Along Namatjira Drive is a series of canyons and gorges cut into the West MacDonnell Ranges west of Alice Springs. Ellery Creek Big Hole gave us another National Park campsite but unfortunately it was not a patch on the Palm Valley campsite. The Big Hole itself though, a large, deep rockpool on the creek was quite beautiful and in the still morning the reflections in the deeply coloured water was a treat.
We drove right to the west of the road to the entrance to Gosse Bluff. Here again a 4WD road to get into the remains of an impact by a comet 140 million years ago. The road goes right into the impact crater itself and from a small rise in the middle, you can turn full circle to see the mountains closing around you.
We kept our tyre pressure low and headed off another side track to Roma Gorge. We had not read anything about this gorge in the literature and only knew of its existence by the sign pointing the way. And yes this was 4WD only too. The sign also told us 1 hour each way for an 8km trip, another slow one. The track again followed the dry creek bed. We passed bony cattle that stopped and stared at us with great curiosity as we passed. We parked up at the start of the short walk to the gorge, the only car in the car-park. Here, a sign informed us, is one of the best sites of petroglyphs - rock carving dating back six to eight thousand years. We didn't spot them at first but once we knew what to look for, there was a wealth of carved rocks to be seen. The symbols were chipped into the flat surfaces of boulders. Unfortunately many of them are weathering away and are faint. Other rocks are shedding a layer off their top surface and many have probably been lost this way. It seems we stumbled upon a great secret place - no-one else came while we were there and we passed no other cars on the way out.
But before we reached the main road, we decided to find a spot to wild camp for the night. After searching for a level piece of accessible ground we are here tonight, camped by the side of the dry creek bed with an open fire to warm us and complete and utter quiet and isolation. Bliss.