Finke Gorge National Park
Overview Finke Gorge National Park covers an area of 46,000 hectares, and includes the impressive Palm Valley. 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 for which the Park is well known. This species of Palm is restricted to this area, having a population of around 3,000 adult plants. The Park and nearby areas hold cultural significance to the Western Arrernte Aboriginal people as well as displaying evidence of early European settlement of central Australia.
How to get there The Park is 138km (about 2 hours drive) west of Alice Springs. Turn south off Larapinta Drive just west of Hermannsburg. Access along the last 16km of road, which follows the sandy bed of the Finke River, is limited to 4WD vehicle only. Heavy rains may cause this section of the road to be impassable.
Commercial tour operators regularly visit the Park from Alice Springs.
When to visit. The Park is accessible all year round except when the Finke River is in flood. The cooler months (from April to September) are the best time of the year to visit.
What to see & do. Camping, bushwalking, and four-wheel driving opportunities exist for visitors to the Park.
Visitor facilties. A campground with toilets, hot showers, wood and gas barbecues and picnic areas are available. Basic supplies are available from Hermannsburg.
Please remember. There is a problem with young palms being destroyed by visitors not knowing what they are walking on. The continual regeneration of the palms is necesary for the survival of this population. Be aware where you are walking and keep to marked tracks where possible. Camping is only permitted in designated camping areas. Collect firewood before entering the Park. Pets are not permitted into this National Park. Rubbish bins are not provided. Please take your rubbish away with you.
Recreational activities. Features of the Park include:
4 x 4 Driving A 4WD route down the Finke River to Illamurta Springs and Watarrka National Park begins at Finke Gorge. This trip requires careful planning and preparation. Please talk to Rangers to obtain guidance and directions before heading down the Finke River. An additional Finke 4WD information sheet is available from the Parks and Wildlife Services office in Alice Springs.
Bush Walking A number of walking possibilities exist within the park. Kalaranga Lookout is an easy 20 minute climb (1.5km, 45 minute return) with spectacular views of the rock amphitheatre encircled by rugged cliffs. The Mpaara Walk, (5km, 2 hours return) introduces the mythology of the Western Arrernte Aboriginal culture. In Palm Valley, the Arankaia Walk (2km, 1 hr) and the longer Mpulungkinya Walk (5km, 2hrs return) meander among lush oasis of slender palms and returns to the carpark across the plateau.
Information for this National Park has been supplied courtesy of The Parks and Wildlife Service NT
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