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Finke Gorge National Park

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Northern Territory, Australia Travel

Finke Gorge NP
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Located some 140 km south west of Alice Springs and 20 km south of Hermannsburg is the Finke Gorge National Park. Covering an area of 46,000 hectares, the park was proclaimed as a flora and fauna reserve in the 1920s, then as a National Park in 1978.

The park has a myriad of gorges and gullies, which is home to a diverse range of rare and unique plant species. Most famous of the natural features and popular with many tour operators is Palm Valley, home to the Red Cabbage Palm, remnants of a tropical rainforest that covered this area 60 million years ago. There are about 12,000 in the park, the oldest being 300 years old. Huge red sandstone cliffs provide shelter for the palm trees.

Finke Gorge National ParkThere is more to the park than the ancient palms, with over 333 plant species having been recorded in the park, including the Wild Orange (Capparis mitchellii) and the Native Fig (Ficus brachypoda).

Wildlife that have been seen in the park include dingoes, rock wallabies, goanna, long-nosed dragon, kangaroos, snakes, and a number of desert frogs species.

Although the park gorge usually appears dry, there are some small pockets of semi-permanent spring-fed pools. If you are lucky to be there during one of those wet periods, not only does it offer a wonderful sight to see the expanses of water flowing through the valley gorge, you also increase the chances of seeing some of the myriad aquatic life such as desert fish including the Spangled Grunter, shield shrimps (Triops australiensis), tadpoles and frogs.

The park also includes part of the Finke River, carving a path southwards through the surrounding desert ranges. The Finke lays claim to being one of the oldest rivers in the world, with areas dating back 350 million years.

Many areas within the park region are culturally significant to the the Western Arrernte Aboriginal people. The park also include evidence of early European settlement of Central Australia.

The first white discoverer, J McDouall Stuart was so grateful to his generous supporter, William Finke, that he named the river and surrounding area after him.

Although you can visit all year round, one of the best and most popular time to visit is April to September, when it is cooler and there are less files. During this period the campground on the river bank gets pretty busy. There is room for  tents and campervans and facilities include solar (hot) showers, toilets and wood BBQs.

Source: NT Parks and Wildlife Service - Finke Gorge National Park

Check out the Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife Services For additional information or contact the local visitor centre:

Information Centre Parks and Wildlife Service of the Northern Territory - Regional Office Alice Springs

Central Australian Visitor Information Centre

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Finke Gorge National Park Attractions

Kalaranga Lookout • 1.5 km, 45 minutes return
An easy climb with great views of the rock amphitheatre.
The Mpaara Walk • 5 km, two hours return Introduces the mythology of the Western Arrernte Aboriginal culture and ends at the Kalaranga Lookout.
Mpulungkinya Walk • 5 km, two hours
Meanders among the oasis of slender palms and returns across the plateau.
All walkers planning extended and overnight hikes are required to register with the Overnight Walkers Registration Scheme.
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Finke Gorge National Park - Fauna

Keep an eye out for some of the wildlife in the region, including dingoes, rock wallabies, kangaroos, snakes, and other reptiles. Non native wildlife that have been sighted in the region include camels, horses, and donkeys.

Click here to see some of our Palm Valley fauna images and Finke Gorge NP fauna images.
Dingo © A and H Holden, 2006
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