West MacDonnell Ranges #2

On Wednesday we headed off to see another couple of features of the MacDonnell Ranges. The first stop was Standley Chasm, Angkerle Atwatye to the aborigines. The chasm is owned by an aboriginal tribe so you have to pay a separate entrance fee. It is named after Mrs Standley who was the first school teacher at Alice Springs and worked there from 1914 to 1928. To visit all the other places in the national parks you purchase a two week pass for $30. The walk in is quite beautiful on a dirt path that is reasonably flat and smooth. There are Cycads scattered in the bush some of which are up to 1000 years old. The trunks on these are massive. The cycads have a special place in the aboriginal folk law.

Plants, bushes and trees somehow find a foothold in the very rocky terrain and this gum tree shows.

The path was very beautiful with a photo opportunity at every corner. The following were taken on the walk in.

In the next photo you can see some cycads on the hill opposite the path.

We didn’t know about the best times to view the chasm but we arrived at it at 12 noon which was right at the best time as the sun only lights up the walls for about an hour at noon. The rock walls are so rugged , it is a wonderful sight.

At the end of the chasm is a small rock pool.

Along the walk in were many wildflowers, here is a selection.

We walked out and stopped for a refreshing ginger beer in the delightful open cafe that is at the start of the walk, then it was off to Simpsons Gap.which is 40 Km closer to Alice Springs and only 10 Km out of the town. By the way all of the places we visited are on the same road that runs west from Alice Springs. Simpson’s Gap was named after A.A. Simpson, President of the South Australian branch of the Royal Geographical Society. The Simpson Desert was also named in his honour. Simpsons Gap was another delight both visually and because the walk in was only 6-800 metres long.

A pool alongside the walk approaching Simpsons Gap
Another view approaching the gap
Simpsons Gap

The view out alongthe creek that runs from the gap is special as well.

View out from Simpsons Gap

There was a good picnic area at Simpsons Gap but all the BBQs were out of order including the one at the rangers station on the road out. So we headed for the Olive Pink Botanical gardens and had a picnic there using our own stove. These gardens were started by Olive Pink a botanist and artist, her focus was on plants of the desert. Marg and I bought a couple of tree seedlings in the early 1990s but sadly both have since died. On that visit Eric bought one as well which is still thriving. Tomorrow we will visit the Desert Gardens which are a native plant garden with lots of bird aviaries and enclosures for animals.

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4 Responses to West MacDonnell Ranges #2

  1. diane bell says:

    I’m enjoying your blog immensely. The blue sky against the red rock is reminding me of te Kimberley. Thanks Russ

  2. Russ says:

    That’s good, they are iconic Australian colours, I love them too.

  3. Kaye says:

    Absolutely beautiful photos Russ!

  4. Russ says:

    Thanks Kaye

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