Visit the breathtaking paradise that is Palm Valley and you’ll quickly understand this is one of those places you cannot read about – it’s a magical once-in-a-lifetime destination.
Read on to discover the best things to see and do in Palm Valley, or find accommodation close to Palm Valley today.
A surprising oasis hidden in the middle of central Australia’s arid zone, Palm Valley is a place of spectacular scenery and rugged landscapes. Located in Finke Gorge National Park and home to the rare Livistonia maria or red cabbage palm, it is a definite must-see on anyone’s bucket list.
As you enter the valley, you cannot help but experience a sense of awe as you gaze up at these giant palms, some of which are 300 years old. The dramatic scenery makes you feel small as you stand in the presence of 25m giants that were here long before white settlers first set foot on mainland Australia.
Currently there are around 10,000 palms in the park but they are continuously under threat, mainly due to visitors who unknowingly step on palm seedlings. It is therefore important to stick to the marked walking tracks in order to protect the future of this remarkable place.
The best way to get out and explore the valley is via two scenic walks. The easy one-hour Arankaia (Aboriginal word for red cabbage palm) Loop Walk meanders past the lush groves of the valley and, if you visit after heavy rain, waterholes and billabongs. Birds fly overhead and fill the air with their continuous chatter, but make sure you don’t step on any of the palm seedlings, which shoot up everywhere, especially after rain.
The 5km Mpulungkinya Loop Walk goes deeper into the valley and up the sandstone plateau, rewarding walkers with extensive views across Palm Paddock. Both loops can be walked in either direction, and remember to bring water and wear a hat as there is very little shade on the tracks.
To get to Kalarranga Lookout you can either walk from the campground or drive to the parking area. It’s a relatively easy climb up the sandstone hills to the top of the impressive rock formation – and the views are breathtaking.
From this vantage point the campground appears to be an oasis surrounded by large gum trees in an otherwise dry and arid area of Australia. We recommend doing the walk in the early morning or late afternoon, when the sun turns the cliff faces a vibrant red.
Palm Valley is situated in Finke Gorge National Park, 138km west of Alice Springs. Turn south off Larapinta Drive just west of Hermannsburg.
Access along the last 18km of track is limited to high clearance 4WD vehicles only. Part of this track follows the sandy bed of the Finke River. Heavy rains may cause this section of the track to become impassable. The track from the campground to Palm Valley is not suitable for trailers.
While the park is open all year round, the best time to visit is from April to September, when the weather conditions are much cooler. The park may also be closed during or after heavy rain, so be sure to check the weather forecast before heading out.
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