Rainbow Valley in Central Australia: Rainbow Valley
The main features of the Rainbow Valley area are the
scenic sandstone bluffs and cliffs. These free standing
cliffs form part of the James Range, and are particularly
attractive in the early morning and late afternoon when
the rainbow-like rock bands are highlighted. The coloured
rock bands in the sandstone cliffs were caused by water.
In earlier wetter times, the red iron of the sandstone
layers was dissolved and drawn to the surface during
the Dry Season. The red minerals formed a dark iron
surface layer with the leached white layers below. This
dark red capping is hard and weathers slowly, whereas
the softer white sandstone below weathers 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.
How to get there: The turn-off to the Reserve is 75
km south from Alice Springs along the Stuart Highway.
From here it is a 22 km stretch east, along an unsealed
road which has some sandy patches. For this reason,
access is recommended for 4WD vehicles only.
When to visit: The Reserve is accessible all year round,
with the cooler months from April to September being
the most pleasant.
The sandstone ridges and bluffs are delightful to photograph,
particularly around dawn or dusk, or when there is water
in the claypans adjacent to the bluffs. Other features
and activities of the Reserve include:
Camping is permitted in the Reserve in the two designated
areas. Facilities vary at both sites and include gas
barbecues, communal firepits, picnic tables and pit
toilets. Camping fees are payable onsite.
Walking Tracks There are several marked trails throughout
the Reserve all offering visitors the best views of
the claypan and Rainbow Valley itself.
Camping, pit toilets, gas barbecues and picnic facilities
Use the free gas barbecues provided where possible.
Pets are not permitted in this park.
Camping is only permitted in the designated camping
Source and courtesy of: http://www.parksandwildlife.nt.gov.au/