Rainbow Valley Conservation Reserve

97 kilometres south of Alice Springs, via Stuart Highway, Alice Springs, Northern Territory 0870 Australia

  • Public
    Restrooms
  • No Wifi
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“Marvel at the wonders of the ancient landscape in the early morning and late afternoon when rainbow-like rock bands are highlighted along the bluffs.”

Marvel at the ancient landscape of the aptly named Rainbow Valley - sandstone bluffs and cliffs with exposed bands of coloured rock. These free standing cliffs form part of the James Range, and are a favourite subject of photographers who capture their varied shapes and colours at dawn or dusk when the rainbow-like rock bands are highlighted. There are unmarked trails for bushwalking around the bluff area and to other locations along the range The reserve is also rich in evidence of Aboriginal occupation with rock engravings or petroglyphs and paintings as well as grinding stones and stone tool chips, especially around the hills and ridges. The coloured rock bands in the sandstone cliffs were caused by water. The red iron of sandstone dissolved and was drawn to the surface during the dry season. This dark red capping is hard and weathers slowly, whereas the softer white sandstone below erodes quickly into loose sand. Weathering and erosion are also responsible for the valley shape, where sandstone blocks have been eroded into rock faces and squared towers.

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Rainbow Valley Conservation Reserve

97 kilometres south of Alice Springs
via Stuart Highway
Alice Springs, Northern Territory
0870 Australia

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  • Public Restrooms
  • No Wifi

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