The MacDonnell Ranges are among the longest of the parallel ridge systems that corrugate the Centre’s landscape. Their east–west axis, passing through Alice Springs, is broken by myriad gaps carved through the ranges during better-watered epochs. It is these striking ruptures, along with the grandeur and colours of the rugged landscape – particularly west of Alice Springs – that make a few days spent in the MacDonnells so worthwhile. The expansive West MacDonnells are best appreciated with at least one overnight stay at any of the campsites mentioned here, while the often-overlooked East MacDonnells are a better bet if your time is limited. Both can be visited as part of a tour or with your own vehicle – a 4WD is recommended to get the most out of a visit, as some of the best spots are along corrugated dirt tracks. Take heed of off-road driving advice.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Australia features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

A Rough Guide to: visiting Australia's Great Barrier Reef

A Rough Guide to: visiting Australia's Great Barrier Reef

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is one of the world’s greatest natural wonders – it’s the largest structure ever built by living things and is even visib…

25 Oct 2017 • Penny Walker insert_drive_file Article
The best aerial views in the world

The best aerial views in the world

Got a head for heights? If you're craving a new perspective on your travels, the best thing to do is get up high. From mountain-top panoramas to cityscapes, her…

17 Oct 2017 • Olivia Rawes camera_alt Gallery
Undiscovered Australia: 7 places to get off the tourist trail

Undiscovered Australia: 7 places to get off the tourist trail

Australia is a vast country, though most visitors stay on the same tried and tested track, ticking off well-touristed pitstops along the way. But, of course, …

07 Aug 2017 • Helen Ochyra insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook