Simpsons Gap: Tjoritja / West MacDonnell National Park

Simpsons Gap is one of the most prominent gaps in the West MacDonnell Ranges.

At dawn or dusk you may spot a black-footed rock wallaby along the walking track or near the permanent waterhole. You cannot swim in the waterhole.

Vegetation typical of the MacDonnell Ranges is found in the area, including large stands of mulga and over 40 rare and relict plants.

Several dreaming trails and stories cross at this important spiritual site.

There are many short walks that pass the native plants of the area, including ancient ghost gums, and to views of the range.

Simpsons Gap is also located on the Larapinta Trail and from here you can walk sections one or two.

Camping is allowed at Simpsons Gap for Larapinta Trail walkers only, at the designated camping area.

Get the Simpsons Gap fact sheet and map (1.1 mb).

Simpsons Gap: Tjoritja / West MacDonnell National Park view one Simpsons Gap: Tjoritja / West MacDonnell National Park view two Simpsons Gap: Tjoritja / West MacDonnell National Park view three

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Ormiston Gorge Ranger Station phone: (08) 8956 7799

Simpsons Gap Ranger Station phone: (08) 8955 0310

Park sites Access Comments Forecast opening
Tjoritja / West MacDonnell National Park Open

Substantial bushfire damage in the area. Please heed all local warning signs, or direction from a ranger.

Please ensure you do not walk in areas recently burnt unless wearing sturdy footwear, in case of still smouldering embers. DO NOT camp near fire damaged trees.

 
Birthday Waterhole OpenPlease heed all local advisory signs.NA
Ellery Creek Big Hole OpenPlease heed all local advisory signs. 
Dolomite WalkOpenPlease heed all local advisory signs.NA
Glen Helen Gorge Open NA
Hugh Gorge OpenPlease heed all local advisory signs.NA
Ochre Pits Open Please heed all local advisory signs.NA
Aranda WalkOpenPlease heed all local advisory signs.NA
Ormiston GorgeOpenPlease heed all local advisory signs.NA
Ghost Gum LookoutOpenPlease heed all local advisory signs.NA
Ormiston Pound Walk: Ormiston Gorge OpenPlease heed all local advisory signs.NA
Ghost Gum Loop WalkOpenPlease heed all local advisory signs.NA
Redbank Gorge Open NA
Simpsons Gap Open NA
Simpsons Gap Bicycle Path Open NA
Serpentine Gorge OpenPlease heed all local advisory signs.NA
Serpentine ChaletOpenPlease heed all local advisory signs.NA
Larapinta Trail
Larapinta TrailPartial closure

The majority of Larapinta Trail has been affected by bushfire in January 2019. Sections 1-8 and sections 10-12 are now open. Section 9 (Serpentine Chalet Dam - Ormiston Gorge) remains closed.

Due to current heatwave conditions in Central Australia, undertaking the Larapinta Trail is not recommended. If you must attempt the trail PLEASE READ our information on how to beat the heat in the NT.

Please also review the Current Conditions on the trail.

 
Section 1 - Telegraph Station to Simpsons Gap OpenNot affected by the fire damage referred to above.NA
Section 2 - Simpsons Gap to Jay Creek OpenNot affected by the fire damaged referred to above. NA
Section 3 - Jay Creek to Standley Chasm OpenPlease follow all temporary track markers. NA
Section 4 - Standley Chasm to Birthday Waterhole OpenPlease follow all temporary track markers. NA
Section 5 - Birthday Waterhole to Hugh Gorge OpenPlease follow all temporary track markers. NA
Section 6 - Hugh Gorge to Ellery Creek OpenPlease follow all temporary track markers. NA
Section 7 - Ellery Creek to Serpentine GorgeOpenPlease follow all temporary track markers. NA
Section 8 - Serpentine Gorge to Serpentine Chalet OpenPlease follow all temporary track markers. NA
Section 9 - Serpentine Chalet to Ormiston Gorge CLOSEDDue to bushfire damage in the area. NA
Section 10 - Ormiston Gorge to Finke River OpenPlease follow all temporary track markers.NA
Section 11 - Finke River to Redbank Gorge OpenPlease follow all temporary track markers.NA
Section 12 - Redbank Gorge to Mt Sonder return OpenPlease follow all temporary track markers.NA

All year round, but it is best to visit in the cooler months from April to September.

The turnoff to Simpsons Gap is along Larapinta Drive, 18km west of Alice Springs.

The Gap can also be reached by cycling 17kms one way along the sealed Simpsons Gap Bike Path.

You can do all of the following activities in the park:

Get the Simpsons Gap bicycle path (1.2 mb) map.

Camping is not permitted unless you are walking the Larapinta Trail.

Simpsons Gap has all of the following facilities:

  • information signs
  • ranger station - for emergency contact only
  • picnic area
  • public toilets
  • drinking water - must be treated before drinking
  • gas barbecues
  • disabled access
  • parking.

When visiting the park remember all of the following:

  • stay on designated roads and tracks
  • all historic, cultural items and wildlife are protected
  • fires are not permitted - use the barbecues provided
  • pets are not permitted in the park
  • swimming is not permitted in Simpsons Gap.

You can have a safe and comfortable trip to Simpsons Gap by doing all of the following:

  • observe park safety signs
  • carry and drink plenty of water
  • wear a hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, suitable clothing and footwear
  • avoid strenuous activity during the heat of the day
  • think about your health and fitness when choosing a walk.

Phone: 08 8951 8250

Last updated: 18 January 2019

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