MacDonnell Ranges: Our most recommended tours and activities

Alice Springs: Early Morning Hot Air Balloon Flight

1. Alice Springs: Early Morning Hot Air Balloon Flight

Your ballooning adventure begins in the cool pre-dawn darkness as you are picked up from your accommodation in Alice Springs. During the drive to the desert launch site you will get to know the crew as they make final weather checks and explain the routine for the morning. At the launch site gas burners are used to inflate the balloons just as the sun lights up the rugged MacDonnell Ranges. Once floating gently in the air you will appreciate the vast remoteness of the Australian outback. Wildlife, particularly big red kangaroos are seen nearly every day as the balloon floats above spinifex grasses, mulga scrub and cattle stations. After landing, enjoy a program designed to allow you a unique opportunity to experience the Australia bush. Most landings are in the desert, kilometers away from the nearest road. There is no traffic, no other people and no noise. The perfect place to enjoy a glass of sparkling Australian wine or if you prefer some tropical apple and guava juice. Perhaps mix the two for a delightful morning cocktail. Drinks are accompanied by a variety of muffins, biscuits, slices of cheese and fresh fruit. It's the perfect mix to enjoy before reboarding your bus to return to “town”.

From Alice Springs: West MacDonnell Ranges Day Trip

2. From Alice Springs: West MacDonnell Ranges Day Trip

Be picked up from your Alice Springs accommodation at 7:45 AM and set off on a day of adventure and exploration! Enjoy the spectacular outback scenery and photo opportunities as you travel along the magnificent West MacDonnell Ranges, stopping at historic sites. Enjoy beautiful walks at Simpsons Gap, a natural rock amphitheater that is home to endangered black-footed rock wallabies. Stop at Standley Chasm for morning tea and a leisurely stroll. At Ochre Pits, discover rock walls covered by natural colored ochre, used for sacred ceremonies of the local Aboriginal people. Ormiston Gorge is up next: a great place for a swim, or to see the towering walls of the gorge and pound, local plants and wildlife. By now, you will have certainly worked up an appetite for lunch. The next stop is at Glen Helen. The landscape here is spectacular - a towering sandstone wall is the first thing you see as you arrive. The area includes views of Mount Sonder, one of the highest points in Central Australia, which changes colors with the light.  On the way back to Alice Springs, witness the famous and enchanting Ellery Creek Big Hole. This waterhole is one of Central Australia’s most pristine, so don’t forget your swimmers in the warmer months. Visit Flynns Memorial and from October to March, you may decide to partake in an incredible Sunset Camel Ride at the Camel farm (optional, at your own expense). The panoramic landscapes of the West MacDonnell Ranges are extraordinary for their immensity and the spectacular array of sunburnt oranges, maroons and purples on display. These mighty ranges light up in brilliant oranges and reds at sunset on the return trip to Alice Springs. Get dropped off at your accommodation in Alice Springs at approximately 5:30 PM.

From Alice Springs: West MacDonnell Ranges Guided Tour

3. From Alice Springs: West MacDonnell Ranges Guided Tour

Experience the beauty of the West MacDonnell Ranges on this tour from Alice Springs. Head to must-see locations like Anzac Hill, Flynn's Grave Historical Reserve, Simpsons Gap, and Standley Chasm. Marvel at natural wonders and stop at some local memorials. Be picked up from the comfort of your accommodation in Alice Springs. Sit back and relax in the comfortable bus on your way to Anzac Hill. Stop for panoramic views over the town of Alice Springs and the surrounding MacDonnell ranges. Learn about the war memorial at Anzac Hill. Travel to John Flynn's Grave Historical Reserve where the Reverend Flynn was laid to rest. Hear about Flynn, the founder of Royal Flying Doctor Service. Enjoy the changing colors of the West MacDonnell Ranges from this location and get some photos. Continue to the towering cliffs of Simpsons Gap. Discover why this area is important to the local Arrernte Aboriginal people. Stroll along a dry creek bed to a dramatic gap in the MacDonnell Ranges. Try to spot some local wildlife like black-footed rock-wallabies at the watering hole. Head to the dramatic Standley Chasm geological formation. Standley Chasm is operated by Arrernte aboriginal family members who are direct descendants of the Aboriginal people who have lived in the area for thousands of years. Experience the unique landscapes created by the micro-climate in this valley.

Alice Springs: Guided Outback Camel Ride

4. Alice Springs: Guided Outback Camel Ride

Looking for a thrilling adventure that immerses you in the natural beauty of Central Australia? Choose Pyndan Camel Tracks for an unforgettable tour that's perfect for adventurers. Embark on a unique journey through the stunning landscapes up close to the MacDonnell Ranges, led by our experienced guides. From our one-hour afternoon ride to our very popular sunset tour, we offer a range of options that cater to your sense of adventure and desire to immerse yourself in the unexpected serenity of the Australian desert. Explore the rugged terrain, encounter native wildlife like kangaroos and eagles, and marvel at the spectacular views of the MacDonnell Ranges. Our camels are friendly and well-trained, ensuring a comfortable ride for all ages. The camel ride starts from at Pyndan Camel Tracks, located 20-minutes by road from Alice Springs. Your experienced guide will lead you into White Gums Station to enjoy panoramic vistas across the MacDonnell Ranges and hope to spot kangaroos during your one-hour ride. You'll discover the majesty of the outback and bond with your friendly camels. Visit the ‘Camel Lounge’ to learn about these adorable creatures and browse our camel themed souvenirs. Chat with your experienced guide’ about camels in Central Australia, camel farm life and our sustainable tourism practices. This is a great experience for all ages. Our sunset tour includes light refreshments. The tour ends with drop-off at your Alice Springs accommodation or in the town centre, if requested.

Alice Springs: Town Highlights and West MacDonnell Ranges

5. Alice Springs: Town Highlights and West MacDonnell Ranges

Depart Alice Springs to explore The West Macs, stopping at the historical Flynn’s Grave Memorial, the founder of the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Next up, travel to Simpsons Gap, featuring towering cliffs and a permanent waterhole. The site is significant to the Arrernte people as being the home of giant goanna ancestors. Following that, take a walk to spot black-footed rock wallabies and take magnificent photos. You'll then visit Standley Chasm. Traditionally known as Angkerle Atwatye, this is an important cultural place which is sacred to women's dreaming in Aboriginal culture. Take a 1.2-kilometer walk to access the dramatic 80-meter-tall rock-face, and on the way there or back, note the unusual features of the natural landscape. The unique micro climate in this valley has created some distinctive features, such as ancient cycads and a myriad of rock types and pebbles that are thousands of years old. After your walk, enjoy morning tea at a local cafe before heading back to Alice Springs for some free time for lunch before setting off again to explore the town. In the afternoon, tour the sights of "The Alice" including the School of the Air. Learn how children who cannot access schools are educated by radio, and you may have the opportunity to listen to and observe actual lessons in progress on air. Stop at the historic Telegraph Station, which marks the original site of the first European settlement in Alice Springs. Visit the Royal Flying Doctors Service, where you will see how medical aid reaches those who live in the remote "outback". You'll also stop at the Alice Springs Reptile Centre, where you can see up close and maybe touch some of the lizards and snakes of Central Australia's semi-arid desert. The tour later concludes with panoramic views of the township of Alice Springs and the MacDonnell Ranges from the top of Anzac Hill.

MacDonnell Ranges & Alice Town Highlights Full Day Tour

6. MacDonnell Ranges & Alice Town Highlights Full Day Tour

MacDonnell Ranges and Alice town highlights Full-Day Tour is an excellent opportunity to explore the panoramic landscapes of the West MacDonnell ranges, popular gaps in the East Macdonnell ranges, and historical and colourful places in Alice Springs. Itinerary Anzac Hill Our first visit of the day is at Anzac Hill, where you will be able to take in panoramic views over the town of Alice Springs and the surrounding MacDonnell ranges. You may be able to capture one photo to cover the entire town. Anzac Hill is a memorial dedicated to those who served in Australia’s defense forces during all international wars. John Flynn's Grave Historical Reserve Your next stopping will be at Flynn’s Grave Memorial, the resting place of Reverend Flynn, the founder of the Royal Flying doctor service. Simpsons Gap Simpson Gap features the towering cliffs of Simpsons Range, a permanent waterhole, and opportunities to spot resident wildlife and ancient Red River Gums with a taste of Central Australia. Simpsons Gap is a significant site to the local Arrernte Aboriginal people and was the mythological home of giant goanna ancestors. Standley Chasm (Angkerle Atwatye) The next stop on your exploration of West MacDonnell is a picturesque walk at Standley Chasm. After Mrs. Ida Standley, who in 1914 became the first school teacher in Alice Springs, this place was named Standley Chasm by Western Arrentre aboriginal people. LUNCH BREAK (45 MINUTES) Araluen Arts Centre You will get an excellent opportunity to look closely at Albert Namatjira's arts, learn about unique natural history, follow the evolution of the landscape and fascinating creatures, and explore the panoramic landscapes of the West MacDonnell Ranges. The Araluen Arts Centre aims to develop a collection of artworks that reflect a permanent record of art practice in Central Australia. Royal Flying Doctor Service Alice Springs Tour Facility Your next exciting place is Royal Flying Doctor Service Alice Springs Tour Facility. See, experience, and learn through the wonder of technology the heroic tales of the birth and growth of the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Alice Springs Telegraph Station The Alice Springs Telegraph Station is located within the Alice Springs Telegraph Station Historical Reserve, four kilometers north of the Alice Springs town center in the Northern Territory of Australia. Established in 1872 to relay messages between Darwin and Adelaide, it is the original site of the first European settlement in central Australia. It was one of twelve stations along the Overland Telegraph Line. Emily and Jessie Gaps Move onward to Emily and Jessie Gaps, the first noticeable feature of the East MacDonnell Ranges as you drive 24 kilometers out of Alice Springs, the two small gaps in the Heavitree Range are spiritual sites to the Eastern Arrernte Aboriginal people. With these attractions, we conclude your tour and will drop you at your hotels or caravan parks.

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What people are saying about MacDonnell Ranges

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 138 reviews

This trip was wonderful! Our driver and guide, Felipe, was very nice and knowledgeable. We saw a lot and we had so much fun; also we had a morning tea and a very nice lunch. Absolutely adapt for a solo trip and it’s a perfect value of money. I very much suggest you to buy this tour!

Pick up on time and our guide Lyn was excellent through out the day. Visited several different sights which were all interesting and picturesque. Lyn gave lots of information and also prepared a lovely lunch. A very enjoyable day.

Our guide his name Philippine is very nice and humorous person and we have a nice time this trip. I will recommend to my friend thanks

Great tour with many special touches. Informative and interesting commentary and put in heaps of effort to make the trip so good.

Fabulous all the way.Andy,Duncan and Jason were brilliant.Couldnt have been better