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 (1.1 mb).

Get the Ellery Creek Big Hole fact sheet and map (1.2 mb).

Get the Redbank Gorge fact sheet and map (1.4 mb)

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

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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 roads may not be accessible for short periods after heavy rain.

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

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.

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

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.

Camping fees apply and are payable on-site.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Last updated: 18 January 2019

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