Australia, Camping, Central Australia, Northern Territory

Gosse Bluff with kids (Tnorala) in Central Australia

Gosse Bluff with Kids 

Gosse Bluff (Tnorala) is a crater that is believed to have formed from a comet crashing into the earth 142.5 million years ago. The interesting thing about this, is that the Aboriginal interpretation of how it was formed is also celestial in origin.  Gosse Bluff is a surprise gem in Central Australia, with picnic tables, walking tracks and beautiful surrounds.

I visited Gosse Bluff on a self-drive camping trip with my husband and young kids.  We visited when traveling from Alice Springs to Uluru via the ‘alternative’ way. See the route we followed on this blog post: Central Australia Road Trip With Kids (The Route We Took)

Gosse Bluff is free to visit, and is located an approximate 210 km drive west of Alice Springs.  You will need a 4WD visit this crater.  The road is sealed the majority of the way, however the last 5 km looks a little like this:


Gosse Bluff with Kids
The dirt track into Tnorala (Gosse Bluff)

The drive in on the bright red sand is just as visually interesting as the crater itself.  If you were to visit in spring, there are wildflowers around the picnic and parking area.

Gosse Bluff with Kids
Trillian (18 months) checking out the plants around the picnic area

Visiting Gosse Bluff allows you to view the inside of the crater.  If you take the short hike up to the viewing area, you get to see awesome views at an elevation.  The walking tracks are suitable for kids (wearing shoes of course) however the hike up to the viewing area is not suitable for young kids at all.  We managed the hike to the viewing area with Mr nearly 4 in the Piggy Back Rider and Miss 18 months in the Ergo Baby Carrier (see my baby and toddler carriers for travelling section) however there is a bit of scrambling over rocks and narrow tracks with steep drop-offs either side.

Gosse Bluff with Kids
View from the hike inside the crater at Tnorala (Gosse Bluff)
Gosse Bluff with Kids
Jason and Ripley enjoying views from the top

Tnorala is a registered sacred site however the traditional owners welcome visitors.  It is asked that you obey signs and do not enter areas where access is not permitted.

There is a pit toilet, walking tracks, a nice shady picnic shelter with tables, and signage with cultural information.  You can’t really read it from the photo below, however the Legend of Tnorala signage says:

“In the dreamtime, a large group of women danced across the sky, as the milky way.  They were stars taking the form of women”  

“During the ceremonial dance of the Milky Way Women, a mother put her baby aside, resting in his turna, a wooden baby carrier”  

“The Turna toppled over the edge of the dancing area and fell to the earth.  The baby fell down into the ground and his turna fell hard on top of him.  At the place where it crashed into the ground, rocks were forced up from underneath, forming the circular walls of Tnorala”  

“The Milky Way Baby was covered with sand and hidden from view”

“The mother, as the Evening Star, and the father, as the Morning Star, are still looking for their missing baby.”

Gosse Bluff with Kids

In general, visiting Gosse Bluff with kids is fairly easy providing you are not expecting them to manage the steep hike up to the viewing area. Older kids would be able to manage it perfectly fine, especially if they into the outdoors and scrambling over rocks and exploring.

Gosse Bluff is a nice place to stop for a picnic, toilet break and do some short walks to break up the drive when travelling this route.

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