Set within the West MacDonnell Ranges just a short drive from Alice Springs, Simpsons Gap is one of the most prominent gaps in the region and the site of a permanent waterhole. Its rugged cliffs stand in striking contrast to the desert plains and dunes that surround the gap, with white-barked ghost gums and eucalyptus dotting the landscape.
Simpsons Gap is of spiritual importance to the Arrernte people who have inhabited the region for centuries. It is known to them as “Rungutjirpa” and is home to their giant goanna ancestors, as well as being a setting for numerous Dreamtime stories.
Simpsons Gap is home to large stands of Mulga vegetation, as well as a number of rare species from Outback Australia. Black-footed rock wallabies can often be seen along the walking trail that passes through the gap, together with charismatic thorny devil lizards. If you’re visiting after the rains, then numerous frog species can also be heard and spotted.
Simpson Gap serves as the ending along the 1st section of the famous Larapinta Trail, with the 1st section extending 24 kilometers from the Alice Springs Telegraph Station. The entire trail covers 223 kilometers as it follows the ridge line and plains of the West MacDonnell National Park to Mount Sonder.
In addition to hiking along the Larapinta Trail, you can also access the gap along the 17-kilometer-long Simpsons Gap Bike Path. The national park is open daily from sun-up to sun-down, with barbecue facilities available, as well as camp sites for walkers only.