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East MacDonnell Range

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Starting from Heavitree Gap and stretching east from Alice Springs is the continuation of the magnificent MacDonnell Ranges, known as the East MacDonnell Range.

To the local Arrernte people, this area is the dreamtime birthplace of the mountain ranges in the area. As the caterpillar ancestral beings moved out from Emily Gap, they formed the MacDonnell Ranges and the site of Alice Springs.

In the East MacDonnell Range region, with places of cultural significant to the Arrernte people include Jessie Gap, Corroboree Rock and N'Dhala Gorge.

The region is rich in flora and fauna, as well as a number of introduced species including donkeys, camels and horses. Trephina Gorge Nature Park offers a great place for bird watching.

For more information contact the:

Information Centre

Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory - Alice Springs Region

Central Australian Visitor Information Centre

East MacDonnell Ranges - Attractions

Corroboree Rock
This prominent rock outcrop is part of the ‘Eastern Arrernte Perentie Dreaming’. A short walk around the base provides good viewing points. Please do not leave the track.
Emily and Jessie Gaps Nature Park
Located just 10 km east of Alice Springs, these small Gaps in the Heavitree Range are one of the park interesting features, with its gorge scenery and art site associated with the ‘Caterpillar Dreaming’ of the Central Arrernte Aboriginal people. With many places in the landscape associated with the same dreamtime story, and together forming a ‘dreaming trail’, Emily and Jessie Gaps are associated with the caterpillar trail. Emily Gap is probably the most significant, as this is where the caterpillar beings of Mparntwe (Alice Springs) originated. These caterpillars formed Emily Gap and many of the topographic features around Alice Springs, then radiated out to the edge of the Simpsons Desert.
Trephina Gorge Nature Park
The scenic Trephina Gorge makes for a great place to relax and enjoy the striking landforms such as The Bluff, the stately gums along its creek and the rich birdlife.

You can enjoy a number of marked walking trails, a simply stroll along the shade of the creek bed, or site quietly beside a waterhole, observing the wildlife. For those wishing to stay overnight, the park has three small camping areas (camping fees applicable).
N’Dhala Gorge Nature Park
A treasure-trove of rock engravings in a deep rugged gorge records the spiritual beliefs of the Eastern Arrernte Aboriginal people. Advice on road conditions can be obtained from the Ross River Homestead.
Artlunga Historical Reserve
Abandoned underground workings and the stone ruins of a mining settlement take you back to the turn of the century, when this was one of Australia’s most isolated goldfields.

The road to Artlunga closely follows in the footsteps of the weary miners who tramped between the goldfields and Alice Springs. Poor and desperate, many carried their supplies and equipment either in wheelbarrows or on their backs.

Call into the Reserve’s Information Centre to learn how those hardy diggers lived and worked.
Ruby Gap Nature Park
This isolated park offers spectacular gorge scenery, quiet bush camping and a powerful sense of solitude. A high clearance 4WD is essential. Heavy rain may cause the roads to become temporarily impassable. Ask the rangers at Artlunga for up-to-date advice on access.
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