Located in the West MacDonnell National Park, Simpsons Gap is one of the more well known gaps in the West MacDonnell Range, being only 26 km west of Alice Springs. The Arrernte Aboriginal name for Simpsons Gap is Rungutjirpa, being the mythological home of a group of giant goanna ancestors.
Easily accessed, the Simpsons Gap area includes large areas of Mulga, as well as a stronghold for over 40 rare and relic plants. It is also an area that has important spiritual meaning for the Arrernte Aboriginal people, being where several dreaming trails and stories cross.
Due to the resident Black-footed Rock Wallabies, Simpsons Gap is a popular spot with visitors, especially at dawn and dust, although visitors have also been lucky to see a number of wallabies in the mid morning period during the cooler winter-spring season.
Simpsons Gap is also a unique gorge that is home to a number of species of arid land frogs. During the right conditions, as seen during the first couple of months in 2010, locals and visitors were thrilled to witness thousands of frogs ranging from the Desert Tree Frog, Spencer’s Burrowing Frog, Main’s Frog (also known as the Sheep Frog) and the delightful green Centralian Tree Frog. During such unique wildlife activity, the Parks and Wildlife Service of the NT put on special walks and night time tours to take in these events.
Take the Larapinta Drive west from Alice Springs. About 18 km, take the turn-off Larapinta Drive, and about 2 km further down the road is the Visitor Information Centre and Rangers Office. The Gap itself is a further 6 km drive. The Gap can also be reached by cycling along the Simpsons Gap Bike Path from Alice Springs.
- Ghost Gum Walk • 15 minutes return
This walk starts at the Simpson Gap Visitor Centre and illustrates the native plants of the area, including an ancient Ghost Gum.
- Cassia Hill Walk • 1 hour return
This walk leads to sweeping views of the Larapinta Valley.
Source: Northern Territory Parks and reserves
At certain times of the year, the NT Parks and reserves put on special talks, slideshows, walks and even night time spot lighting. Check their website for details.
For more information drop into the Alice Springs local visitor information centre or contact the NT Parks and reserves.