Australian Desert - Finke Gorge

Australian desert covers large areas of the country. But parts of it are teeming with life. Visit Palm Valley, an amazing place off the beaten track, in the red centre of the country. Use a four-wheel-drive to get there.

One of the most amazing places to visit is Palm Valley, in the Finke Gorge National Park. You will feel like you are in wonderland, overwhelmed by what mother earth is offering.

australian desert kalaranga lookout, west macdonnell ranges

You can see amazing Australian mountains as you travel to a number of picturesque spots in the West MacDonnell Ranges on a sealed road. But if you want to go to Finke Gorge you need a four-wheel-drive car.

Palm Valley is a reminder of the geological past, when an inland sea, the size of the Mediterranean covered Central Australia. Then the sea withdrew and lush rain forest took its place.

As climate changed Australia started to dry out. Palm Valley is a survival story in the middle of the Australian desert.

Australian Desert - Palm Valley

The Red Cabbage Palms are unique in the world and only found in the Finke Gorge, which is 140 km away from Alice Springs.

australian desert dry finke river

The dirt road goes on the dry Finke River bed.

See how wide it is, here on the left.

It is quite rough with lots of bumps on the track. You need a bit of skill to negotiate the road, while manoeuvring your vehicle through rocks, bumps, boulders. But what you will see is trully worth the few leaps and hops on the track.

australian desert spinnifex

Park your car, climb a bit and walk on a flat red top, with small bush and spinifex (a native Australian grass - see it in the picture to the right), and incredibly white ghost gums, like the one in the image below.

australian desert ghost gum

The palms start by being red when very young, hence the name of "red cabbage palms", but later on they grow green and they do grow a lot in height.

australian desert red cabbage palms

You can see them down in the valley while you are walking along the ridge. They look majestic.

The experience gets really awesome when you go down the slopes and walk along the compact patches of huge palms that follow the course of underground water.

australian desert palm valley panorama

If you are tired you can stop for a picnic or barbeque at the end of the track, or camp under the myriad stars. There is no better spot to gaze at them.

australian desert kalaranga lookout 1

Driving back to the Alice you are bound to stop at the Kalaranga lookout.

It is a huge amphitheatre, surrounded by red, eroded massive structures.

Time and rain have sculpted them in many different, breathtaking shapes.

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