The Snail Trail

Travelling with my home on my back and in no hurry to get anywhere

Standley Chasm, Northern Territory

Chasms, Cliffs and Caterpillar Dreaming


In the Arrernte Aboriginal people’s Dreamtime story, this region was created by giant caterpillars. These creatures became the stunning ridges of the East and West Macdonnell Ranges that shelter the town of Alice Springs.   from  Do the NT

I love the Dreamtime stories of the traditional owners in the different areas of Australia that I have visited and the Arrernte people around Alice Springs tell of giant caterpillars that formed the MacDonnell Ranges. Today we drove out to Standley Chasm and I saw those caterpillars form the ridges of the West Macs…what do you think?

West MacDonnell Ranges, Northern Territory

West MacDonnell Ranges

You can listen to one of the traditional owners tell the story of the caterpillars here. The story you want is Yipirinya Dreaming. This web site has some wonderful photos and information about the West MacDonnell Ranges and is well worth investigating.

I also found a wonderful site where you can read the story of the encounter of the three caterpillars. There are other traditional stories on this site too, and recommendations of dreamtime story books for children.

Margaret has captured these ‘caterpillar’ ridges beautifully…

Your view of the West MacDonnells changes with every bend of the road but each one is beautiful in its own way.

Today we drove out along the line of the West Macs to visit Standley Chasm. This is named after a teacher, Ida Standley, who was the first teacher at the Jay Creek Settlement in 1929, and the first white woman to visit the chasm which has been given her name. Stunning is the only word to describe it!

Standley Chasm, Northern Territory

Standley Chasm

Here’s a selection of my favourite photos of the walk into the chasm and then some different views of the chasm itself…Margaret took the photos in this slide show (thought I’d show you the best ones first)!

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….and I took these….

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What do you think? Isn’t it the most spectacular place?

Author: The Snail Trail

I’m a nomad who loves travelling Australia in my old campervan, Brutus the Beast, seeing amazing places and meeting fellow travellers.

2 thoughts on “Chasms, Cliffs and Caterpillar Dreaming

  1. Incredible photos, we miss many of these places on our travels around Australia because we have a dog and we love him and would not go anywhere without him.


  2. I understand how fur babies restrict where you can go but there’s also plenty of beautiful places where both you and your dog can enjoy being and I’m sure you have seen lots of those 🙂


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