Harry’s outback jewel

There’s something about Harry, an eagerness to do things differently. That’s why he prefers exploring east of Alice Springs rather than head west.

Most 4WD tours in Australia’s Red Centre head into the West MacDonnell Ranges to locations such as Simpsons Gap and Standley Chasm, Ellery Creek Big Hole, Hermannsburg and the tropical oasis of Palm Valley.
Red Centre 2

Harry in his element

But Harry Osborn would much rather take his guests into the East Macdonnell Ranges and not simply because fewer tourists go there but also because, out east lies Harry’s ‘hidden jewel’ – the remote and aptly-named Ruby Gap.

It’s located on Love’s Creek Station which also has one of the largest stands of river red gums in Central Australia.

Ruby Gap Nature Park lies 150 kilometres east of the Alice and it takes several hours of careful driving over rugged terrain to get there, the last bit of the journey along the dried-up bed of the Hale River. 

“Most people say I’m crazy to come way out here on a day trip,” says Harry, “but I get out here as often as possible. Even for a few hours it’s worth it.” 

 A particularly favourite spot is Glen Annie Gorge, a narrow winding cleft between towering walls of red rock where the sandy river bed snakes its way through these cliffs to form a large natural swimming hole.
Osborn track

The red road east

Harry says he rarely sees other visitors out here. Camping is allowed but much of the terrain is too rugged for most vehicles to negotiate.

On our return journey we make a diversion to Arltunga, the first town in Central Australia. In 1886 explorer David Lindsay reported rubies in the Hale River. But they turned out to be garnets.
A rich gold reef discovered at nearby White Range did, however, prompt a short lived gold-rush. 
Arltunga jail

Arltunga jail

At this ghost town I see old mining works and the remains of a post office, blacksmith shop and the 1912 police station and jail with it’s rusted iron door hanging off its hinges. 

We also pause beside the grave of stockman George King, buried 9 September, 1916, after falling from his horse. His remote resting place seems a fitting emblem of the tough and solitary life endured by pioneers in such unforgiving country.

All about Harry’s tours

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