Central Australia is much more than just ‘The Rock’ and Alice Springs. It’s
spectacular landforms and beauty is found everywhere, especially throughout the
MacDonnell Ranges. These ranges, both east and west of Alice Springs,
encompasses many natural landforms, some world famous such as
Palm Valley, home to
remnants of a tropical rainforest of Red Cabbage Palm and a
must see on any tour of the region.
The MacDonnell Ranges are a series of mountain
ranges extending some 644 km, consisting of parallel ridges running east and west
of Alice Springs. The ranges are composed of many different rock types, of which
the most obvious are the red quartzite.
Quartzite is a hard metamorphic rock1 that was
once sandstone, which due to the geological processes of heating and pressure,
often related to tectonic3 compression within
orogenic belts2, converts the sandstone to
The ranges were named after Sir Richard Graves MacDonnell, an Anglo-Irish
lawyer, judge and colonial governor of South Australia.
the traditional owners of the Alice Springs area have stories of their dreamtime
telling of the beginning when Altyerrenge, ancestral figures created the
landscape, its features and Arrernte Law.
There are storyboard signage
throughout the region, with more information available from the local visitor
centre. Even better, book yourself onto a local cultural tour.
Check out what to see and do by
following the East and West MacDonnell links above. For tours and other
accommodation in the region, check out
Alice Springs and
Central Australia. For more
attractions, tours and other information contact the local tourism visitor