Top Family Touring Itineraries: West MacDonnell Ranges

By: Emma Ryan, Photography by: Camper Trailer Australia


Introduce your kids to the outback the easy way at the West MacDonnell Ranges in the NT.

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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.

THE ITINERARY

Day 1: Alice Springs to Ormiston Gorge

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  • 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

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  • 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)

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  • 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

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  • 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

  • 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.

KIDS WILL LOVE

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  • 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!

WHERE TO CAMP

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  • 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?

Check out the full feature in issue #115 of Camper Trailer Australia magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest camper trailer news, reviews and travel inspiration.