Chambers Pillar is a 50 metre sandstone monolith that towers over the surrounding desert near Titijikala, 2 hours south of Alice Springs. It is a sight to behold.

Highlights

  • Epic 4WDing through sand dunes 
  • Watching the milky way drift across the clear desert sky  
  • Photographing epic landscapes 
  • Solo camping

On The Road to Chambers Pillar

After a gruelling couple of weeks hiking the Larapinta Trail, I needed some recovery time. My worn-down legs forbid me doing anything more than a short walk. I figured driving would be easier on the legs, so a trip to Chambers Pillar was on the cards! 

A few bone-rattling hours along the corrugations and some helpful directions from the ladies at the Titjikala Art Centre, I made it to the campgrounds. Passing the enormous sandstone pinnacles on the way in, I felt like I was driving down the outback version of sunset boulevard. 

 

 

I still had a few hours of daylight left, so I kicked back and caught up on the history of the region.

The Traditional Owners of the area are the Arrernte people, for which the pillar holds cultural, historical, and spiritual significance. Along with the nearby Castle Rock and Window Rock, Chambers Pillar makes up part of the Dreaming story of the knob-tailed gecko man, his mother-in-law, and promised wives.

It also holds significance for colonial history too. On an expedition in search of the centre of Australia, John McDouall Stuart first dubbed Chambers Pillar after his sponsor in 1860. Ten years later John Ross’ party ran into the pillar when looking for water and timber for the Overland Telegraph Line. Their initials, JRoss and EW, can still be seen engraved into the rock today. 

As the afternoon rolled on the landscape was transforming. Cool breezes picked up and the colour of the earth reddened with the hot outback sun. I took the opportunity to fly the drone around to get a better look and was taken aback by the beauty of the pillar catching the last light of the day. 

 

 

My plan was just to stay overnight, but I was hooked. I stayed another two days photographing the area – my time cut short by a lack of food. On the way back to Alice Springs I felt a bit like an early Explorer, forced away by necessity but in awe of the beauty of the land.

 

Essential Gear

  • 4WD & recovery gear 
  • Camera
  • Plenty of food & water
  • Camping gear

How To Get There

Chambers Pillar is 163km from Alice Springs. Heading out of town head south along the Stuart Highway towards the airport. The turn off is to the right, just before the airport, onto Maryvale Road. Not far after the turn off the bitumen road ends, and its dirt the rest of the way.

Once you reach Titjikala, the Chambers Pillar road branches off from town. You’ll pass through several private properties so make sure to leave each gate as you found it on your way through. There are several soft sandy areas as you pass over dunes to the campgrounds.

Skill Level

The road into Chambers Pillar requires a good knowledge of 4WDing and recovery techniques. 

The walks are easy with a small climb up to the base of Chambers Pillar.

Distance Covered

163km 4WDing from Alice Springs to Chambers Pillar

70ish steps up to the base of the pillar