Standley Chasm differed from the water-gouged gorges we'd seen up until then. Hundreds of millions of years ago, the earth's crust was stretched in this region; then magma filled in the 'stretch marks'. The magma cooled to form dolerite, an igneous rock that was softer and more easily eroded than the surrounding quartzite, principally by a small creek's flood waters. Today, there is no dolerite left in the Chasm and the sheer quartzite walls rise to 80 metres.
Forty-six kilometres west of The Alice, we joined Larapinta Drive: the turning to Standley Chasm was 6 km further (see map below). It is located in a private reserve owned and run by the Iwupataka Aboriginal Land Trust. There is a $10 entry fee. I regret to say that, during my straw poll conducted at Ormiston Gorge, there was criticism of this charge; but the Land Trust receives no funding and runs the attraction as a business. The Kiosk Cafe offers meals, refreshments and gifts in what is far more than a kiosk.
I wish I could report that, from a visitor's point of view, Standley Chasm is well looked after, but I can't. There's a lot of 'stuff' lying around, some of which is rubbish. Pipework and cables aren't buried properly, and routine maintenance hasn't been done. In places the boardwalk is loose, so it bangs as you step on it, reducing your chances of spotting wildlife, especially shy Black-footed Rock-wallabies. It's all a bit down at heel, except the toilets, which looked brand spanking new.
We didn't see Rock Wallabies, and the only bird we were able to positively ID was a Grey Honeyeater. This visit was in sharp contrast to my last, when I saw no other visitors, and nature laid on a spectacular show in the form of a thunderstorm. The rumbles grew louder as we walked up the gully, but the heavens didn't open until we were right inside the Chasm. I remember flattening myself against the wall in the hope that a slight overhang up above might shelter me. It didn't.
This post was last edited on 1 October 2015