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Standley Chasm

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Standley Chasm
Standley Chasm is located approximately 50 km by sealed road west of Alice Springs. The chasm has been gouged from the tough sandstone by the floods that, over untold millions of years, have surged down a narrow tributary of the Finke River system. The result is a deep red cleft, with slopes on either side rising 80 metres above the chasm floor.

The Chasm is at its most dramatic an hour either side of noon on a sunny day. At noon the desert sun is perfectly aligned, drenching Standley Chasm in a shower of brilliant red light, creating a breath-taking display of sheer rock face glowing from the reflected sunlight.

Walking along the track that links the carpark to the Chasm, you are following a creek where spring-fed pools attract a great variety of wildlife, especially birds. It is thanks to the water that the gully floor is lush with plants that range from delicate ferns to tall gums; including many other species such as the cycad palm that have survived here from a long-gone era that was much wetter. This 20 minute walk (one-way) is quite easy, but it is recommended that you wear sensible shoes.

Standley Chasm is located in a private flora and fauna reserve owned by the Iwupataka Land Trust. All native plants and animals are protected. Do not pat the dingoes.

Called Angkerle by the Aborigines, the Chasm's European name honours Mrs Ida Standley who in 1914, became the first school teacher in Alice Springs. In 1925, the school for children of Aboriginal descent was moved from Alice Springs to Jay Creek (Iwupataka) with Mrs Standley as matron. It was during her time at Jay Ceeek that she became the first non-Aboriginal women to visit the feature that now bears her name.

Standley Chasm - Snapshots from Australia

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