Located near the centre of Australia, the West MacDonnell Ranges are an impressive mountain ranges that run parallel ridges that travel to the west and to the east of Alice Springs. These ranges cover a distance of 644km, and contain spectacular sites to all travelers and adventurers both. These mountain ranges not only hold cultural aboriginal significance, but also contain breathtaking gorges and gaps that are a must see for tourists and locals. The three highest peaks in the West MacDonnell Ranges are Mount Keil, standing at an impressive 5023 feet, followed by Mount Liebig and Mount Sonder at 5000 ft and 4528 ft respectively.
The West MacDonnell Ranges were named after Sir Richard MacDonnell, who was the governor of Australia at the time of their naming by explorer John McDouall Stuart when he reached them in April of 1860. The ranges were further explored by many other expeditions including John Ross and David Lindsay.
Over a period of 300-350 million years, erosion, folding and fault lines have continued to make the MacDonnell Ranges one of Australia’s most notable locations for natural, simple beauty. The ranges are most recognizable for their red quartzite peaks gorges and peaks but many other types of rocks exist there including sandstone and granite and many, many more. The ranges are also notable for their fossil evidence, demonstrating that the area was once covered by an inland sea that once covered large parts of central Australia.
When visiting Australia, no trip is complete without visiting the West MacDonnell Ranges and experiencing this breathtaking site for yourself. The gorges shelter many species of plants and animals – some of which can only be found in this region like up to fifteen land snail species, and are also the home to 53 threatened species including plants and animals like the Palm Valley Myrtle and the Australian Painted Snipe. The mesic environment breeds ecological diversity supported by permanent wetland areas and springs. The West MacDonnell ranges also include pieces of tropical history like the Palm Valley that remind visitors what life was like in an era gone by. With numerous trails to explore and various treks to experience, these ranges are a truly beautiful place to visit. Please contact us with any questions about our tours of the West MacDonnell Ranges of central Australia to see this magnificent site for yourself.