Ormiston Gorge and Pound

  • Ormiston Gorge - © James Morrison
  • Ormiston Pound Walk  - © James Morrison

Key information: Ormiston Gorge and Pound

    • The Ormiston Gorge is a thrilling chasm in the heart of the West Macdonnell Ranges. The Ormiston Pound is a remarkable cliff-girt hole beyond the gorge, to which fewer people venture out.
      • Together they must be the places you have to get to in the West Macdonnell Range, if you have only got one day to spare.
        • Full of Australia's fascinating (and harshly beautiful) natural history.
        • ANYONE GOT ANY GOOD PHOTOS? WE WOULD BE DELIGHTED TO POST THEM!

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating81
  • Beauty30
  • Natural interest16
  • Human interest3
  • Charisma32
  • Negative points0
  • Total rating81

Vital Statistics

  • Length: 3 1/2 hrs
  • Level of Difficulty: Strenuous
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Ormiston Pound Walk  - ©James Morrison

WALK SUMMARY

The Ormiston Gorge is a thrilling chasm in the heart of the West Macdonnell Ranges, a short section of the Larapinta Trail, and easily accessible from the Alice Springs-Hermannsburg road. So, it gets visitors. The Ormiston Pound is a remarkable cliff-girt hole beyond the gorge, to which fewer people venture out. (Pound is an Australian geological term for a depression or basin surrounded by cliffs.)

 

The Ormiston Pound walk is a 3 1/2 hr circular walk from Ormiston Gorge car park. Start along the river bed along the road. Climb up to a saddle, then round to a brilliant view into the pound. Then descend into the pound, to view amazing old quartzite cliffs fractured and piled on top of each other through huge forces 300-400 million years ago. A huge variety of flora on the pound floor. The vast opposing quartzite cliffs narrow to form a creek, so the final water-hole has to be crossed holding our packs over our heads in chest-high water. Final climb out to a viewpoint back over the creek and forward to the river valley and carpark.

 

There is a huge variety of flora on the pound floor, of even greater beauty and variety than seen elsewhere in the area. Walkopedia friend Reggie Heyworth reports: "saw zebra finches and an extremely close up (2 feet!) encounter with a very confiding pair of spinifex pigeonsThe vast opposing quartzite cliffs narrow to form a creek, so the final water-hole has to be crossed holding our packs over our heads in chest-high water. Final climb out to a viewpoint back over the creek and forward to the river valley and carpark. All our group agreed it was one of THE great short walks. A  stunning circuit taking in extraordinary geology, views and flora. 10/10!"

 

The West Macdonell Ranges striate their way across Australia's red hot, red earthed Red Centre. A very ancient area, even by geological standards, these mountains now mere stumps compared to their original height. All this history makes for a fascinating landscape, with fantastically contorted formations, spectacular gorges and mysterious and engrossing pounds.

The famous Larapinta Trail passes through the gorge, although the pound is a side-walk.

SEE OUR WEST MACDONNELL RANGES PAGE FOR FURTHER INFORMTION, INCLUDING PRACTICALITIES.

THIS PAGE IS STILL AT A RELATIVELY EARLY STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT.  Please help us by recommending making suggestions and sending photos! Thank you!

WILLIAM MACKESY'S ACCOUNT
of this walk

Other accounts: share your experiences

Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

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