Ormiston Gorge: Tjoritja / West MacDonnell National Park

Ormiston Gorge is a great place for a swim, or to see the towering walls of the gorge and pound, local plants and wildlife.

Located 135km west of Alice Springs in the Tjoritja / West MacDonnell National Park, it is accessible by sealed roads and is the trailhead for sections nine and 10 of the Larapinta Trail.

The gorge has a waterhole that is there year round and is great for swimming, especially in warmer months.

It is located just 500m from the visitor centre and is estimated to be up to 14m deep at its southern end.

The five minute Waterhole Walk, which has wheelchair access to the end of the paved path, and the 20 minute one way Ghost Gum Lookout Walk are the most popular with visitors.

Another way to explore the area is by walking the Ormiston Pound Walk, which is a three to four hour circuit that follows the rocky slope into the flat expanse of the pound and back along the gorge by the main waterhole.

The area has an interesting range of native plants and animals including a number of relict plant species from Central Australia's tropical past.

The park is also an important fauna refuge, with the rediscovery of the Central rock-rat in 1997.

You can camp in the designated campsite, though fees do apply.

Get the Ormiston Gorge fact sheet and map PDF (1.1 MB).

Ormiston Gorge: Tjoritja / West MacDonnell National Park

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Ormiston Gorge Ranger Station phone: 08 8956 7799

Simpsons Gap Ranger Station phone: 08 8955 0310

Park sitesAccessComments Forecast opening
Tjoritja / West MacDonnell National Park Open

There has been substantial bushfire damage in the area. Follow all local warning signs, or direction from a ranger. Do not camp near fire damaged trees.

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Birthday Waterhole Open -
Ellery Creek Big Hole Open

The emergency phone at Ellery Creek Big Hole is out of order. The closest emergency communications is at:

  • Ormiston Gorge, approximately 49km away (45 minutes drive) or
  • Standley Chasm, approximately 51km away (45 minutes drive).

A Telstra satellite booster allowing reception for Telstra mobile customers is located at Neil Hargrave Lookout, approximately 20km away (15 minutes drive).

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Dolomite Walk Open -
Glen Helen Gorge ClosedGlen Helen Gorge is closed.-
Glen Helen Gorge WalkClosedGlen Helen Gorge Walk is closed.-
Finke River Two MileOpen -
Hugh Gorge Open  -
Ochre Pits Open  -
Aranda Walk Open -
Ormiston Gorge Open  -
Ormiston Gorge campground Open  -
Ormiston Gorge Kiosk ClosedThe kiosk is currently closed.-
Ormiston Pound Walk: Ormiston Gorge Open -
Ghost Gum Lookout Open -
Ghost Gum Loop Walk Open -
Redbank Gorge Open -
Redbank Gorge WalkOpen -
Simpsons Gap Open  -
Simpsons Gap Bicycle Path Open  -
Serpentine Gorge Open  -
Serpentine Chalet C Open  -
Larapinta Trail
Larapinta Trail Open

Some parts of the Larapinta Trail were impacted by fires in 2019. Take care to stay on the track and follow temporary track markers.

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Section 1 - Telegraph Station to Simpsons Gap Open  -
Section 2 - Simpsons Gap to Jay Creek Open  -
Section 3 - Jay Creek to Standley Chasm Open  -
Section 4 - Standley Chasm to Birthday Waterhole Open  -
Section 5 - Birthday Waterhole to Hugh Gorge Open  -
Section 6 - Hugh Gorge to Ellery Creek Open  -
Section 7 - Ellery Creek to Serpentine Gorge Open  -
Section 8 - Serpentine Gorge to Serpentine Chalet Open  -
Section 9 - Serpentine Chalet to Ormiston Gorge Open  -
Section 10 - Ormiston Gorge to Finke River Open  -
Section 11 - Finke River to Redbank Gorge Open  -
Section 12 - Redbank Gorge to Mt Sonder return Open -

All year round, but roads may close after heavy rain.

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

The kiosk is closed.

The turn off to Ormiston Gorge is off Namatjira Drive 135km west of Alice Springs.

You can do all of the following activities at Ormiston Gorge:

Get the Overnight Walks of Ormiston Gorge PDF (1.5 MB) information sheet.

Ormiston Gorge has all of the following facilities:

  • information signs
  • barbecues
  • kiosk - currently closed
  • drinking water - you must treat this water before drinking
  • birdwatching
  • campsites
  • walking tracks
  • picnic area
  • ranger station - for emergency contact only
  • public toilets
  • showers
  • disabled access.

When visiting Ormiston Gorge remember all of the following:

  • stay on designated roads and tracks
  • historic, cultural items and wildlife are protected
  • fires are not permitted so use the gas barbecues provided
  • bins are not provided so take your rubbish with you
  • pets are not permitted
  • generators are not permitted
  • you need a permit to use a drone - you must get it before you arrive.

You can have a safe and comfortable trip to Ormiston Gorge 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
  • use free interactive park maps on your mobile or tablet.

Most swimming holes are very cold so be careful swimming at any time of year as long exposure, even in summer, can lead to hypothermia.

Ormiston Gorge Ranger Station phone: 08 8956 7799

Contact Parks and Wildlife Alice Springs for more tourist information.

Last updated: 21 September 2020

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