Just outside of the Alice Spring township is an unassuming trail, which, if followed, will lead one across a beautifully jagged landscape toward the rocky summit of Mount Gillen.The trail head is just passed the Flynn’s grave memorial (pictured left), and you can see Mount Gillen beyond. The trail snakes up the steep ridges and it is best to enjoy this bushwalk in the early morning, as even in winter the temperatures in this part of Australia soar, and you’ll find yourself sweating it out to reach the top.
As you reach the exposed rock below the plateau, there is a short climb to reach the top. This is not too daunting and should not dissuade hikers from making the trip, because once you are on the plateau you are treated to a full and unhindered view of the McDonnell Ranges, any which way you look.
Moving farther across the plateau, you will eventually reach the summit, on which there stands an old trigonometrical station, lovingly restored and cared for, and is a striking feature on this otherwise rocky overhang (don’t look over the edge if you’re prone to vertigo!).
I easily spent half an hour just at the trig station, there is so much to see in this sprawling alien vista. And the walk itself is probably an hour’s effort at most, each way. Still, water should be carried, especially when the sun comes out, and ergo appropriate clothing is also necessary.
PHOTOS (Click to enlarge)
Total length: 5.4km (return)
Time taken: about two and a half hours. However I like to linger at the summit.
Elevation gain/loss: 390/390 (ave)
Max elevation: 960m