Ruby Gap feels wild and adventurous, as it’s not an easy place to get to. The four-hour drive takes us deep into the East MacDonnell Ranges. We travel past Artttunga, with its remains of the gold rush era, then on an increasingly difficult 4WD track to the sandy bed of the Hale River with its abundant (tiny) garnets, which were originally thought to be rubies, hence the name. The campsite is nestled below majestic red cliffs. Magnificent rock folds and contours provide evidence of ancient geological events… this is an unfathomably timeless place where one is constantly reminded of our smallness. The campsite is comfortable with our marquee studio and pit toilet and flat sandy swag spots. It’s so gobsmackingly beautiful that it’s easy to not want to venture far from ‘home’ at all. However a short way up the river are beautiful pools, some deep enough for a dip. Three and a half kilometres upstream is the enchanting Glen Annie Gorge, a good days outing with drawing, lunch and ‘ruby’ collecting on the way. For more intrepid walkers, a magnificent vista of the horseshoe bends of the Hale and an endlessly folded horizon of cliffs and valleys is revealed from the top of the cliffs above the camp.
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