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Finke Gorge National Park
Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrFinke Gorge National Park is located in the south of the Northern Territory, in the heart of the Red Center of Australia. It is located about 1,300 kilometers south of Darwin and 140 kilometers west of Alice Springs. The national park covers an area of more than 45,000 hectares of rocky desert lands and includes the stunning oasis, Palm Valley . This desert oasis is home to a wide range of plant species. Many plants that live in the area are rare and even unique. Finke Gorge National Park is famous for the presence of Red Cabbage Palms, an ancient species of palm tree that still survives from prehistoric times when Central Australia was covered with lush, tropical rainforests. The total population is no more than 3,000 adult trees. Several other trees and cycad species are endemic to the area as well. Palm Valley is a unique place and of massive natural importance. Finke Gorge National Park protects one of Australia’s most important natural and cultural environments and also contributes greatly to botanical conservation.
Another ancient feature of the park is the Finke River, a river that is said to be one of the world’s oldest catchment. Some areas around the river date back 350 million years. The landscape of Finke Gorge National Park consists of waterholes, red sandstone cliffs, plateaus, and tall gum and palm trees.
HistoryFinke Gorge National Park is part of the ancient traditional homelands of the Western Arrernte Aboriginals. The park is home to several sacred Dreamtime sites and other places of cultural significance.
In 1966, the Palm Valley Flora and Fauna Conservation Reserve was established, made up of lands that were formerly owned by Finke River Mission and Henbury Station. In 1978, the Finke Gorge National Park was declared an official national park.
Things to DoOnly accessible by 4WD in the first place, Finke Gorge National Park is the premier 4WD destination in Central Australia. Experienced four-wheel drivers will find paradise in Finke Gorge. A Finke River 4WD information brochure is available at the national park visitor center in Alice Springs. A popular route is the Finke River 4WD Route. This fantastic route runs along a wonderful section of the Finke River and runs between Finke Gorge National Park and Watarrka National Park (Kings Canyon). The Finke River, its waterholes, and wide banks have provided a trading and transportation route throughout the area for many thousands of years. Now, visitors can explore it by 4WD.
Another really popular activity is hiking or bushwalking. The national park has a dense network of excellent hiking trails. The Arakaia and Mpulungkinya Walks are loop hikes located in Palm Valley. The former is 2 kilometers long, the latter is 5 kilometers. Both loops wind through the oasis of tall palm trees. It is strongly recommended to wear a hat and bring sufficient water, as most of the lengths of the walks have little shade. Another great hike is Mpaara Walk, which starts at the Kalarranga parking lot. This trail is 5 kilometers long and provides an insight into the culture and traditions of the Western Arrernte people. The views of the surrounding sandstone cliffs and hills are fantastic. One of the highlights of Finke Gorge National Park is the natural amphitheater. The Kalarranga Lookout Walk is a 20-minute climb of a sandstone stairway and offers great views of this rocky amphitheater and its spiky cliffs and sandstone towers that surround the ancient bed of Palm Creek.
Camping is popular as well. There is a shady campground along Palm Creek that has picnic areas, toilets, showers, and barbecues. Visitors have to pay their camping fees on site and are advised to gather firewood before they enter the national park. This great campground is located in an area that is home to lots of wildlife, which is particularly active in the early morning or late afternoon.
How to Get ThereFinke Gorge National Park lies approximately 140 kilometers west of Alice Springs. Alice Springs can be reached by car along the remote and long Red Center Highway. The city can also be accessed by plane from major cities in Australia. When driving from Alice Springs, turn south off Lapinta Drive, a short distance west of Hermannsburg. The last 16 kilometers of this road is ponly accessible by 4WD. This section is occasionally closed. The national park is accessible all year round, but only by 4WD and except when the Finke River is flooded. Visitors are advised to inquire about the park’s conditions beforehand. Visitors that don’t have a 4WD car are advised to join a tour in Alice Springs.
Similar LandmarksSimilar national parks in Australia are enormous Kakadu National Park, Litchfield National Park, West MacDonnell National Park, and Purnululu National Park.
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Author: bramreusen. Last updated: Jan 14, 2015