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Ochre Pits

Central Australia

Travel NT Information Destination Guide

Northern Territory, Australia Travel

Ochre Pits (Central Australia)
Ochre Pits Info

Central Australia
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View our range of Alice Springs, Uluru, Kata Tjuta, the Olgas, Kings Canyon and other tours. Many of the tours commence from Alice Springs, Ayers Rock and Darwin.

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Ayers Rock / Uluru

Northern Territory Tours
Ochre Pits in Central Australia - Cities, Towns and Localities
Ochre is integral to the Dreamtime stories — stories of Creation and Law — of Aboriginal people throughout Australia. There are many ochre pits around Australia, of which the major ones include:
  • Central Australia, NT
    (near Alice Springs)
  • Campbell Ranges, NT
    (particular fine ochre comes from here)
  • Wilgamia, WA
    (ochre was carried as far as Queensland from this site)
  • Arnhem Land, NT
    (has many ochre mines)
  • Parachilna, SA
    (ochre from this mine could travel as far as 1,000 km)
  • Red Hill Ochre Quarry, ACT
    (high grade red and yellow ochres and white pipe clay is found here)
  • Tasmania
    (red ochre came from a site near Mount Roland - people would travel from the east and west coast of Tasmania to south of present day Ulverstone for a particularly fine source of ochre)
Colourful Curves and Swirls
Ahead of you is one of the most dramatic formations of the Ochre Pits, with swirling near-vertical curves of colour 'painted' on the 10 m high cliff face. Wind and rain have carved into the layers to reveal dramatic designs.

The colours
Yellow ochre, the dominant colour of these cliffs, is caused by a mixture of white clay and iron oxide (rust).

The red-brown colours are formed by high levels of oxidised iron in very fine-grain haematite or limonite.

White ochre has very little or no iron. The white colour comes from kaolin, a white clay mineral.
Tiny fragments of mica and quartz give the ochre a shiny quality.

Source: Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife Commission - park signage

Central Australia Ochre Pits - Images

Location of ochre pits © AusEmade PL, April 2008

Colourful Curves and Swirls © AusEmade PL, April 2008

© AusEmade PL
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