Located in the spectacular
West MacDonnell Range, Glen Helen Gorge
is at the end of the sealed section of road known as Namatjira Drive, named
after the famous Indigenous artist Albert Namatjira.
The gorge is some 500 million years ago, formed from quartzite, part of the
ranges running roughly east-west for 644 km, that were formed when the Alice Springs Orogeny
saw the folding and fracturing of the bed rock, raising it above sea level.
As this uplift was occurring, the mighty Finke River slowly eroded a path
through the mountain range. To the local Aborigines, Glen Helen is known as
Yapalpe and the Finke River is Larapinta (said to mean 'serpent'). It was a
favourite meaning place for the Indigenous people from the West and Central
Glen Helen Gorge protects a significant waterhole of the region, and along
the Finke River. It is home to
several species of native desert fish, and waterbirds, that are usually
associated with coastal areas.
Glen Helen Gorge is a well enjoyed stop for those who have done the
a 223 km long distance bush walk that follows the backbone of the West
MacDonnell Range, starting west of Alice Springs and encompassing many of the
Western Macs featured attractions, all the way to
Glen Helen is the name given not
only to the Gorge, and the 368 ha Nature Park, surrounding the Gorge, but also
to the Glen Helen Resort and Homestead. Facilities here include motel style
accommodation, powered sites or ‘rough it’ under the stars in well maintained
campgrounds. It is a popular place to base yourself when visiting Ormiston Gorge,
Mount Sonder, and Redbank Gorge.
For additional attractions, tours and other information contact
local tourism visitor centre.