About the same size as the West MacDonnells, the East MacDonnells (or East Macs) stretch 150-200km east of Alice Springs. Compared to the West Macs, they have more rock art but less permanent water. From Alice Springs, the Ross Highway heads east along the range.
About 10km from Alice Springs, Emily Gap is a sacred site associated with the Yeperenye (caterpillar) dreaming. On the rocks, red-ochre and white-lime paintings depict the caterpillars significant to the Eastern Arrernte Aboriginal people. They ask that people do not photograph the artwork. Instead I photographed the many butterflies there – perhaps they are related to the Yeperenye, an echo of the ancient creation story in the present?
Corroboree Rock Conservation Reserve is 42km east of Alice Springs along a sealed road.
Continuing along Ross Highway, past the road on the left to the 4WD-only campsite and swimming spot, John Hayes Rockhole, there is a road on the right that leads to a gigantic Ghost Gum. At 33 metres tall, it is reputed to be the largest in Australia. It is about 300 years old.
Trephina Gorge Nature Park with its shady campsites – not crowded.