4WD West MacDonnell Ranges Tour (Thorny Devil) Day Tour

Explore the mighty West MacDonnell Ranges, take a hike at Ormiston Gorge and cool off with a swim in Ellery Creek Big Hole!

Alice Springs, Australia
Full Day
Start time
6:00 am
Group size
Pick up & Drop off
Minimum age
5 yrs
FromAUD $95
ValueAUD $99SAVE 4%
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What's Included

  • Explore the West MacDonnell Ranges in one day 
  • Hike and swim at Ormiston Gorge
  • Discover culture at the Ochre Pits
  • Experience the desert landscape on the Ghost Gum Walk
  • Be wowed by Ellery Creek Big Hole
  • Enjoy a delicious BBQ lunch 
  • Travel with professional guides 

Why do we love this

"This tour combines picturesque scenery, stunning hikes and cultural sights for the ultimate desert experience. We love the fact that this trip has such a range of activities, from spotting wildlife or swimming in natural waterholes to learning about traditional culture at the Ochre Pitts, it really is an immersive experience!"



Buckle up! It's time to trek through the iconic Macdonnell ranges on a 4WD adventure!

Depart Alice Springs at 6.00 am and begin your action-packed drive towards the mighty West MacDonnell Ranges.

Your first stop is Ormiston Gorge, a stunning desert spot situated around a natural rock hole. Keep your eyes peeled for Perentie Lizards lazing along the banks and take a swim in the cool water. Explore the landscape further on the “Ghost Gum Walk”, a 1.5 hour loop that gives you glorious views through the majestic gorge. Keep following the trail as it descends along the rocky floor towards Ormiston Waterhole.

After you've built up an appetite by hiking and swimming to your heart's content, enjoy a tasty BBQ lunch. 

Next, you'll journey on to the Ochre Pits for the chance to learn about Indigenous culture. This is a sacred site still used today by the Traditional owners of the area. You'll be able to see the natural ochres that have been used by Indigenous people for thousands of years and experience the cultural significance of the site. 

Your next stop is Ellery Creek Big Hole, one of the most picturesque swimming and walking spots in the West MacDonnell Ranges. Surrounded by sky-high red cliffs and a sandy creek, the waterhole has been gradually carved out by floods over thousands of years. There is permanently water here - a rare thing in the Australian desert, making it a special meeting place for the local Arrernte people. It's known to them as Udepata.

After you explore Ellery Big Hole and surrounds, it's time to hop back into the 4WD to head back to Alice Springs.


This is a one-day tour departing Alice Springs at 6:00 am and arriving back at 5:30 pm.

What to bring: Wide brimmed hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, water bottle (1.5 litres), walking shoes/boots, swim wear, towel and camera. 

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In the warmer months there are quite a lot of flies around in Central Australia. A lot of people find these to be quite annoying. It is advisable that you bring along a fly net so these little guys don't drive you crazy!

In summer shorts and a shirt is all that is really needed. We would also recommend light weight long sleeve shirts and long (zip off) pants. Our temperatures can be excessive and this can impact fair skinned people. A jumper/pullover is recommended for the early morning if it happens to get a bit chilly. Swimwear is recommended as there will be swimming opportunities - don't forget a towel! Also bring a broad brimmed hat (not a baseball cap), sunglasses and sunscreen.

Our winter days are generally mild and most of the time you can still wear shorts and a shirt during the day. However, the nights and early mornings can be very cold. You will need to bring warm clothes - long pants, a good jumper, wind breaker, a beanie, scarf, gloves and good woollen socks are recommended.

Regardless of the time of year that you are travelling you will need to bring a hat, preferably wide-brimmed.

This is very much governed on where your tour commences and where it concludes. For those returning to their starting location (e.g. Darwin to Darwin, Alice Springs to Alice Springs) we recommend that you bring only one small bag per person with the things you will need for the duration of your tour. Suitcases are not recommended. You should be able to store your excess baggage at your accommodation while you are away.

We do make exceptions for people that book one way journeys however, this needs to be discussed with us prior to booking. There is a baggage lifting limit of 20kg. You may be required to assist the guide with loading and unloading.

Sunscreen, torch (preferably hands free head light), camera (plus spare fully charged batteries), mosquito repellent (summer), towel, toiletries, any medication required, water bottle (1.5 litre is best). Fresh water supplies for refilling bottles will be available throughout the tour. If you have walking/trekking poles/sticks these can also be handy in some of the undulating terrain.

No. All you need to bring is a water bottle. We recommend a minimum 1.5 litre bottle. We will be carrying large containers of chilled water that you can fill at the commencement and conclusion of all walks. Most walks have water replenishing facilities. For those warmer locations and walks (Kakadu/Central Australia) we recommend that an additional 1 litre of water is carried, particularly during our warmer months.

Our tours are active adventures that include a fair amount of walking, hiking and water based activities. Walks can extend to 4 hours duration in warm to hot conditions, so a reasonable level of fitness is required, We don't expressly set any age restrictions. Our tours are a mix of true outback adventure camping to soft camping. Less demanding treks/walks are available at most locations for those less active. Regardless, good health is important but ultimately, it is an open and positive attitude that matters. It is very important that any pre-existing medical conditions are discussed with our staff at time of booking.

Our tours depart most locations early each morning (before 6.30am). We will pick you up from your place of accommodation on the first morning of the tour. You must advise us your accommodation a minimum 24 hours prior to departure. Failure to do so could result in you missing the departure. Those flying in to other locations must advise this at time of tour booking.

Warning: Should you not advise your accommodation or air flight connection times, sleep in, etc, and miss departure you may be required to pay an additional relocation fee to meet your tour. Should you need re-allotment to another tour on another date you will be required to pay an additional tour cost. All or any costs associated with additional accommodation, changing flight schedules, etc is your responsibility.

Small print
Terms & Conditions:

Itinerary may change due to cultural reasons, seasonal changes, operational logistics and accessibility. Wangi Falls can close during the Tropical wet season and will be substituted during this time. 
All of the safaris we offer are active participation based. We rely on the goodwill and cooperation of all passengers to make them a success. This includes your assistance in the preparation of meals, washing up, gathering firewood and loading/unloading of the vehicle.
On our open age safaris, all camping is in twin share permanent tents which include beds and mattresses, all linen, pillows and sleeping bags. Swags are also available for those who wish to sleep under the stars.
Passengers on our 18-40 age recommended safaris will need to bring their own sleeping bag, or hire one for $30 on single safaris or $50 on all packages. All camping is in swags (with the exception of some Top End safaris).
For passengers wishing to rent a tent on our Red Centre Safaris there is a $60pp charge and tent must be requested prior to travel. Due to space restrictions on our vehicles, please limit your luggage to 1 x soft bag of under 20kg.
For all safaris visiting Kakadu National Park luggage is strictly limited to 10kg. Any additional luggage should be stored at your accommodation, where possible.
For passengers on one-way safaris, any additional luggage may be stored in areas that is not readily available during the safari.
Our group sizes vary from a maximum of 16 – 24 passengers depending on the safari. The maximum group size for each safari is listed on the itinerary. There is a limit of only 6 passengers on our ECO Tour.

Acceptance of risk
Due to the remote places we visit and the adventurous nature of our safaris, Travel Insurance is compulsory. We accept no responsibility for lost, stolen or damaged property.
Australia has many dangerous creatures, extreme weather conditions and often varying terrain. Camping, hiking and passing time outside may increase your personal risk of exposure to these dangers. Safety is our number one priority and all of our guides are highly trained to ensure passenger safety at all times.
All passengers participating on our tours do so at their own risk and no responsibility can be accepted by WAS/WC for any loss, injury or accident. Passengers are responsible for any additional costs involved should such instances occur. All passengers will be required to sign a liability waiver prior to departure. If you would like a copy of this in advance, please contact our Sales Centre.
The minimum age for children travelling on our safaris is 5 years at the time of travel. All passengers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult or caregiver at all times. While all care is taken, the responsibility of children on tour rests entirely with the parent or caregiver.
All passengers, including children, must wear shoes at all times, use sunblock and wear hats.
Please note that we accept children of all ages travelling on our group and private charter tours.


Photos and marketing 
You consent to us using images of you taken during the trip for advertising and other promotional purposes in any medium as we require. You agree that the use of these images is without recourse to you and without compensation to you.


Pick up
Please call our Reservations Team (1300 551 510) at least 48 hours prior to departure to confirm pick-up location and time.

Cancellation Policy:

In the event a booking is cancelled, the following fees will apply:

  • Cancellations 30 days or more before departure: 25% of the total cost
  • Cancellations between 14 and 29 days of departure: 50% of total price
  • Cancellations between 8 and 13 days of departure: 75% of the total price
  • Cancellations within 7 days of departure: 100% of the total price

Read full supplier's terms & conditions

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Way Outback
Alice Springs


FromAUD $95
ValueAUD $99SAVE 4%
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