Look out from the top of Anzac Hill in Alice Springs and you’ll find it impossible to miss the impressive grandeur of the MacDonnell Ranges that stretch for 644 kilometres to the east and west of the outback town.
The mountain range was formed millions of years ago and over time erosion has created incredible gorges and gaps along the range. Venture into the West MacDonnell Ranges and you’ll see Standley Chasm cut through the quartzite rock to form a jagged walkway through the range and experience the calming beauty of Simpsons Gap where water flows through a small gap in the ancient range.
The traditional owners of the land, the Arrarnta people, have lived in the region for at least 30,000 years and believe that the MacDonnell Ranges were created by giant caterpillars during the Dreamtime. Places like Simpsons Gap are sacred to the Arrarnta people and are associated with Dreamtime stories of the goanna, eagle and rock wallaby.
Explorer John McDouall Stuart named the MacDonnell Ranges after Richard MacDonnell, the Governor of South Australia in the 1860s.
The beauty of the ranges has inspired locals and travellers alike from early explorer John McDouall Stuart who named the ranges in 1860 to acclaimed artist Albert Namatjira who grew up in the area and depicted the ranges in many of his paintings. It’s sure to inspire you too.