Ok, prepare to be Gorge’d out! There are sooooo many beautiful gorges in the West Mac’s!!
So – we will work through them from the Westernmost ones through to those closest to Alice Springs, starting with Roma Gorge (kids thought it was cool that this Gorge was the same name as their cousin! Hello Roma!!).
Roma Gorge was a pretty long drive in and only accessible by 4wd. Here we got to see some Aboriginal Petroglyphs which are carved into the rocks in the gorge. It was 8km’s in along quite a corrugated and rocky creek bed track. We enjoyed it as we had the whole place to ourselves but you do need a good couple of hours! The walk into the gorge is only about 250metres from the car park, so not far once you have made the drive in.
The next gorge you come to is Redbank Gorge and this was my favourite. It was only a 2km walk in but was quite slow going for us with Toby and Lex and their little legs walking over rocks – definitely worth the walk though and we think the National Park campground here was the pick of them with quite secluded sites with your own fire pit, table and plenty of pit toilets around.
Next is Glen Helen Gorge and this was the gorge closest to our campsite at Finke 2-mile – pretty much just over the road from where we were camped. There is a resort/pub and campground there so one night we splashed out and spent some of our treat money on dinner and a shower there. It was such a great night! We couldn’t believe how much cleaner we all looked after a shower – we hadn’t realised how dirty we had gotten in 3 days bush camping! We had crocodile and kangaroo spring rolls to share to start with and then Matt had the Kangaroo steaks which really were very delicious!! The kids were in heaven to choose their own dinners from the kids menu and it was an extra special night as Lexi had gone her first whole day without sucking her fingers (a habit she has had since she was born and we are aiming to break on this trip!) so the whole family was rewarded with icecreams for dessert! Matt and I had a wine each and there was a lovely roaring fire going in the bar along with an entertainer who was fantastic! It was the best night we have had so far – we all really enjoyed the treat! And Trice – check out Matt on the spoons – I took the video just for you hehehehe!
Ormiston Gorge is the largest of the gorges in the West Mac’s and one of the most popular, so it was quite busy here. We managed to be there for a Ranger talk which the kids loved as he showed them how to identifiy animals from their tracks and scat (poo!). He had heaps of cool things for the kids to touch and look at as well – the Northern Territory National Parks are fantastic with their facilities and ranger information sessions. We also did the Ghost Gum walk here which is about a 3km walk around the rim of the Gorge – pretty easy walk and lots of amazing views!
We did do a drive in to the ruins of the old Serpentine Lodge chalets which was quite interesting. The track in is only short but quite rough (4wd recommended) and we enjoyed reading about the lodge being the halfway point for tourists to stopover in the West Mac’s in the days before comfortable 4wd’s were invented! Unfortunately it closed due to water shortage problems and there looked to be an interesting walk in to a dam that was put in there, but the kids were done with walking by the time we got here!
The final gorge we visited was Matt’s favourite, Serpentine Gorge. It is the least touristy of all the gorges and no camping is allowed there. It was any easy 1.5km walk in to the gorge (although we did have to bribe the kids with freddo frogs to get them to do this one) and Matt and Jack also did the short but very steep scramble/climb to the lookout which has spectacular views over the ranges.
A beautiful, beautiful part of Australia, we loved our time in the West Mac’s!