Rainbow Valley

StartClick to Reverse the Dynamic Map and Driving NotesAlice Springs
FinishRainbow Valley
DifficultyDifficulty 1/5
Suitable For4WD AWD Caravan Camper Motorhome Bike 
Distance106.33 km
Minimum Days1
Average Speed92.61 km/hr
Travel Time1 hr 8 mins
Page Updated: 14 May 2019


Rainbow Valley Conservation Reserve is accessed just 75km south of Alice Springs from a turn-off along the Stuart Highway. A 22km access road that is unsealed with sandy patches leads to the reserve, which offers vehicle access, camping and walking.

The area gets it name from the scenic sandstone bluffs and cliffs that show rainbow-coloured bands. These are particularly striking at dawn/dusk when the colours are enhanced.

How to Use this Trek Note

Click the "Map" tab to see the route we've provided. Icons on the map are the POIs you'll need for navigation purposes. Be sure to check the list of Nearby Places on each POI page..

If you'd like to save this information there are a couple of ways to go about it, depending on what you're actually after:-
  • Ideal solution - download the ExplorOz Traveller App from the applicable store for your device -
    either the Google PlayStore, the App Store, or the Windows Store (for Windows 10 devices only). The ExplorOz Traveller app is a complete mapping, navigation and tracking app and includes all the ExplorOz Trek routes ready for you to simply click and follow with auto-guidance available whether you are online, or offline. For more details, read our ExplorOz Traveller page.
  • You can print a paper copy of the text using the print icon button shown above, near the social media buttons. For the best output it is advised to open each tab/section to load all images and artwork. You will still need to click open each Place page (listed in Where to Stay, What to See) to print off all available information.
  • If you have a Hema Navigator or use Mapping Software such as OziExplorer, or TrackRanger AND you are an ExplorOz Member, then you can click the Download Trek button at the top of this page to obtain the raw data files (eg. GPX) for this Trek.
  • If you're not a Member, or you'd like to batch download the entire Treks database you can obtain this by buying a product called EOTreks Route Files from our online shop.


The coloured rock bands in the sandstone cliffs were caused by water. In earlier, wetter times the red iron of the sandstone layers were dissolved and drawn to the surface during the dry season. The red minerals formed a dark, iron rich 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 have also produced the valley shape, where sandstone blocks have eroded into rock faces and squared towers.

Surrounding the James Range are spinifex dominated sand plains and claypans.


The traditional owners (Upper Southern Arrernte people) call the area Wurre. The Reserve has important archaelogical sites and artefacts which are evidence of ancient Aboriginal occupation in the area. A spread of black rocks at the northern base of the main rock formation is significant as is a large rock massif, known as 'Ewerre' which is a registered scared site.


MUST READ: You are strongly encouraged to read the following articles prepared by the knowledge experts at ExplorOz for your safety and preparation before undertaking any published ExplorOz Trek - Outback Safety, Outback Driving Tips, Outback Communications, and Vehicle Setup for the Outback.

Firewood collection is not permitted in the reserve. Fires are only permitted in designated firepits. Bins are not provided, please
take your rubbish with you. Pets are not permitted in this
reserve. Generators are not permitted.

Fuel Supplies & Usage

Fuel Symbol
4cyl 15 litres4cyl 17 litres4cyl 21 litres
6cyl 16 litres6cyl 19 litres6cyl 19 litres
8cyl 16 litres8cyl 18 litres
Usage is averaged from recorded data (* specific to this trek) and calculated based on trek distance.

Best Time To Visit

Open year round.

Closest Climatic Station

Alice Springs Airport
Distance from Trek Mid Point 27.73km NE
Mean Max. °C36.435.132.628.223.019.819.722.627.230.933.635.4
Mean Min. °C21.520.717.512.
Mean Rain mm38.643.832.316.318.913.615.09.28.521.429.136.9
    Best time to travel      Ok time to travel      Travel NOT recommended

Services & Supplies


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Embed Map
Embed this trek map directly into your website or page. It is easy and free, click the button to retreive the embed code and copy and paste it to your website or page.

What to See

Download Trek
Save time and download all digital map data for this trek (all places are included in the trek download).
This is just a selection. We recommend also browsing the map for other Places nearby.
Camping, photography, and walking around the bluff area and to other locations along the James Range.

Showing 1 Places

Where to Stay

Download Trek
Save time and download all digital map data for this trek (all places are included in the trek download).
This is just a selection. We recommend also browsing the map for other Places nearby.
Camping is permitted in the designated area with gas and wood bbqs, picnic tables and a pit toilet. Fees payable.

Showing 1 Places


Alice Springs to Mt Polhill Rest Area
Driving: 65.16 km
Heading: 216°
Avg Speed: 88.9 km/hr
EST Time: 43:58
Mt Polhill Rest Area to Stuart Highway & Owen Springs Access Tk
Driving: 6.89 km
Heading: 222°
Avg Speed: 105.19 km/hr
EST Time: 03:55
Stuart Highway & Owen Springs Access Tk to Stuart Hwy & Rainbow Valley Access Rd
Driving: 10.55 km
Heading: 213°
Avg Speed: 102.7 km/hr
EST Time: 06:09
Stuart Hwy & Rainbow Valley Access Rd to Rainbow Valley
Driving: 23.73 km
Heading: 122°
Avg Speed: 73.64 km/hr
EST Time: 19:20
Distance is GPS recorded distance based on the travel mode shown (Driving, Straight, Cycling, Walking etc), Direction is straight line from start to end, Avg Speed & EST Time is calculated from GPS data.


Related Travel Journals

The following are links to Members' Blogs that contain the words Rainbow Valley. Creating Blogs is restricted to Members only. Not a Member? Join here.

Showing 5 blogs.


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