Advantages Stunning scenery and amazing rock formations
Disadvantages Very hot and awful FLIES
THE WEST MACDONNELL RANGES:These hills are part of the MacDonnell Ranges which run parallel east and west of Alice Springs and were named after the governor of New South Wales at the time, Sir Richard MacDonnell. The highest peak, Mount Zeil is about 5000ft so they are not huge mountains but as everything else around here is flat they become quite noticeable. The landscape is stunning for particularly its vivid red colour and rock gorges. Some of the rock folds are like geography text book drawings they are so perfect.
We walked for about 500metres to a fairly dry water hole and chasm in between two rock faces but the main excitement for us here were the black footed rock wallabies which were hidden amongst the rocks. We were lucky and did see three of these small wallabies. The scenery was very striking with red harsh rocks, gum trees and a fairly dry creek bed.Standley Chasm:
The next stop was Standley Chasm which is located 50km from Alice and named after the first teacher who came to Alice in 1914 she was called Ida Standley. In 1925, the school for children of Aboriginal descent was moved from Alice Springs to Jay Creek (Iwupataka) and Mrs Standley was the matron. While she was at Jay Creek she became the first non-Aboriginal woman to visit the chasm and that now bears her name.
There was a 20 min walk to the chasm across rocks and through a creek bed filled with cycads, ferns and Red river gums. The walls are red and the chasm very narrow and extremely tall. They are best seen at midday when the sun makes the walls blaze a fiery red but it is still impressive whatever time of day as it is a very narrow chasm with extremely high walls of harsh red rocks. The chasm is called Angkerle by the Aborigines and Angkerle Creek runs the length of the 1.5 Km walk from the car park to the Chasm but most of the time this is a dry creek bed.
Our lunch stop was at Glen Helen Gorge which was a camp site with fixed tents and a waterhole about 1km from the main centre. This resort is situated 132km west of Alice. We had chicken rolls which were fresh and quite big followed by tea/coffee and then fruit salad and ice-cream which was very nice. The flies were a bit of a pest and I ended up putting on my special fly net to eat my roll and kept it on when we went for a walk around the site and towards the creek.It was possible to take a helicopter ride of 10mins for $75 to see area from above but we had pretty well seen over the area by air as we came in on the plane so thought we would do our helicopter ride onto the Franz Joseph glacier in NZ.
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