Chambers Pillar Historical Reserve


The main feature of this 340 hectare Reserve is the pillar of sandstone which towers 50 metres above the surrounding plain. Sandstone deposits were laid down in the area 350 million years ago. Since then, wind and rain have eroded away the softer material, leaving this solitary column of pebbly sandstone.

John McDouall Stuart, heading north on his earliest attempt to cross Australia, first recorded the pillar in April 1860 and named it after James Chambers, one of his South Australian sponsors.

How to get there

Chambers Pillar Historical Reserve lies 160km south of Alice Springs, along the Old South Road on a turnoff to the west of Maryvale Station. The road is unsealed and may be closed after rain. After the Maryvale turnoff, a 4WD is required to negotiate the deep sand drifts and steep jump ups.

When to visit

The cooler months from April to September are the best time to visit Chambers Pillar. The road is unsealed and may be closed after rain, so check first with local authorities regarding the condition of the road.

What to see and do

Walking tracks explore the prominent features of Chambers Pillar and the surrounding area. At sunrise and sunset, the Pillar glows like a burning ember as the rays of the sun strike its face.

Visitor facilities

Camping and picnic facilities, gas barbecues, information, toilets and parking are available.

Please remember

There are two campgrounds at Chambers Pillar and camping outside of these designated areas is not permitted. Camping fees are payable onsite. Please use the free gas barbecues provided where possible.

Fact sheet

Recreational activities

Along with photographic opportunities, recreational activities and facilities within the Reserve include:

  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Walking Tracks
  • Nature Observation

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Scenic and cultural features

In the Dreamtime it is said the Gecko ancestor Itirkawara left the Finke River and journeyed north east. As he traveled he grew into a huge and powerfully built man of super human strength and with an extremely violent temper. On the way home to his birthplace he challenged and killed, with his stone knife, a number of ancestors.

Flushed with the ease of his success, he then disregarded the strict marriage code and took a wife from the wrong skin group. His enraged relatives banished him and the girl.

The two retreated into the desert, Itirkawara raging in fury, the girl shrinking from him in deep shame. Among the dunes they rested and turned into prominent rocky formations - Itirkawara into the Pillar, and the girl, still turning her face away from him in shame, into Castle Rock, around 500 metres away.

Territory Parks Alive

Territory Parks Alive is a program of talks and guided walks that Park Rangers conduct across the Northern Territory. The program is offered from May to September each year.

Territory Parks Alive IconYou can view and download the 2015 brochure here.

Park Sites Access Comments Forecast Opening
Chambers Pillar Historical Reserve Open
4WD High Clearance Only