Palm Valley in Finke Gorge National Park

Spread over 46,000km2 of desert landscapes, rocky gorges and attractive waterholes, the Finke Gorge National Park is popular both for its beauty and close proximity to Alice. It??™s most famous for the oasis-like Palm Valley, which is full of towering red cabbage palm trees, a species found nowhere else in the world and lends an appealing prehistoric feel.The Finke River is also found in the park and is estimated to be the oldest river in the world, dating back 350 million years. The park is also popular for its bushwalking and 4WD tracks.
Palm Valley in Finke Gorge National Park

Palm Valley sits in the Krichauff Range within the Finke Gorge National Park, about 123 km southwest of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory, Australia.
The valley gets its name from the Red Cabbage Palms (Livistona mariae) that call it home. These palm trees are unique to Central Australia, with their closest relatives residing 850 kilometres away in Katherine, Northern Territory. At 300 years old, the oldest palm tree attracts visitors intrigued by the distinctive flora of the area.

Red Cabbage Palms of Palm Valley in Finke Gorge National Park
Red Cabbage Palms By Albinfo – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5841034

Palm Valley stands out due to its unique plant species and rejuvenating pools fed by springs, creating a small oasis within this dry desert landscape. The gorge usually looks dry, but when it rains heavily, you can see a lot of water rushing through the valley, making for quite a spectacular sight that’s worth seeing.

How to Access Palm Valley?

If you’re heading to Palm Valley from Alice Springs, you’ll need a four-wheel drive. Just follow Larapinta Drive to Hermannsburg, an old town. Head south, follow the dry Finke River bed, and then take Palm Creek to the valley, located around 5 km west of the river. It usually takes about 2 hours to make this trip.

Ideas for sightseeing and activities


If you’re planning to camp at Palm Valley, you’ll find a lovely campground with shady spots, showers, toilets, and BBQ areas to share. It gets pretty busy, especially from April to September, so it’s a good idea to get there early to snag a spot. You can also book in advance using NT Parks’ online system.


Several hiking trails provide spectacular views and a great way to explore the area:

  • Kalaranga Lookout: A 1.5 km, 45-minute return climb offering panoramic views of the sandstone amphitheatre.
  • Mpaara Walk: A 5 km, 2-hour return walk through stunning sandstone landscapes, introducing visitors to Western Arrernte Aboriginal culture.
  • Arankaia Walk: A 2 km, 1-hour easy walk into the heart of the palm groves.
  • Mpulungkinya Walk: A 5 km, 2-hour return trail that winds among slender palm groves and returns across the plateau to the carpark.
  • Ranger Activities: From May to October, rangers provide interactive activities that offer valuable information about the park and its surroundings.

Accommodation Nearby:

If camping isn’t your thing, you can opt for accommodation in Alice Springs nearby. You’ll find a variety of places to stay ranging from affordable motels to cosy accommodations.

People relaxing by the pool in the Crowne Plaza Alice Springs
Crowne Plaza Alice Springs Lasseters by Tourism NT

The Crowne Plaza Alice Springs Lasseters is a top-rated 4.5-star hotel situated at the foot of the MacDonnell Ranges, right next to the Alice Springs Golf Course. It’s the go-to spot for entertainment in Alice Springs, with a couple of bars and three restaurants to choose from. You can enjoy a meal at the Juicy Rump bar and grill, savour contemporary Australian dishes with an Outback twist at Tali, or indulge in tapas, wine, and cocktails at the upscale Tempo. And don’t forget, there’s also a well-known casino on the premises.

Just a Heads Up:

  • 4WD Requirement: Access to Palm Valley is only possible with a four-wheel drive vehicle.
  • Permits: If you wish to visit the Northern Territory, you must get a Park Pass https://nt.gov.au/parks/parks-pass
  • Camping and Firewood: Camping is permitted only in marked areas, and visitors should collect firewood before entering the park.
  • Pet Policy: Pets are not allowed in the national park.
  • Rubbish: Visitors must take their rubbish with them, as bins are not provided.
  • Preservation: Be mindful of young palms and stay on marked tracks to avoid trampling seedlings.

Wrapping it Up:

Palm Valley is a special place, combining stunning natural beauty with cultural importance, creating an unforgettable experience. Whether you’re fascinated by the rare Red Cabbage Palms, excited to hike the trails, or just looking to relax in the peaceful surroundings, a trip to this amazing destination guarantees both adventure and tranquillity. Secure your campsite, gear up your four-wheel drive, and get ready to explore one of Australia’s hidden treasures!