The West MacDonnell Ranges certainly won a special place in our hearts while visiting Alice Springs. Each gorge and chasm offered a unique experience but Standley Chasm provided the best accessible walk. Meandering along the path we were in awe of the giant ochre coloured rock faces and ghost gums towering above us. It’s always liberating to find a walk which is of reasonable length, allows us to be immersed in nature and is wheelchair accessible.
We were thrilled to see BJ enjoying this walk so much. It was the happiest we’d seen him after his Alice Springs hospital stay (you can read about that here) and the first sign he was getting back to his smiley self.
Standley Chasm is located in a private flora and fauna reserve owned by the Iwupataka Land Trust and is operated by Aboriginal family members that are direct descendants from Aboriginal people that have lived in this area for thousands of years.
The Chasm is an incredible feat of nature that cuts through the quartzite rock of the West MacDonnell Ranges. The narrow gap, formed by rushing floodwaters over thousands of years, creates an alleyway through walls of rock that reach up to 80 metres in height.
Standley Chasm is called Angkerle by the Aboriginal people. The Chasm’s European name honours Mrs Ida Standley who in 1914, became the first school teacher in Alice Springs. In 1925, the school for children of Aboriginal descent was moved from Alice Springs to Jay Creek (Iwupataka) with Mrs Standley as matron. It was during her time at Jay Creek that she became the first non-Aboriginal woman to visit this spot which now bears her name.
The Chasm is at its most spectacular either side of midday on a sunny day. The sun drenches it in light allowing the red cliffs to be seen at their glowing best. We visited on a dull and chilly morning and still thought it was impressive.
A boardwalk allowed BJ to get to a fabulous spot to view the Chasm and appreciate the size of the cliffs.
Ever the explorer and drawn to the mystery of what was beyond AJ went beyond the boardwalk to get to the gap in the Chasm.
KIOSK & GIFT SHOP
When we visited last year we heard plans were afoot to improve access to the kiosk, so before publishing this blog I thought I’d check in with the staff. Access has indeed been improved and a big thanks to the manager who kindly took photos so I can share the new accessible facilities.
A lovely wheelchair accessible ramp now leads from the car park to the kiosk. Entry tickets need to be purchased from the kiosk prior to starting the walk.
Although this walk is wheelchair accessible there are a few small inclines. Overall we’d rate this an easy walk. Power chair users will find the walk a breeze.
There are bathroom facilities at Standley Chasm but an accessible bathroom is still to come.
We really enjoyed our visit to Standley Chasm and think it’s worth the entry price. Although the Chasm is the main attraction, this walk allows visitors the opportunity to spot an abundance of wildlife and to appreciate the stunning ghost gums and other trees native to this area.
I’m always on the lookout for gifts when we travel and I found the gift shop in the kiosk at Standley Chasm to be more reasonably priced than many larger ones we visited in our travels.
You can read more about Standley Chasm here.
A big thanks to the manager at Standley Chasm for sending me photos of the upgraded entry and for having an interest in accessibility.