If you plan on taking a dip in just one waterhole in the West MacDonnell Ranges, choose Ellery Creek Big Hole. The name is no deception; Ellery Creek Big Hole is big! Cutting a gorge in the Ranges, the mighty Ellery Creek forms a deep pool that attracts tourists and locals alike. This is the place for a summer swim if you’re an Alice Springs local.
Just an hour west of Alice Springs, thousands of years of flooding have carved out this spectacular waterhole and unearthed some pretty impressive geological sights. Start your Ellery Creek Big Hole sightseeing holiday with the stunning formations on the Dolomite Walk, and take a very refreshing swim in the ultimate Outback waterhole.
If you’re planning on swimming in Ellery Creek Big Hole be prepared for the chill. The waters here are deep and even in summer, the temperatures can be bracing. You’re advised not to dive or jump into the water. And be careful to watch for submerged logs and rocks. Even if chilly, a swim here is one you'll never forget.
If you’re here just to relax and enjoy the beautiful view you’ll find BBQs, shade shelters, picnic tables and toilets.
For something more challenging Ellery Creek Big Hole tours present a chance to take the Dolomite Walk. This is a 3 km loop along a marked, unsealed path that showcases some fascinating geological forms. Keep an eye out for pitchuri or native tobacco growing on the ridges. The Western Arrernte women come and collect pitchuri in this region. Allow 1.5 hrs to complete the track that has some steady inclines, and starts and finishes near the car park.
Keen to join a tour of like-minded guests heading to the West MacDonnell Ranges? Our selection of tours staying in Alice Springs all make a stop at Ellery Creek Big Hole.
Ellery Creek Big Hole is located just 80km west of Alice Springs in Tjoritja West MacDonnell National Park and is open year-round. With picnic facilities, walking tracks and a wonderful swimming hole, Ellery Creek Big Hole makes for the perfect day trip.
From Alice Springs travel west along Larapinta and Namatjira Drives. After turning off the main road the last 2km is unsealed, though fine for 2WD vehicles. As always in the Northern Territory, any road can become impassable for a short period after heavy rain so always check before you head out for the day.
From the carpark, the permanent waterhole of Ellery Creek Big Hole is just a five-minute walk along a marked wheelchair accessible track. If you’ve come just for the view then this walk will suit you fine.
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