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MacDonnell Ranges Tours

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MacDonnell Ranges
The MacDonnell Ranges are a 400-mile (644-kilometer) stretch of mountains offering spectacular views and some of the top natural attractions in Australia’s Northern Territory. Visit the ranges to experience Simpson’s Gap, Standley Chasm, and the secluded water holes of Serpentine Gorge and Ellery Creek Big Hole.

The Basics
The MacDonnell Ranges are popular with hikers, as the 140-mile (223-kilometer) Larapinta Trail runs along the ridge and into the plains below. You don’t have to be a long-distance walker to enjoy the natural beauty of the ranges, however. Day trips from the town of Alice Springs show off the highlights of the range, from red rock formations and cold rock pools to the Ochre Pits where Australian Aboriginal people quarried for ochre pigment. Tours into the desert, whether on camel by day or to spot wildlife at night, typically include the MacDonnell Ranges as their backdrop.

Things to Know Before You Go
  • The MacDonnell Ranges are a must-visit for outdoors enthusiasts.
  • Day trips from Alice Springs typically last around 10 hours, including roundtrip transportation.
  • Wear sturdy shoes suitable for walking over uneven surfaces and don’t forget to bring sun protection, including sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat.
How to Get There
The MacDonnell Ranges begin 11 miles (18 kilometers) west of Alice Springs along Larapinta Drive. The park is accessible by car and via a bike path from Alice Springs. Once inside the park, you can get around on food, by bicycle, or in a 4WD vehicle.

When to Get There
The best season for weather in the mountains is from May to September. If visiting Standley Chasm, try to arrive around noon, when the sun paints the gorge walls a bright orange. Expect temperatures to peak above 95°F (35°C) during the summer months from November to April.

Wildlife in the MacDonnell Ranges
This area of the Australian Outback is excellent for wildlife viewing. The rare Centralian Tree Frog can be spotted in the MacDonnell Ranges’ cold rock pools, while bilby, echidna, and mala hang out around the foothills. Keep an eye out for black-footed rock wallaby, Pacific heron, and white-faced heron as well.
Address: Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia 0870, Australia
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6 Tours and Activities to Experience MacDonnell Ranges

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West MacDonnell Ranges Day Trip from Alice SpringsDay Trips

West MacDonnell Ranges Day Trip from Alice Springs

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Explore the West MacDonnell Ranges on a full-day tour from Alice Springs. Travel with an expert guide to highlights such as Simpsons Gap, Ormiston Gorge, Ochre Pits, Standley Chasm, Ellery Creek and Glen Helen. Have time to enjoy the region's natural beauty and capture photo ops of the Australian Outback as you hike into rock canyons, discover hidden waterholes and view historical sites. Chances to swim and hike along the way
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  • 10 hours
From  
US$95.02 
From  
US$95.02 
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  • 10 hours

West MacDonnell Ranges Pool to PoolDay Trips

West MacDonnell Ranges Pool to Pool

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Beat Australia's summer heat on this water-focused tour of the Wes MacDonnell Ranges. Spend the whole day pool-hopping in the national park with a small group, which ensures personalized attention and an intimate atmosphere. Stops include Ellery Creek Big Hole, Ormiston Gorge, the Glen Helen Gorge, and others for chances to don your bathing suit and jump in. Along the way, listen to guided commentary on the area's ecology and wildlife.
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  • 8 hours 30 minutes
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  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$70.22 
From  
US$70.22 
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  • 8 hours 30 minutes
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation

Early Morning Ballooning in Alice SpringsHalf-day Tours

Early Morning Ballooning in Alice Springs

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Sometimes driving through a small part of the Australian Outback isn’t enough. See the desert from above on a morning hot-air balloon ride. This tour from Alice Springs gets you up in the air near dawn for a scenic ride. Spot wildlife, including the elusive Red Kangaroo, from above, take in views of the landscape, and enjoy sparkling wine afterward.
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  • 4 hours
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  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$197.96 
From  
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  • 4 hours
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation

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Alice Springs Desert Park Nocturnal TourWalking Tours

Alice Springs Desert Park Nocturnal Tour

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Discover the plants, animals, and people of Australia’s central desert environments during an evening tour of the Alice Springs Desert Park. Your guide leads you on a nighttime walking tour that allows you to see creatures such as echidna and mala (rufous-hare wallaby) as they become active after dark.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
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  • Free Cancellation
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US$34.75 
From  
US$34.75 
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
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  • Free Cancellation

5-Day Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta 4WD Camping TourHiking & Camping

5-Day Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta 4WD Camping Tour

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Camp in the Outback on this 5-day tour of Australia’s Red Centre, departing from Alice Springs. Travel by 4WD vehicle to Uluru (Ayers Rock), Kata Tjuta (the Olgas), Kings Canyon and the West MacDonnell Ranges. Swim in rock holes, take guided walks, and see the monoliths at sunrise and sunset. On a visit to the Oak Valley Aboriginal Community, you’ll witness ancient cave paintings and hear storytelling by Aboriginal guides. Enjoy campfire meals and sleep under the stars in private bush camps on this small-group tour, limited to 16 people.
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  • 5 days
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US$935.07 
From  
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  • 5 days

4-Day 4WD Camping Tour: Uluru, Kata Tjuta, and Kings CanyonHiking & Camping

4-Day 4WD Camping Tour: Uluru, Kata Tjuta, and Kings Canyon

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Explore the Australian Outback on a 4-day camping trip that takes you to iconic sites in the Red Centre, including Uluru (Ayers Rock), Kata Tjuta (the Olgas), Kings Canyon, and the West MacDonnell Ranges. Begin the tour in Alice Springs or Ayers Rock and travel with your expert guide by 4WD-vehicle. Hike, swim, and sleep in a swag or permanent tent under the stars on a small-group tour that is limited to 16 people for a more customized experience of stunning Central Australia.
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  • 4 days
From  
US$812.12 
From  
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  • 4 days

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