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 PDF (1.2 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 sitesAccessComments Forecast opening
Tjoritja / West MacDonnell National Park Open - limited access

Some areas in this park are closed as a health and safety precaution due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Read below to check which areas of the park are 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.

 
Birthday Waterhole Closed This area of the park is closed.  
Ellery Creek Big Hole Closed This area of the park is closed.  
Dolomite Walk ClosedThis area of the park is closed. 
Glen Helen Gorge Closed This area of the park is closed.  
Glen Helen Gorge WalkClosedThis area of the park is closed. 
Finke River Two MileClosedThis area of the park is closed. 
Hugh Gorge Closed This area of the park is closed.  
Ochre Pits Closed This area of the park is closed.  
Aranda Walk ClosedThis area of the park is closed. 
Ormiston Gorge Closed This area of the park is closed.  
Ormiston Gorge campground Closed This area of the park is closed.  
Ormiston Gorge Kiosk Closed This area of the park is closed.  
Ormiston Pound Walk: Ormiston Gorge ClosedThis area of the park is closed.  
Ghost Gum Lookout ClosedThis area of the park is closed. 
Ghost Gum Loop Walk ClosedThis area of the park is closed. 
Redbank Gorge Closed This area of the park is closed.  
Redback Gorge WalkClosedThis area of the park is closed. 
Simpsons Gap Open   NA
Simpsons Gap Bicycle Path Open   NA
Serpentine Gorge Closed This area of the park is closed.  
Serpentine Chalet C Closed This area of the park is closed.  
Larapinta Trail
Larapinta Trail Closed

This area of the park is closed as a health and safety precaution due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

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

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:

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
  • a permit is required for drone use – conditions apply and it must be obtained prior to your arrival in the park.

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
  • use free interactive park maps on your mobile phone or tablet.

Phone: 08 8951 8250

Last updated: 19 March 2020

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