Top Family Touring Itineraries: West MacDonnell Ranges

Emma Ryan — 11 July 2017

Although slap bang in the middle of the country, a trip to the Red Centre is in many ways the easiest way to introduce your kids to the romance of the outback. And what stunning outback it is: the escarpments of the West MacDonnell Range are as beautiful as those of the Kimberley, Tnorala is a fascinating window to our ancient past and Kings Canyon? Well, how the bloody hell did that get there?!

If you’re short on time fly into Alice Springs and hire a 4WD and camper trailer. That makes this memorable outback sojourn doable in just four days.


Day 1: Alice Springs to Ormiston Gorge

  • Wander along the creek to admire Simpson Gap just outside Alice
  • Explore the incredible Standley Chasm, which is like an elaborate entryway to a giant’s lair
  • Watch the sunrise light up the golden escarpments of breathtaking Ormiston Gorge

Day 2: Ormiston Gorge to Redbank Gorge

  • Set up camp atop the escarpment at Redbank Gorge
  • Put the hiking boots on and explore
  • Splash in the waterhole at Redbank where native wildlife comes for a drink

Day 3: Redbank Gorge to Tnorala (Gosse Bluff)

  • Marvel at the geological behemoth that is Tnorala as you approach from miles away
  • Explore the incredible 150-million-year-old crater on foot
  • Learn about the Aboriginal dreaming story of Tnorala, interestingly also related to the stars

Day 4: Tnorala to Kings Canyon

  • Do the summit walk at Kings Canyon for amazing views
  • Set up camp at Kings Canyon Resort. The kids will love the facilities and playing with other littlies


  • Pitstops are few and far between Alice and Kings Canyon, so stock up on plenty of food for meals and snacks. Call into the many camping areas for toilet breaks.
  • Kings Canyon Resort for a hearty schnitzel and an icy cold beer.


  • The rich red soil and beautiful escarpments, especially if it’s their first time to the outback
  • Rock hopping through dry creek beds and playing in the soft sand
  • Swimming in waterholes – weather pending as it gets very cold!


  • Ormiston Gorge camping area. Hot showers, but sometimes crowded
  • Redback camping area. Beautiful outlook and a bit quieter
  • Kings Canyon Resort camping area. Hot meal at the bistro, perhaps?


itinerary travel destination places to go West MacDonnell Ranges