Traditionally known as Angkerle Atwatye, meaning the ‘Gap of Water’, Standley Chasm is an area of great geological and cultural significance. The picturesque chasm is a deep red cleft in the West MacDonnell Ranges, carved out by surging floodwaters eroding the sandstone over millions of years. It is located in a private flora and fauna reserve, just a 30-minute drive west from Alice Springs. Once you have parked your car, follow the 1.2KM scenic walking track along the natural creek bed, lined with seating and interpretive signs. The best time to visit is around midday, when the overhead sun strikes the chasm, treating visitors to a magnificent display of colours. However, if you choose to visit in the morning or late afternoon, you may be lucky enough to spot some wildlife. Standley Chasm is owned by the Aboriginal community and is an important ‘women’s dreaming’ site.
Visitors can choose to enjoy a self-guided walk or embark on the half-day cultural experience to gain a deeper insight into the unique relationship the Western Arrernte people have to the landscape and the plant and animal life. This includes a guided tour with a local indigenous guide, followed by a workshop on traditional Aboriginal painting, and a delicious buffet lunch. Should you wish to extend your stay at Standley Chasm, overnight camping is available. Visitors should also make use of the welcome kiosk cafe serving excellent coffee and tasty food, and the gift shop selling genuine Aboriginal products made by the local community.