Thursday, 26 May 2011

West MacDonnell ranges part 2

Driving through the West MacDonnell ranges is quite spectacular. Namatjira Drive (road) meanders through ranges on each side of you.  The 1st 2 gorges - Simpson's Gap & Standley Chasm were shown in the previous blog. Next gorge along the road was Ellery Creek Big Hole - the water was too chilly for a swim!!
Next was Serpentine Gorge. The car park was more challenging to get into with the van, but the 1/2 hr walk into the gorge deserved another 1/2 hr sit down & enjoy the surrounds.
My apologies for the glare in some of these pics, as most of all these gorges had us looking towards the sun into them.

Ochre cliffs /pits is a mine for the natural mineral that occurs in the range of colours. The Ochre is used as a raw material for paintings & ceremonial body decoration by the aboriginals.

Ormiston Gorge was our favourite gorge thus far. So good we went back when the sun was more over the water in the gorge the next day. Many people were swimming here. It has 2 sandy 'beaches' to sit / lie on & relax. Some folk were even sun bathing.The towering red walls & picturesque waterhole & spectacular scenery is 1 of the best in the West MacDonnell ranges.

These 2 photos were taken from a lookout above Ormiston gorge. The swimming hole from above is in the photo looking down. Rod took the loop walk & had to wade through waist height water for a few mtrs to get back - that water hole is probably 1 of the distant 1 in this pic.
 The above pic is the view we had morning, noon & night for 2 days stay @ Glen Helen Resort van area. You couldn't get sick of this view hey? The sunset showed a beautiful redder glow onto the rocky wall.
Glen Helen gorge was a 200mts walk from our van - pics are below

Rod is doing a spectacular effort in holding the rocky walls apart for the Finke river to flow through!!

Roma Gorge is not well known on the major tourist maps, but it is signed along the road. We had to drive 8.5 kms & 3/4 hr up a very rocky creek bed to get to it, but the long & slow drive was worth it.
This area was used by the aboriginal people to carve etchings into the rocks with sharp tools made from stone

 I thougtht I'd place this pic in here for those who may be interested in knowing about Petroglyphs. The etchings were mostly above flood lines & there many more etchings than shown here. There was no description of what each etching meant.

Roma Gorge was the last gorge along this side of the West MadDonnells.

From Glen Helen Gorge / resort,  we decided to obtain a permit from the aboriginal council & NT govt to drive through aboriginal land via the Mereenie Loop Rd or Red Centre Way as it is also known. It is a dirt road. The 1st 3/4 hr of the drive with the van over rough corrugations - much more rough than the Plenty Hwy through to the NT border from Qld.  The rest of the 2hr drive was pleasant & smooth. dirt hwy.

Kings Canyon was our next destination.

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