Tjoritja / West MacDonnell National Park

Tjoritja / West MacDonnell National Park stretches 161km west of Alice Springs and will draw you in with its majestic beauty.

Known as Tjoritja by the Traditional Owners, the continuation of cultural practices and a connection to the land is highly significant for local Aranda Aboriginal culture. 

Cool scenic gorges are important refuges for plants and animals, many are found only here and some are relicts of a bygone era of tropical forests.

Some of the sites you shouldn't miss on a journey here include Simpsons Gap, Ochre Pits, Standley Chasm (privately operated) and the permanent waterholes at Ellery Creek Big Hole, Ormiston Gorge and Glen Helen. 

When you visit the park, allow a few days to see the many surprises here steeped in Aboriginal culture. 

Take the time to witness an outback sunrise, sunset and starry night sky. 

Avid and experienced walkers can trek the West Macs on the Larapinta Trail

The trail is broken into 12 sections and can be completed in stages or all at once.

Get the Tjoritja / West MacDonnell National Park fact sheet and map (1.2 mb).

Get the Ellery Creek Big Hole fact sheet and map (651.1 kb)

Get the Redbank Gorge fact sheet and map (1023.6 kb)

Tjoritja National Park - Ellery Creek Tjoritja National Park - Ellery Creek Tjoritja National Park - Ormiston Gorge

What to see and do

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

  • bushwalking
  • wildlife spotting
  • scenic lookout
  • cycling
  • birdwatching
  • ranger guided activities.

Camping is only permitted in designated campsites. 

Ellery Big Hole and Redbank Gorge have basic camping facilities. 

Bush camping is available at Serpentine Chalet and Finke 2-mile. Ormiston Gorge has a campground with showers and flushing toilets.

Swimming is permitted at Ellery Creek Big Hole, Redbank Gorge, Ormiston Gorge and Glen Helen Gorge. 

You should be aware that most swimming holes are very cold. Long exposure, even during summer, can lead to hypothermia.

How to get there

From Alice Springs, access the Tjoritja / West MacDonnell National Park's many visitor areas along Larapinta Drive and Namatjira Drive.

From Watarrka National Park (Kings Canyon) access the park on the unsealed Red Centre Way (Mereenie Loop). You need a permit to access this road. 

Check if this park is open

Find out if the Tjoritja / West MacDonnell National Park is open.

Opening hours

All year round, but roads may not be accessible for short periods after heavy rain. 

It is best to visit in the cooler months from April to September.

Contact

Simpsons Gap Ranger Station phone: (08) 8955 0310

Ormiston Gorge Ranger Station phone: (08) 8956 7799

Go to Parks and Wildlife Alice Springs for more tourist information. 

You can download the West Macs app by going to the iTunes App Store and searching for 'West Macs'. 

Facilities

The Tjoritja / West MacDonnell National Park visitor areas have many facilities as listed below.

Simpsons Gap

Read more on Simpsons Gap.

Standley Chasm

Standley Chasm is commercially-owned and operated and has all of the following facilities:

  • information signs
  • public toilets
  • drinking water
  • kiosk
  • picnic area.

Ellery Creek Big Hole

Ellery Creek Big Hole has all of the following facilities:

  • information signs
  • picnic area
  • public toilets
  • drinking water - must be treated before drinking
  • gas barbecues
  • walking tracks
  • disability access
  • swimming
  • camping and caravan sites.

Serpentine Gorge

Serpentine Gorge has all of the following facilities:

  • information signs
  • picnic area
  • public toilets
  • walking tracks.

Serpentine Chalet

Serpentine Chalet has all of the following facilities:

  • information signs
  • picnic area
  • public toilets
  • walking tracks.

Ochre Pits

The Ochre Pits have all of the following facilities:

  • information signs
  • picnic area
  • public toilets
  • gas barbecues
  • disability access.

Ormiston Gorge

Read more on Ormiston Gorge.

Glen Helen

Glen Helen has all of the following facilities:

  • information signs
  • restaurant
  • campsites
  • caravan sites
  • accommodation
  • walking tracks
  • fuel
  • public toilets.

Finke 2-Mile

Finke 2-Mile is four-wheel drive access only. It has information signs and bush camping.

Redbank Gorge

Redbank Gorge has all of the following facilities:

  • information signs
  • barbecues
  • drinking water - must be treated before drinking
  • campsites
  • caravan sites
  • walking tracks
  • picnic area
  • public toilets
  • swimming.

Please remember

When visiting the park remember all of the following:

  • stay on designated roads and tracks
  • historic, cultural items and wildlife are protected
  • fires are permitted in communal fire pits only
  • collect firewood before entering the park
  • bins are not provided, so take your rubbish with you
  • pets are not permitted in the park
  • generators are not permitted in the park.

Safety

You can have a safe and comfortable trip to Tjoritja / West MacDonnell National Park 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
  • swim only where recommended
  • swing ropes are not permitted.

Last updated: 05 September 2016