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“Stunning, unique scenery”
Review of MacDonnell Ranges

MacDonnell Ranges
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West MacDonnell Ranges Day Trip from Alice Springs
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Canberra, Australia
Level Contributor
113 reviews
38 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 178 helpful votes
“Stunning, unique scenery”
Reviewed April 24, 2012

The Macdonnell Ranges are a stunning natural attraction that give the lie to the popular misconception that the so-called "dead heart" of Australia is a featureless desert.
We were perhaps lucky to visit so soon after good rains had brought the Red Centre to life, but even without the greenery the gorges, chasms and waterholes were beautiful.
If time, or budget does not allow, the closest of the major features, Simspon's Gap, is perhaps the highlight of the ranges. A short dive from Alice, and a short walk from the carpark brings you to this lovely little gap in the ranges which has no entry charge. With your own vehicle it can easily be seen in a 2 hour round trip, perhaps as a further stop after visiting the Desert Park (which is on the same route) and Flynn's grave.
The next stop, Standley Chasm, is the only one with an entry charge, but it is also the only one with a small kiosk selling food and drink. The walk in from the gorge is not easy, and won't be an option for anyone in a wheelchair, or who can't manage a 40 minute, often involving small climbs and walks across rocks and dry creek beds..
Make sure you time your visit for midday. This will also mean you share your visit with all the other tourists, but it is worth it, as the sun sets of explosions of red and orange along the Chasm walls, which change by the minute.
Our final stop was Ellery Creek Big Gorge, which is close to the highway and again free to visit. There are toilets and camping here, and the gorge is a safe and pleasant way to cool off at the end of a big drive.

Visited April 2012
3 Thank LucyKate
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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366 reviews from our community

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English first
Midwestern State, USA
Level Contributor
121 reviews
32 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 87 helpful votes
“I love reviewing geologic features”
Reviewed April 18, 2012

These mountains formed in a really excellent geologic event in the Paleozoic, WITHIN a tectonic plate (!). That is very strange for mountain-building, and I would therefore say that these are among the best -- if not the very best -- intraplate mountains in the world. The scenery is also great, and it is very fun to explore the various gaps, chasms, and gorges in both the west and east MacDonnell Ranges. Please don't make me choose whether I like the west or east part of the range better; I cannot decide. Both are great.

Visited April 2012
1 Thank Esker4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
87 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Simpsons Gap”
Reviewed April 14, 2012

Beautiful! Only had time to visit here and not other sights but would have loved to see more.

Visited April 2012
1 Thank Mandy C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
21 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“absolutely stunning!”
Reviewed April 13, 2012

Don't miss the MacDonnell Ranges which easily beat any of the other places in the Centre!

Visited January 2012
1 Thank SydneyKimCT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“MacDonnell Ranges”
Reviewed April 5, 2012

It was a good hike to a lovely spot, and it gave us a view of Alice Springs from one of the stops.

Visited March 2012
1 Thank Roberta C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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