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 .
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 with restricted access||Some areas within the park are not accessible due to flooding.||-|
|Ellery Creek Big Hole||Open||Drive with caution, water/debris on road.||-|
|Glen Helen Gorge||Open|
|Glen Helen Gorge Walk||Open|
|Finke River Two Mile||Open||-|
|Ormiston Gorge||Open||Drive with caution, water/debris on road.||-|
|Ormiston Gorge campground||Open||-|
|Ormiston Gorge Kiosk||Open||-|
|Ormiston Pound Walk: Ormiston Gorge||Open with caution||Ormiston Creek section of the Pound Walk is flooded due to recent heavy rain. Be prepared to either swim through the water or return to the carpark back along the Pound Walk in a clockwise direction.||-|
|Ghost Gum Lookout||Open||-|
|Ghost Gum Loop Walk||Open||-|
|Redbank Gorge||Open||4WD access only. Drive with caution, water/debris on road.||-|
|Redbank Gorge Walk||Open||-|
|Simpsons Gap Bicycle Path||Open||-|
|Serpentine Gorge||Open||4WD access only. Drive with caution, water/debris on road.||-|
|Serpentine Chalet||Open||4WD access only. Drive with caution, water/debris on road.||-|
|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 turn off to Ormiston Gorge is off Namatjira Drive 135km west of Alice Springs.
Ormiston Gorge has all of the following facilities:
- information signs
- drinking water - you must treat this water before drinking
- walking tracks
- picnic area
- ranger station - for emergency contact only
- public toilets
- 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.
Last updated: 07 May 2021
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