Ormiston Gorge, Northern Territory

Author: Tahlia Maynard   Date Posted:1 January 2017 

There are no rules that govern how you should experience any of the natural wonders of Ormiston Gorge. Camp out for days at a stretch and observe nature unveil its magnificence all around you.

Average Winter Temp: 21°C

Average Summer Temp: 34°C

Traditionally inhabited by: Western Arrernte people

A confluence of raw rock-cut splendour, with nothing but calm waters and clear skies for boundaries, the Ormiston Gorge is a destination where wanderlust receives its reward and the Red Centre engulfs your senses in a captivating display of rugged terrain and relict wildlife. At Ormiston Gorge, the awestruck traveller finds a complete sampling of the natural extravagance of the MacDonnell Ranges, from spectacular rock formations, to a perennial water-hole, to an unmatched variety of plants, animals and birds.

Take any of the wonderful walking trails around the gorge, stopping to watch Spinifex birds or Dusky Grasswrens. Exchange stories with the rangers who live and work in the area, or immerse yourself in the rich history of the waterhole, which happens to be a sacred Arrernte site. Spend time in and around the water, swimming, reading or just lazing to your heart’s content.

Ormiston Gorge makes for a great travel destination all year round, offering excellent tent camping and hiking options during winter, and doubling up as a swimming paradise during the summer months. Plan your trip in advance to avoid the peak season rush usually found here in winter.

Attractions & Activities:

  • Camping
  • Swimming
  • Ranger Guided Walks and Talks
  • Self-Guided Walks
  • Bird Watching
  • Wildlife Photography
  • Landscape Photography
  • Ghost Gum Walk
  • Ormiston Waterhole Walk
  • Ormiston Pound Walk
  • Larapinta Trail

Caravan Parks / Accommodation:

The Ormiston Gorge campground is suitable only for tent camping. Besides the caravan park listed below, caravanning tourists can choose any of the numerous options in Alice Springs, to the east of the National Park, though they’re more than 2-3 hours (by car) away from Ormiston Gorge.

Glen Helen Homestead Lodge

Namatjira Drive, NT

Located just over 10km from Ormiston Gorge, Glen Helen Homestead Lodge is the nearest caravan parking site in the area. Equipped to accommodate caravans, trailers and 4WDs of all sizes and varieties, the lodge offers both unpowered and powered sites, along with amenities such as hot showers, free barbecue facilities, gas cookers and refrigeration. Guests can also opt for a delicious dinner at the Namatjira Gallery Restaurant within the premises, accompanied by free live entertainment by local artists. The management also permits guests to bring pets along, provided they are well behaved.

$24/night for 2 persons, unpowered sites; $12 per child

$30/night for 2 persons, powered sites; $12 per child

(Motel rooms and tent camping sites are also available)

 

Free Camping / Low Cost Camping:

Ellery Creek Big Hole

West MacDonnell National Park, NT

One of the main camping areas within the West MacDonnell National Park, the Ellery Creek Big Hole campground offers a handful of caravan parking sites in addition to tent camping facilities. The available amenities are basic (gas barbecues and toilets), but the site comes with the added advantages of being a stone’s throw away from the magnificent Ellery Creek waterhole, and offering the full Red Centre Outback experience. Sites are allotted on a first-come-first-served basis, and paid for in cash upon arrival.

$3.30/night for 1 person, unpowered sites (honesty box collection)

 

Redbank Gorge

West MacDonnell National Park, NT

Another low-budget option for caravanning tourists within the West MacDonnell National Park, the Redbank Gorge campground has a larger capacity than its Ellery Creek Big Hole counterpart. Amenities include pit toilets, picnic tables, gas barbecues and fireplaces. The camping fee is collected in an honesty box on site. No advance bookings taken.

$3.30/night for 1 person, unpowered sites (honesty box collection)