Ormiston is Gorge ous. Sorry couldn’t resist The reality though is that it really is!
Ormiston is part of the West MacDonnell Ranges just west of the outback town of Alice Springs. The West Macs are a real chunk of rugged Australian beauty and Ormiston gorge is one of the diamonds in the rough country out here.
The MacDonnell Ranges rise out of the outback like the backbone of a T-rex. Where the boiling rock twisted and broke the mountains into pieces along the range, gorges formed and there are none more special than Ormiston.
Spend a couple of days here. The campground is a stones throw from the gorge and has great amenities including a shower! It’ll cost ya though. At $10 each its double the usual $5 fee to camp elsewhere in the ranges.
Allocate one day to the Ormiston Pound walk. It takes about 3 hours – longer if you want to mosey, take pictures and soak in the atmosphere. I would recommend taking it slow to get the most out of it. Each mangled rock wall that lines the gorge has a story to tell having held watch over this land for a couple of hundred million years.
The pound walk is a loop – I chose to go clockwise which I really enjoyed. You start by making your way up a dry stream in the middle of the gorge which opens out into the pound – which is a big open space enclosed on all sides by mountains – hence the name pound like a dog pound I guess – all enclosed! You then hike up a ridge and finish skirting the ridge through some fantastic bushland.
i preferred this route but others swear by the counterclockwise way as you rise up high on the ridge and get a birds eye view of the pound before entering it and then you finish off in the gorge. It’s up to you.
I then stayed overnight and got up early to do the short Ghost Gum walk and watch the sun come up over the gorge. This walk takes you up to a terrific viewing platform high above the gorge and then loops back around past the waterhole. You need to climb over quite a few boulders on the loop back but this is great because it slows you down and compels you to stop and take a look around. Now I don’t want to sound weird or that I have no life but honestly the colours of the rocks are beautiful: pinks, light purples, greys and reds and everything in between. Yes I am raving about rocks but they really are magnificent.
So what I am trying to say is go to Ormiston gorge. It is an essential visit on any trip to the West MacDonnells.