Arltunga Historical Reserve

Heat warning

Temperatures across the Northern Territory can be very hot between October and April.

It can exceed 40 degrees Celsius in some locations. High humidity in the Top End can also make you tire easily.

Check forecast temperatures before you visit. Find out how to prepare and stay safe in the heat.

Arltunga was the site of hope, struggle and mateship for many fortune hunters who came here on foot to find gold.

Born out of a goldrush in 1887, Arltunga was officially Central Australia's first town and once supported up to 300 people.

At the visitor centre you will be introduced to Arltunga's colourful past and wild characters.

You can learn about gold mining in Arltunga and find out how gold used to be extracted.

Walks at the reserve take you through the Government Battery, Cyanide Works, Old Police Station, mines and homes.

Get the Arltunga Historical Reserve fact sheet and map PDF (1.0 MB).

Get the exploring Arltunga information sheet PDF (1.2 MB)

Get the Arltunga gold extraction process information sheet PDF (1.4 MB)

Arltunga Historical Reserve - Old police station Arltunga Historical Reserve - Government workers house Arltunga Historical Reserve


Ranger Station: 08 8956 9770.

Park sitesStatusComments Forecast opening
Arltunga Historical Reserve Open Caution - suitable for high clearance 4WD only. Road condition is poor due to recent flooding.-

All year round. The best time to visit is during the cooler months from April to September.

The visitor centre is open daily from 8am to 5pm.

Arltunga is located 110km east of Alice Springs. Follow Ross Highway and Binns Track signs to Arltunga.

The last 33km are on an unsealed road.

Check road conditions before heading out as roads may become impassable after rain.

You can see and do all of the following:

Self-guided walks

You can go on self-guided walks at the reserve.

Golden Chance Mine

This 60 minute walk takes you to the Golden Chance Mine and includes a visit to a miner's dwelling.

It boasts impressive views over much of the Goldfield.

Get the Arltunga Golden Chance Mine self-guided walk information sheet PDF (1.1 MB).

Government Works

This 40 minute walk takes you on a tour of the Government Battery and Cyanide Works.

You will see various buildings and sites in this area including the assayer's residence, post office and government offices.

Get the Arltunga Government Works self-guided walk information sheet PDF (1011.6 KB).

Great Western Mine

This 40 minute walk allows you to explore one of the few remaining historic White Range mines.

Get the Arltunga Great Western Mine self-guided walk information sheet PDF (1003.8 KB).

Joker Gorge

This walk provides plenty of opportunity to explore the wildlife and fascinating mining history.

The distance and level of difficulty of your walk is up to you.

A trip to the historic buildings is 15 minutes return. From there you can climb 150 metres up the hill to Joker Mine which is an hour return to the car park or continue on to the gorge.

Get the Arltunga Joker Gorge self-guided walk information sheet PDF (997.9 KB).

MacDonnell Range Reef Mine

This 40 minute walk will give you an insight into the hardships endured by Arltunga miners.

These mines have vertical shafts. Children must be supervised closely.

Get the Arltunga MacDonnell Range Reef Mine self-guided walk information sheet PDF (1.0 MB).

Camping is not permitted in the historical reserve, but campsites are available at nearby Ruby Gap or N'Dhala Gorge Nature Parks.

Access to these campsites is by high clearance four-wheel drive (4WD) only.

Other accommodation options include the Ross River Homestead, Old Arltunga Pub Campground and Old Ambalindum Station.

Arltunga has all of the following facilities:

  • information signs
  • ranger station – for emergency contact only
  • 4WD roads
  • drinking water
  • public toilets
  • picnic area
  • walking tracks.

When visiting the park remember all of the following:

  • stay on designated roads and tracks
  • all historic, cultural items and wildlife are protected
  • firewood collection is not permitted in the reserve
  • bins are not provided so take your rubbish with you
  • pets are not permitted in the reserve
  • you need a permit to use a drone - you must get it before you arrive.


Fossicking, including the use of metal detectors, is not permitted in Arltunga Historical Reserve.

However, you can fossick in the adjoining fossicking reserve if you have a current NT fossickers permit. Permits are available from the Fossicking in the Northern Territory website.

You can have a safe and comfortable trip to Arltunga Historical Reserve 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.

Arltunga Ranger Station phone: 08 8956 9770

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

Last updated: 05 June 2020

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