Day 3 in the West MacDonnells

In the morning we said a sad farewell to our new friends as they left in their van to go eastwards to Alice Springs. We continued heading further west to Ormiston Gorge.

It’s a sealed road to Ormiston Gorge. There was plenty of parking as well as a kiosk, information centre, picnic tables, toilets and an amenities block including showers for the Larapinta Trail walkers. Ormiston Gorge is the Trail Head for Sections 9 & 10 of the Trail.

We packed our backpacks for this walk as it was going to take an hour and a half return. We set off on the Ghost Gum Loop and it started out going up the steep hillside. There were many steps. However the view at the lookout when you arrive at the top was worth it.

Wow, wow, wow!!

From the lookout you have a fantastic view up into the Gorge and down to the riverbed below. If you look back you can see all the way to the carpark and we could make out where the motorhome was parked. What a view!

The trail continues on and is a narrow, very rocky pathway. You really have to watch where you are going. It would be very easy to turn an ankle.

At the end of the trail you come to a stop as the waterhole was so full of water that we couldn’t cross over to be able to come back along the waterholes. We watched some Larapinta Trail walkers having to wade across the freezing cold water to get to the other side. Their legs were very red when they came out of the water!

We backtracked a bit and found a rocky gully that we thought we’d be able to use to get down to the river bed and we all made it carefully down the steep gully. The kids thought this was great fun.

Once at the bottom we found a good spot to stop for a snack and a rest before continuing on following the waterholes back to where we started our walk. It had taken us 2 hours to do the round trip.

It is so hard to stop taking photos as you walk along. Each corner you go around shows more stunning scenery. I’m sure you’ll all get sick of photos of beautiful gorges and waterholes!

We continued further west to the Discovery Parks – Glen Helen. The park is 132 km from Alice Springs. Here we had a couple of unpowered sites booked. We checked in for two nights, used their dump point, then drove up onto the newly gravelled unpowered section of the park. There was a brand new amenities block including a laundry and next to that was a brand new camp kitchen. A water tap is available at the back of the camp kitchen so we both filled up with water prior to parking up and setting up our camp with our doors facing each other.

We are all impressed with the new amenities block at Glen Helen. The Laundry is impressive too with a bank of 5 stacked washer dyers. It’s 4 x $1 a load for a wash and $4 a load to dry. The camp kitchen is also great and has a fridge, microwave, kettle & toaster, stainless steel benches, sinks, and gas BBQs.

The park was purchased by Discovery Parks and is slowly being upgraded to their standard. A brand new fuel facility is under construction and there’s evidence that lots of earthworks had been done recently to terrace the camping area.

The view from our camp is a red cliff that looked amazing as the sun sets. The red sandstone just seems to glow in the sun.

Discovery Parks – Glen Helen

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