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Kamis, 16 Februari 2017

4WD Driving on Macdonnel Ranges

 Australia is best discovered on the road, book your campervan hire for cheaper travel.

The Red Centre Way is a journey through red desert country navigating this area's most famous attractions. Travel west from Alice Springs along Namatjira Drive to absorb the spectacular West MacDonnell Ranges and meet the Mereenie Loop Road at Glen Helen Gorge. From this resort outpost, the track snakes south to Watarrka National Park, and further to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

Alternatively, travel west along Larapinta Drive to Hermannsburg, 130 kilometres west of Alice Springs, before joining the Meerenie Loop and continuing the Red Centre Way. Hermannsburg is the home of famous Aboriginal painter Albert Namatjira and the historic Lutheran Mission where he learned to paint.

Parts of the Red Centre Way are for four-wheel drive vehicles only. Towing caravans and standard trailers is not advised on unsealed sections.
If travelling the Mereenie Loop Road section of the Red Centre Way it traverses Aboriginal land and requires a permit available from Tourism Central Australia, Glen Helen Resort, Hermannsburg Petrol Station and Kings Canyon Resort.

The Haasts Bluff Road, connecting Namatjira Drive and the Tanami Road, offers another alternative loop trip through Central Australia. No permit is required, but travellers cannot venture more than 50 metres from the roadside on some sections.

The turn-off to Redbank Gorge is 20 kilometres past Glen Helen Gorge and the car park a further five kilometres. It is then a 20-minute walk to the gorge. The turn-off is on a gravel section of Namatjira Drive and a four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended.
The gorge is fantastic to swim or float through on an air-mattress. The water is deep and colddue to the rock walls towering above, so swimmers should use a flotation device and wear a wetsuit.

Roma Gorge is accessed from the Namatjira Drive, west of Glen Helen, and is five kilometres past the Redbank Gorge turnoff. The road follows a sandy and stony river bed for about eight kilometres. A high clearance four-wheel-drive is required.
The Gorge itself has beautiful scenery and features ancient Aboriginal petroglyphs (rock engravings).

The Finke Gorge four-wheel drive track through Boggy Hole (this route is recommended for experienced four-wheel drivers only) is an alternative route between Finke Gorge National Park and Watarrka National Park From Larapinta Drive to Ernest Giles Road it is 120 kilometres long. The lllamurta Springs Conservation Reserve can beaccessed from the southern section of the track. Although this track appears to be a shortcut between the parks, the Mereenie Loop is the quicker route. The Finke Gorge four- wheel drive track is an eight- hour drive from Hermannsburg to Watarrka National Park, passing through the permanent waterhole at Boggy Hole. The drive amongst the River Red Gums is an excellent opportunity to observe wildlife, especially the waterbirds.
The track is mostly sandy, so ensure your hubs are locked in, the four-wheel drive is engaged and your tyres are deflated to 30psi (200kpa) to increase their surface area. Further deflation may be required in softer sections. Drive in the existing wheel ruts to avoid getting bogged or causing erosion. A side trip into lllamurta Springs Conservation Reserve is worthwhile as this reserve is one of the most peaceful and isolated. Its natural values are due to the impressive southern foothills of the James Range and the presence of a permanent natural spring. The reserve provides a moist habitat for several relict aquatic plant species, and also protects the ruins of the lllamurta Springs Police Camp that was in operation between 1893 and 1912.
Due to the remote nature of the Finke Gorge four-wheel drive track and infrequent traffic, there is a high risk of becoming stuck or suffering vehicle damage, making travelling with another vehicle essential. Road conditions are variable, subject to severe flooding and should always be checked prior to departure.
Call 1800 246199.

Palm Valley Track is located in Finke Gorge National Park, 133 kilometres west of AliceSprings. Access to Palm Valley is just beyond the Finke River causeway from Hermannsburg.
The road is gravel with sandy and rocky sections following the Finke riverbed, and may be impassable after rain. A high clearance four-wheel drive vehicle is required.
Palm Valley is home to a diverse range of plant species, many of which are rare and unique to the area, including the Red Cabbage Palm.
In Palm Valley, the Arankaia Walk (two kilometres, one hour return) and the longer Mpulungkinya Walk (five kilometres, two hour return) meander among a lush oasis of slender palms and return to the car park.

Owen Springs Reserve, south¬west of Alice Springs, can be accessed via two routes. It isa 40-minute drive to the entrance of each route; Larapinta Drive, 50 kilometres west of Alice Springs or the Stuart Highway, 66 kilometres south of Alice Springs.
The track covers 50 kilometres from the Larapinta Drive entrance to the Stuart Highway and takes about 1.5 hours. A four- wheel drive is essential. Some sections of the track follow the sandy bed of the river and can be impassable after rain.
Vehicles must keep to the main track, except to access camp sites.
Owen Springs Reserve was formerly a cattle station and the area is steeped in Territory history. It is possible to walk around the historic Old Owen Springs Homestead ruins.
The main access track through the reserve closely follows
explorer John McDouall Stuart's route through the MacDonnell Ranges.

This track is an alternative route to Kings Canyon from Alice Springs and travels for 99 kilometres between the Stuart Highway and Luritja Road.
Along the way you can visit the Henbury Meteorite Craters that were formed when a meteor hit the Earth’s surface 4,700 years ago.
The reserve can be reached by conventional two-wheel drive, however care should be taken after heavy rains as gravel roads can become impassable. Four- wheel drive is recommended if planning to continue on the Ernest Giles Road to Watarrka National Park.

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