I was lucky enough to go for a drive along the West McDonnell ranges yesterday and visit some more of the most picturesque places I've seen. Glen Helen is located 133 km west of Alice Springs at the end of the sealed section of road known as Namatjira Drive. The drive was anything but boring. Scenic mountains at every turn together with mountains on both sides of the road for most of the way - with so many different colours and shapes.
And then I arrived at the Glen Helen Gorge. The information area says that the rocky slopes around the gorge are home to a colony of black-footed rock wallabies which sometimes appear in the late afternoon and early evening but I didn't see any. But it was interesting to read that Glen Helen is one of only six permanent waterholes on the Finke River. Glen Helen is known to local Aborigines as Yapalpe and the Finke River is Larapinta which means 'serpent'. It was a favourite meeting place for the Aboriginal people from the West and Central MacDonnell Ranges.
Only a short drive from Glen Helen was Ormiston Gorge which consists of the spectacular Pound and the narrow gorge which is regarded by many as one of the most beautiful gorges in Central Australia. The subject of a number of paintings by Albert Namatjira the gorge rises to over 300 metres at points and is characterised by the beautiful river red gums and rock wallabies which are in the park. I went for a walk through the middle of the Gorge and after a while came face to face with a wallaby - just staring at me! A little further on a I saw a Goanna lazing in the sun. The walk was interesting as it was mostly large rocks that I had to climb around to get through the Gorge - so picturesque.
I thought it amazing that among the rocks and mountains that trees still grow!
From here I went to the Ochre Pits - a natural ochre quarry mined by Aboriginal peoples for painting and decoration.