A glorious loop from Alice Springs, taking in the West MacDonnell Ranges, Palm Valley and Hermannsburg, catches the Red Centre’s alluring highlights.

Story By Terri Cowley

Sunrise on Mt Sonder is one of the “must do” experiences in the West MacDonnell Ranges. It can be accessed from Alice Springs in an easily accessible driving loop via the mostly sealed Larapinta and Namatjira drives, followed by the dirt track of the Mereenie Loop that takes you back to Alice. Every gorge and gap in the ranges, formed millions of years ago as the quartzite eroded, is unique. Several days are needed, at least, to see all of them.
Heading west out of Alice, the first stop-off is Simpsons Gap, best accessed at first light as the sun rises behind the gap in the ranges, bleeding into a shallow pool of water. The red ranges are studded with the ghost gums made famous in the watercolours of Aboriginal landscape painter Albert Namatjira.

This Story is from Issue #102

Outback Magazine: Aug/Sept 2015