Trephina Gorge Nature Park
Located 85 km east of Alice Springs in the beautiful East MacDonnell Ranges, 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. Noted for its sheer quartzite cliffs and River Red Gum lined
watercourses, two gorges dissect the range: Trephina, with its wide views and
sandy creek bed, and John Hays Rock Hole with steep, narrow rock walls.
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).
When to visit
The cooler months (April to September) are the most pleasant times to visit
Trephina Gorge Nature Park. During the peak visitor period (June to September),
Rangers conduct guided walks and campfire talks twice a week.
Accessible to all vehicles, access is via the sealed Ross Highway, and then a 9
km drive into Trephina Gorge, with the last 5 km on a gravel road. The John
Hayes Rockhole track within the Park is recommended for 4WD vehicles only.
Infrequent heavy rains may cause all roads to become impassable.
Parks and Wildlife Services: Trephina Gorge Nature Park and Park signage
Check out the Northern
Territory Parks and Wildlife Services For additional information:
Trephina Gorge Walks
There are a number of walks and campground in the park:
- Gorge Stroll
• 500 m return 20 minutes
• An easy walk to the waterhole in the
spectacular Trephina Gorge.
- John Hayes Rockhole
• Distance 200 m return
• This is an easy walk into the Rockhole
at the eastern end of the gorge. Good views of the Rockhole and gorge
can be seen from the lookout on the Chain of Ponds Walk. The entrance to the
John Hayes Rockhole is also the location of one of the remote campground and
day use areas.
Some of the fauna found in the water include Whirligig Beetle (Macrogyrus
elongatus, 12 mm long), Backswimmer (Enithares sp. - 12 mm long),
and Water Scorpion (Laccotrephes tristis - 40 mm long). Water
Scorpions can inflict a painful nip.
- Trephina Gorge Walk
• 2 km loop 1 hour
• A moderate walk along the rim of the
Gorge with scenic views. The track descends into the Gorge and follows the
creek back to the car park.
- Panorama Walk
• 3 km loop 1 hour
• A moderate to difficult walk offering
scenic views overlooking the Park and to Mordor Pound in the north.
- Ridgetop Walk
• 10 km one way 6.5
hours one way
• This is a difficult walk with a sense
of isolation, great views and great way to check out the flora in this area.
Begin at either end and arrange a vehicle return or walk 8 km along the road
to your starting point, allowing an extra 1.5 hours.
- Creekbed Ramble
• You can either go for a quick wander
or a slow walk along the creek bed anywhere in the park, enjoying the birds,
River Red Gums and other flora.
- Chain of Ponds Walk
• 4 km loop 1.5 hours
• This is an easy 20 minute walk to the
rim of a narrow gorge offering spectacular views. However, some difficult
climbing and scrambling is required to continue to the car park via the
gorge (which is impassable after heavy rain).
Source: NT Parks and Wildlife Service signage
Trephina Gorge Fauna
Trephina Gorge is a great place to see some wildlife, especially around the
waterholes. Some of the birds sighted in the region including:
- Western Ringneck (Barnardius zonarius)
• belong to the
group known as the Australian Ringneck. Currently all these parrots with
yellow ringneck hind-collars belong to the one species. They are noisy
parrots often seen in the River Red Gums along the watercourses. In the
breeding season a pair will inspect many tree hollows, inside and out, with
much chattering and tailwagging before selecting their nest site. Habitat:
Grey-headed Honeyeater (Lichenostomus keartlandi)
• a small bird about
15-17 cm with a distinctive pale grey crown, merging into a tawny grey-brown or
grey-green back. The wings are edged in yellow. Has a sooty black seeming to
extend from the beak across the eye, with a deep yellow underline. The throat,
breast and belly is a pale, lemon yellow, the breast also being softly streaked
brown. An active, busy, noisy species, seen darting about in the trees and
shrubs. Habitat: found in the northern arid regions, usually rocky
hillsides, gorges and escarpment with scattered trees, mallee, mulga and other
shrubs. Status: sometimes seen gathered in large numbers at sites with
abundant flowering. Otherwise nomadic but common.
Source: NT Parks and Wildlife Service signage