Travelling around 66kms south west on the Stuart Highway from Alice Springs takes you to the starting point of the trek. It can be done in a minimum of half a day, although a full day is recommended to take in all the sights. The track runs a total of 55 and a half kilometres along a single-dirt track, which is mostly an easy run on a hard surface except on a couple of places
of patches of very soft sand where it drops into the Hugh Riverbed. Camper Trailers and Off-Road caravans could be towed along this track. The Owen Springs track ends at the junction of the Larapinta Drive, which is bitumen all the way for the final 50km return to Alice Springs.
There are 2 great areas for bush camping (no facilities), namely at Redbank Waterhole on the Hugh River (a 2km side track), and also within Lawrence Gorge. Redbank Waterhole offers a peaceful rest area amongst the River Red Gums although they only offer limited shade. There is often enough water in the hole during the peak travel season to cool off in and the hole shows signs of having more water after good rains. Further along the track interesting stops are at Haunted Tree Bore and Old Owen Springs Homestead ruins. You could expect to see Red kangaroos and numerous birds including Port Lincoln Parrots and Honeyeaters and flowering corkwood trees.
North of Larapinta Drive there are more camping opportunities at Birthday Gap Waterhole and Reedy Waterhole, which are accessed from the Namatjira Drive. The turnoff however is a hundred metres or so before the Hugh River causeway and is unmarked. Both these places
are accessible without fees or permits. For more information on this area in general, see our West MacDonnell Ranges
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This trek takes you over plains and through a gorge. The main flora feature is mulga scrub, which is interspersed with corkwood and ironwood trees. Along the river fringes elegant River Red Gums provide shady retreats for wildlife, which include a variety of birds and kangaroos.
The first white men to travel through this country were the explorers
, John McDouall Stuart, William Kekwick and Benjamin Head. On 11 April 1860, whilst travelling north along the Hugh River they discovered a large water hole. Stuart named this waterhole Owen Springs. One of the results of this discovery led to the Overland Telegraph Line following the Hugh River through Lawrence Gorge in the Waterhouse Range in 1872. In the same year William Gilbert established a cattle run on Owen Springs and built the first station homestead in the Northern Territory
. After the death of the last lessee of the Pastoral Lease, the Northern Territory
Government acquired the property in the year 2000 and opened it in a limited capacity for free public recreation