Starting from Heavitree Gap and stretching east from Alice Springs is the continuation of the magnificent MacDonnell Ranges, known as the East MacDonnell Range. Stretching some 150 km the ranges offer the visitor access to some wonderful Centralian landscapes — gaps, gorges, geological formations, bush walks, Aboriginal art, bird watching and picnic spots.

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. It is here you can see the rock painting that depicts the caterpillar dreaming.

Rock art at Emily Gap, East MacDonnell Ranges
Rock art depicting ‘Caterpillar Dreaming’ at Emily Gap, East MacDonnell Ranges

The East MacDonnell Range region, holds 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, having a picnic or camping overnight.

You can join a tour or drive yourself east from Alice Springs to uncover the jewels of the ‘East Macs’. The road is sealed for the first 75 km (to Trephina Gorge Nature Park), so you can take a day trip to see some of the East’s attractions in a standard car. If you have a four-wheel-drive vehicle there is even more to explore beyond Trephina Gorge.

Corroboree Rock
Corroboree Rock in the East MacDonnell Ranges.

There are a range of scenic spots for camping. Facilities vary from basic bush camping with no facilities to established campgrounds with gas barbecues, picnic tables, toilets and water.

Ross River Resort is 80 km east of Alice Springs and offers camping sites and ensuite cabins. Just 115 km north-east of Alice Springs is the Hale River Homestead at Old Ambalindum, located on the Binns Track.