On to Alice Springs, which we found to be a perfect place to spend a week or more. We stayed at the BIG4 MacDonnell Range Holiday Park, a fantastic facility with one of the best pool facilities we have seen. We were told the locals stay here over Christmas when the weather in this part of Australian can be scorching! The park also provides a free pancake breakfast each Sunday morning. Awesome pancakes and an excellent way to meet fellow travellers.
BIG4 MacDonnell Range Holiday Park
Must see things in and around Alice Springs include the East and West McDonnell Ranges (a story in themselves), the National Road Transport Hall of Fame, the Alice Springs Desert Park and the amazing Alice Springs Reptile Centre. One word of warning when travelling in Outback Australia, if you ask a local for directions they may say X is ‘just down the road’ – this can range from a few hundred metres to 400 kilometres!
You can easily spend a few days exploring West McDonnell Ranges. Must see locations include Standley Chasm which is best seen an hour either side of noon when the sun creates a dramatic effect on the sheer walls; the chasm glows as the sun hits the quartzite walls. Ellery Creek Big Hole is a permanent water hole and a very welcome swimming spot (highly recommended).
Serpentine Gorge is a home for large flocks of Zebra finches who can be seen drinking at the water’s edge at sunrise and sunset. Serpentine gorge lookout provides magnificent views of the West MacDonnell Ranges, and a good work-out walking up to the lookout! The Ochre Pits have been used by Aboriginals for thousands of years for decoration.
Ormiston Gorge is another welcome swimming hole and provides a well-equipped camping ground and finally Glen Helen features a gorge with rock formation which resemble organ pipes. Lots to see in the West MacDonnell Ranges, an area which stretches 140 kilometres from Alice Springs.