback_oasis, Manager at Glen Helen Homestead Lodge, responded to this review, March 2, 2013
Dear Giulia78

We are really sorry you did not enjoy staying at Glen Helen in February. We make no secret of the fact we are a rustic outback park, set in an amazing remote location in a very arid region.

You note correctly that the sites are close together, but I doubt you had any neighbours in February as it is a low season. We do get very busy indeed and try to accomodate as many guests as we can in our peak season, hence the small sites.

At Glen Helen we do not have an abundant town water supply to provide luxuriant grass and exotic shade trees, such as is common at town parks. We do however have local endemic tree species which provide light shade, as well as a habitat for abundant native bird species.
We do in fact have grass areas for tents and camper trailers that are watered with limited recycled water to make them as comfortable for these categories of campers.

Our bathrooms are a simple transportable building, and are generally kept very clean. Certainly we ask campers to let us know if they feel the facilities are not clean, as we need to remedy this if the staff member responsible for cleaning them daily has not done a satisfactory job.
But they are once again not the solid brick and tile facililties that one gets in a town park, but are an appropriate facility for such a location.

We do have a bbq area, so I am a bit confused that you said we didnt, which has bbq, gas rings, fridge, kettle, toaster, sink etc and simple pots/pans/plastic dinnerware. There are tables and chairs nearby and the area is under a huge gum tree and is quite shady. It is not immediately near the campground but is a shared facility between Motel and campground. It is in the future plans to make an additional facility closer to the campground itself, but the current arrangement works ok for most people.

Finally your assessment of our 'swamp' is a bit funny really, because you obviously did not make the effort to walk for 5 minutes to the huge and stunning Glen Helen Gorge, which is well signposted by National Park signs! It is glorious for swimming! You could also have swum in our clean and popular swimming pool, which you may have also missed.
And yes, it doesnt rain often, we are in the desert for heavens sake!!

Glen Helen Resort campground is one of the many smaller, atmospheric camping experiences that offer something different from the rather consistent and comfortable style of town caravan parks.We offer camping at an affordable rates with simple but adequate facilities in a unique and spectacular region.

I suggest you may be better off to stick to town parks where all the facilities you expect are to be found, with a price tag to match.

Kind regards

Shelagh O'Brien
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Geneva, Switzerland
Top Contributor
66 reviews 66 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2013

From childhood I have travelled all over the place mostly from having lived in diverse places such as Samoa, South Africa, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, US, UK, Germany, Switzerland etc, and working as a diplomat and international development.

When I called Glen Helen to book and was told that the accommodation was basic, I did not worry much because we are used to sleeping in tents in all kinds of weather and locations. I did not mind the price given the remoteness. Yet, I was not prepared for what I can only describe as a horrid experience. We had driven miles along the Meenie Loop Road from Kings Canyon to get here. My main complaint is that the sheets, towels and the room smelt stale. The mattresses were lumpy and the beds sagged. Worst of all were the mice in the room who ate through one of my bags and kept me awake during the night though I moved the bag and emptied it of anything even vaguely tempting.

The redeeming feature of Glen Helen is the beauty of the surroundings. Had I been a girl scout on a camping trip I would probably enjoyed the experience. But alas, not now.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
outback_oasis, Manager at Glen Helen Homestead Lodge, responded to this review, February 27, 2013
Dear globalpilgrim1407,

Thanks for reviewing Glen Helen Resort

We are very sorry to hear that you did not find your stay at Glen Helen enjoyable.

We do our very best to have our simple rooms fresh and clean, and most people find their rooms satisfactory and comfortable

Yours is the first report of mice at the time you stayed. As we have the bush so close to the Resort, we are always a little at the mercy of nature, and occasionally have mice and insects find their way into our rooms. We do have pest control attend regularly and keep up a baiting programme, but it seems your little visitor was not put off by this. I am very sorry you had that experience.

I wonder if you spoke to any of the staff about your concerns with 'stale' smelling linen and towels?? We would have been delighted to either swap your room if possible or change your linen. It is a busy time of year in July, but we would certainly have done our best.

It is always worth having a conversation with management during your stay so we can make ammends and do what we can for you. Now 7 months have gone by, and nothing can be done to check any particular staff whose work needed improving or any other way of dealing with your issues.
Hopefully next time you have a concern about your accomodation anywhere you will do this, as I am sure it would be nicer for you to have your problems acted upon immediately, and more helpful to the Hotel to be able to correct a staff inadequacy or deficiency.

We do try to be as approachable and available as possible and personally attend to any concerns, and offer some complementary service if guests let us know that their rest has been disturbed in the way you experienced.

Kind regards
Shelagh O'Brien
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Channel islands
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 15, 2013

we stayed here for 3 nights whilst camping in our 4wd, we camped in tonnes of places through oz on our 5 week trip but this had the most terrible toilet and showers i have seen, i know we are camping but the amount we paid i expected better, and to top it off the toilets had sign to say they were cleaned daily! this was not done as the same dead moth was on the sink the time i was there. the toilets stank of sewage, the showers were not white but a horride dirty brown that wasnt ever cleaned. and the sewage pit was pretty much open so all you can do is smell sewer, yes it was hot but every other campsite managed. i wouldnt recommend for campers.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
outback_oasis, Manager at Glen Helen Homestead Lodge, responded to this review, February 27, 2013
Dear Aci_89

Thanks for your review of Glen Helen.
I was shocked and surprised at your remarks about our camp bathroom facilities. We generally have our bathrooms very clean, so your experience was unusual.

I have tried to work out what went wrong during your stay to cause a gap in regular cleaning, and

I can see that the job was allocated to a particular staff member whose work was obviously not checked during this period. We staff very low in the summer due to low visitation.

What really disappoints me however is that you did not draw your concerns to our attention immediately you noticed that the cleaning was not being done!! If you had spoken to us we would have been able to rectify the situation straight away.
It does not make sense to be miserable for 3 days then a month later write that you were disatisfied with the facilities' cleanliness!
How much better to mention it to management so we could make the rest of your stay pleasant!!

We regret that our short term problem with a cleaner marred your enjoyment of the area, as it is so beautiful here that your experience is unusual. We look forward to having another chance to welcome you to our property in the future

Kind regards

shelagh O'Brien
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Darwin, Australia
Top Contributor
280 reviews 280 reviews
101 hotel reviews
Reviews in 73 cities Reviews in 73 cities
143 helpful votes 143 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 28, 2013

I guess when you are in the 'middle of nowhere' you can't expect too much from a pub and accommodation. I visited the Glen Helen Resort on a fairly hot January day and enjoyed a fairly basic lunch at the pub. Realistically this is not a 'resort' as you would expect a resort to be and so that title is a bit misleading. It is more of a tourist park with a few tents and cabins which look as though they could do with an upgrade (at least from the outside). That said, the location is sensational. The Finke River, (right next to the resort) even after a fairly dry spell, still had water in it, enough to swim in. The Glen Helen Gorge, which is in walking distance from the pub, is pretty sensational. Our original intention was to do a helicopter tour of the region, but alas the helicopters were off till February! Nevertheless, I'd highly recommend the place for a visit. There are some great walks and magic views of the West MacDonnell ranges, well worth a look.

Room Tip: Go with few expectations and you will surely be satisfied. Stay for the location, not the rooms.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
outback_oasis, Manager at Glen Helen Homestead Lodge, responded to this review, January 29, 2013
Dear Conatus

thanks for reviewing Glen Helen.

I think you would have got a lot more out of the region and out of your visit to Glen Helen if you had stayed a couple of days and really relaxed, enjoyed our Award winning restaurant (rather than our cafe lunch) and really enjoyed our special hospitality and atmosphere. It is not always possible for us to meet and speak to all our lunch visitors.

Although our property is rustic and simple, it has a charm many have discovered and keep coming back for.
Our rooms are comfortable and well airconditioned, the bar well stocked and the Restaurant meals excellent.
We hope you will return and enjoy a visit with us soon
Kind regards
Shelagh O'Brien
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Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2013

when you book here you are told that the prices reflect its remoteness not luxury - so i went with low expectations but actually really enjoyed my stay (1 night). The view is stunning looking right out onto the river and the cliff face, we sat outside our room watching wildlife...including a dingo! The food was top class - pricey but a very very good meal. The aircon was the quietest of most the hotels we stayed in and had clearly been upgraded recently. there was water avalable and a fridge, the rooms are basic but cosy and the bed was perfectly comfortable. the staff were delightful and we had a great experience.

Room Tip: 1-8 cabins over looking the river are best
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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outback_oasis, Manager at Glen Helen Homestead Lodge, responded to this review, January 18, 2013
Dear Bexterfish

thanks for taking the time to tell others of your pleasant experience at Glen Helen Resort. We really appreciate it, and we are glad that you enjoyed a great meal, good service and some fantastic scenery.
We hope you can come again for a longer period sometime when you need to really relax and rest.

Kind regards
Shelagh O'Brien
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2013

As most say, this is a fantastic location and that's what keeps it above average despite the basic facilities and average service.

When we arrived we were mesmorised by the jaw dropping view, but a few minutes later dissapointed that we did not get a room with a river front view. They said that there were no river front availability, However, we had booked well in advance.

Then came the room. Very small and near the pool. So the tranquility of the location was ruined with 'Pool Noise'. The bathrooms need renovation badly. The sink is so small,so the only way to wash your face is to wet the entire floor. That is if your head survives a knock agaist the wall. Surely, this could have been addressed years ago.

I also got the impression that the place is understaffed as it takes hours in the queue with just day visttors who come to buy a bottle of mineral water. I think residents should get priority in service.

We spent the new years eve(2012) and they did make a great effort to put on a show(included fireworks)

I would recommend this property but be conditioned and don't have high expectations in facilities.

Room Tip: Ask specifically for a room with a river front. Use EFT POS direct debit.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
outback_oasis, Manager at Glen Helen Homestead Lodge, responded to this review, January 11, 2013
Dear Cha R

Thanks for your review

We are glad you enjoyed your visit to Glen Helen, and agree that modernising the facilities is overdue. We are still working with the landlord to try and get this happening. However we do try to have the rooms comfortably made up and clean, and have excellent airconditioning.

I think your experience was a bit coloured by coming at a peak time of the year. Yes there are a lot of people about for New Years Eve, and we are always a bit down on staff because it is pretty dead in summer for the rest of the days! So all staff are working hard and under pressure.

There were way more customers on this day than is normal. We always try to give prompt and good service to customers in a fair order, and if we are a bit snowed under there may be a short wait, but I think hours might be overstating it a bit!

On non-Peak days, you would have been able to book a River view room usually with a bit of advance planning, but for New Year' Eve people book those rooms out very fast and a long way in advance.

We hope you enjoyed seeing in the New Year with us, and that you will be back for a taste of our Outback Hospitality again soon.

Kind regards

Shelagh O'Brien
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Additional Information about Glen Helen Homestead Lodge

Address: Namatjira Drive | West MacDonnell Ranges, via, West MacDonnell National Park, Northern Territory 0871, Australia (Formerly Glen Helen Resort)
Phone Number:
Location: Australia > Northern Territory > Red Centre > West MacDonnell National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty Lodging in West MacDonnell National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Glen Helen Homestead Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 24
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Glen Helen Homestead Lodge, previously known as Glen Helen Resort is a Lodge style property with simple, compact and comfortable rooms, great scenic location with old fashioned welcome and outback atmosphere.We are renowned for great personal service, great dining in our Award Winning Restaurant and great live entertainment. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Glen Helen Homestead Lodge Australia/West MacDonnell National Park

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