The Red Centre Way - Northern Territory Touring Routes - Tourism Drives
The ‘Red Centre Way’ is a tourism experience connecting
travellers from Alice Springs,
MacDonnell Range and the
MacDonnell National Park,
Canyon in Watarrka
National Park, to
Promoted as the ‘Red Centre Way’, it is a road network that
takes in the Namatjira Drive, Mereenie Loop, Luritja Road and the Lasseter
Much of the route is sealed road, except for the Mereenie Loop Road that connects to Namatjira Drive
and the side road taking in Tnorala and
Redbank Gorge, which are
still unsealed and requires off road 4WD vehicles.
During and after a wet period
many sections can get cut off by flood water and unsealed road may become impassable
for some time.
The ‘Red Centre Way’ provides an opportunity for the visitor to experience
the ‘real Central Australia’, taking in the spectacular scenery, immersing
yourself in local Aboriginal culture, connecting with nature in the unique flora
and fauna, and leaving with memories of a journey through red desert sands,
spinifex, desert oaks, mulga, ghost gums, river red gums, gaps, chasm,
gorges and permanent waterholes. Whether you want to explore the region in 5
days, or take your time and spend 2 weeks or longer in the ‘Red Centre’, it’s
your choice and make sure you pack the camera!!
Check out our listing of
Central Australia accommodation, that include
Watarrka National Park / Kings
Canyon accommodation and
accommodation. In addition to our listed online travel guide information, contact the local tourism visitor centre for your destination for more attractions, tours, local maps and other information.
Glen Helen Gorge
Some of the must-see attractions along the Red Centre Way include:
• Considered the heart of Central
Australia, Alice Springs sits between the spectacular
East and West
MacDonnell Ranges. With its unique pioneering history, flora and fauna
attractions such as the
Botanic Garden and Alice
Springs Reptile Centre, galleries filled with beautiful indigenous art,
there is no shortage of things to see and do in Alice. Check out our listing of
the many other
activities and attractions in the Alice Springs region.
• Just 26 km west of Alice Springs,
Simpsons Gap has a historic significance and is home to a resident population of
rock wallabies. There is also a number of
found here, although these are only seen when conditions are right.
• Called Angkerle by the Aborigines, Standley Chasm is located in a private flora and fauna reserve owned by the
Iwupataka Land Trust. Gouged from tough sandstone by floods that, over untold
millions of years, have surged down a narrow tributary of the Finke River
system, Standley Chasm is a deep cleft, with slopes on either side rising 80
metres above the floor. The Chasm is at its most dramatic an hour either side of
noon on a sunny day. Then when the desert sun is perfectly aligned at noon, the
sheer walls of Standley Chasm glow a brilliant red light from the reflected
Ellery Creek Big Hole
• Part of the Finke River system,
Ellery Creek is one of the largest permanent waterholes in the West MacDonnell National
Park. The waterhole is a great place for a swim or just to relax on a hot day,
should take care, as the water is deep, and during the winter, extremely cold.
For your own safety, do not climb or jump from rocks.
• Just down the road from Glen Helen is
Ormiston Gorge, where for the more active, you can take a hike up the gorge to
spectacular views stretching across the West MacDonnell Ranges. There are also a
number of other short walks, one of which takes you down to the waterhole.
• To the local Western Arrernte Aboriginal People the Mount Sonder area, or
Rwetyepme (roo - choop - ma), is criss-crossed with the tracks of their
dreamtime ancestors. The main story for Rwetyepme is the Man / Euro (Hill
Kangaroo) ‘dreaming’, told on signs at Redbank Gorge.
The colours of Mount Sonder vary throughout the day, from a spectacular
red to a deep purple, and were captured in paintings by the Arrernte watercolourist Albert
Namatjira during the 1940s and 1950s.
Glen Helen Gorge
• With its permanent waterhole, Glen
Helen Gorge provides a great overnight stop along the Mereenie Loop Road.
Travellers can stay at the nearby Glen Helen Resort and Homestead, which is set at the base and against
the gorgeous cliffs leading into the gorge. There are motel style accommodation,
powered sites or ‘rough it’ under the stars in well maintained campgrounds,
as well as restaurant and bar facilities.
Helicopter rides of various lengths are also available,
providing a unique perspective on the surrounding landscape.
• Located at the western end of the
West MacDonnell National Park, just 157 km west of Alice Springs, the narrow
gorge through the red quartzite range offers relief with a number of waterholes.
A great place to Mount Sonder and there are camping facilities.
Watarrka National Park
• Home to the renown natural attraction
a chasm some 270 metres deep featuring ancient sandstone walls rising up to a
plateau of weathered domes. The 6 km rim walk offers an opportunity to take in
the magnificent views, from the plateau of rocky domes known as ‘the Lost City’,
down into the cool sheltered valley and permanent waterhole of the ‘Garden of
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
• Two of Australia’s most famous
outback icons and culturally significant landmarks from which the park gets its
name, Uluru and Kata Tjuta, are located here. This is traditional land of the Anangu Aboriginal
and is a site of deep cultural significance to the local Anangu