23 Feb Ellery Creek Big Hole
Encompassing high red cliffs, a large deep permanent waterhole with a sandy creek that often, for extended periods after rain, has its own swimmable and secluded billabongs, make this one of the most popular picnicking spots in the West MacDonnell Ranges.
It is only a short stroll along the paved path to the sandy beach area of the waterhole. Here you can enter the water with confidence as this is shallow. All the other sides and entry points are quite deep almost immediately.
A swim or splash in the waterhole is a refreshing break after sightseeing, especially in the hotter months, but the Big-Hole (as it’s known to locals) is also recognised as an internationally significant geological site.
A three-kilometre Dolomite walk lets you explore its ancient rock formations.
Apart from the walks there is great potential to get an elevated view and some amazing photos of the surrounding area and the Big-Hole by doing a little climbing. Do be aware of the dangers of climbing and the fragility of this ancient landscape, common sense and respect will see you through.
If you look up to your left whilst facing the Ellery Gap, you will see a large cave that presents itself as a wonderful spot to sit and take it all in. Often you will find that apart from the abundant wildlife, you’re the only one at the Big-Hole, though on the other hand you may arrive to find 4 tour coaches with people everywhere.
If this is the scenario, simply make your way around through the reeds to the left-hand bank (as this is rarely used) and enjoy the space until the tour groups depart (usually after an hour) where you will probably have the place to yourself.
Ellery Creek Big Hole has free gas barbecues, with a covered picnic area, toilets and camping.
We must again point out that the depth of the Big-Hole makes the water extremely cold once you dive down under the temperate top layer, that is only about 6 feet in depth. Play it safe and avoid hypothermia by getting out of the water at regular intervals and not exerting yourself too much