Tnorala (Gosse Bluff) Conservation Reserve

Tnorala (Gosse Bluff) Conservation Reserve is a place of great cultural significance to the Western Arrernte Aboriginal people, as well as a site of international scientific interest.

The reserve is a registered sacred site and traditional owners welcome visitors to experience Tnorala's magic, but you should respect the area and obey signs where access is not allowed.

Scientists believe that around 142.5 million years ago an object from space, believed to be a comet about 600m wide, crashed to earth, blasting a crater roughly 20km across.

Today’s land surface is about 2km lower than the original impact surface and the bluff is about 5km in diameter, reduced over time by erosion.

The remnant crater was named Gosses Range by the explorer Ernest Giles in 1872 after H Gosse, a Fellow of the Royal Society.

The Aboriginal and scientific interpretation of the Bluff are similar in that they both have a celestial origin.

Get the Tnorala (Gosse Bluff) Conservation Reserve fact sheet and map PDF (916.7 KB).

Tnorala Conservation Reserve sign Tnorala Conservation Reserve - dirt road Tnorala Conservation Reserve


Ranger Station: 08 8956 7799

Park sitesStatusComments Forecast opening
Tnorala (Gosse Bluff) Conservation Reserve OpenThe reserve is open to 4WD vehicles only-

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

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

The reserve is about 175km west of Alice Springs. Drive along Larapinta Drive or Namatjira Drive.

A four-wheel drive (4WD) vehicle is needed for the last 10km into the reserve. Check road conditions before you go.

Tnorala Conservation Reserve is a good place to go for short walks or a picnic.

Tnorala (Gosse Bluff) has all of the following facilities:

  • information signs
  • public toilets
  • picnic areas
  • walking tracks
  • scenic lookout.

When visiting the park remember all of the following:

  • do not walk on the crater rim
  • there is no camping in the reserve
  • stay on designated roads and tracks
  • historic, cultural items and wildlife are protected
  • fires are not permitted in the reserve
  • bins are not provided, so take your rubbish with you
  • pets are not permitted
  • generators are not permitted
  • drones are not permitted.

You can have a safe and comfortable trip to Tnorala 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.

Ormiston Gorge Ranger Station phone: 08 8956 7799

Contact Parks and Wildlife Alice Springs for more tourist information.

Last updated: 10 October 2022

Give feedback about this page.

Share this page:

URL copied!