150KM east of Alice Springs on the most eastern side of the East MacDonnell Ranges lies Ruby Gap Nature Park – an ideal place for nature lovers to embrace the great outdoors. The drive from Alice Springs takes approximately three hours and requires a 4-wheel drive vehicle as the track includes sandy and rocky sections. Once inside the park, cars must cross the Hale River bed which involves deep sand and boulders, therefore this is only recommended for those experienced in 4-wheel driving with a high clearance vehicle. Visitors are advised to take care during wet weather as the river can flood in heavy rain.
Walkers will delight in the bushwalking opportunities, although the rugged terrain requires a degree of fitness and experience. Try the 8KM return hike to Glen Annie Gorge by following the river beds and tracks upstream to enjoy breathtaking views of the spectacular natural beauty that surrounds you. Look out for native birds and other wildlife spotting opportunities, and cool off with a dip in the gorge when you arrive. You will discover plenty of creeks to swim in, although they may dry up during prolonged dry periods. Bush Camping is also available within Ruby Gap, with fees payable on-site.
The park got its name from Central Australia’s first mining rush in 1886 when an explorer named David Lindsay thought he had found rubies here, and others flocked to the park to mine them. However, in 1888 it was discovered that they were much less valuable garnets.