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Hermannsburg

The Aboriginal settlement of Hermannsburg is famous as the home of artist Albert Namatjira. It is also a National Trust-listed historic precinct.

The Aboriginal settlement of Hermannsburg is famous as the home of Aboriginal landscape watercolour artist Albert Namatjira. The historic settlement is an easy 130km drive from Alice Springs. Explore the buildings of the restored historic town and see work by local artists.

Explore the historic town

Wander around the National Trust-listed Hermannsburg Historic Precinct – a series of historic German-style whitewashed buildings that were constructed when the mission was established. The historic precinct is shaded by river red gums and old date palms. Among the low, stone buildings are a church, a school and various houses and outbuildings. The buildings have been restored to their original 19th-century condition and now house the Kata Anga Tea Rooms, a museum and the Namatjira Gallery, which displays original paintings by the artist and works by the acclaimed Hermannsburg Potters.

The Hermannsburg School of painting

Hermannsburg is best known as the birthplace of artist Albert Namatjira. He painted the local landscape in Western-style watercolours, a style that became known as the Hermannsburg School of painting. Queen Elizabeth became one of his most notable fans, and awarded Namitjira the Queen’s Coronation Medal in 1953. Today Namatjira’s house, three kilometres west of the town, is open to visitors.

Mission history

The community was first established as a Lutheran mission in the 1880s and was one of Central Australia’s first settlements. Hermannsburg was the German name chosen by the Lutheran pastors who set up the small mission for the Arrernte Aboriginal people here in the 1880s.

It is the birthplace of anthropologist Ted Strehlow, who was initiated into Arrernte customs. The mission land was handed back to its traditional owners in 1982.

The Hermannsburg Potters

The Hermannsburg Potters are renowned for their unique hand-built terracotta pots. The lids of these stunning works support colourful sculpted animals, birds and bush and the pot centres are painted with imagery inspired by the surrounding landscapes.

In the area

You can travel to Hermannsburg on an organised day tour from Alice Springs, or stay overnight at a campsite in the community. Camping facilities are also available at the nearby Palm Valley in the Finke Gorge National Park.

Things to see & do in Hermannsburg

  • Information

    Opening times

    Open Monday to Sunday 9am to 4pm.

    Entry cost

    • Indicative Prices tickets from $10.00 to $12.00
    • Child tickets from $

    Facilities

    • Cafe
    • Carpark
    • Coach Parking
    • Picnic Area
    • Public Toilet

    Accessibility

    Caters for people with sufficient mobility to climb a few steps but who would benefit from fixtures to aid balance. (This includes people using walking frames and mobility aids) Caters for people who are deaf or have hearing loss.

    Accreditation

    • Quality Tourism Accredited Business
    • National Trust
  • Map

    Map

    What's nearby

    What's nearby

    Explore the NT
    Driving routes Flight paths
  • FAQs

    Can you camp in Hermannsburg?

    Yes, you can camp in Hermannsburg. The Ntaria Camping Ground has picnic tables, shelters, toilets and showers. This is within walking distance of the historic precinct.

    Hermannsburg also has a supermarket and fuel station just 1 min drive from the historic precinct, but be sure to check opening hours.

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    How do you get around?

    You can access Hermannsburg via 2WD, however, if you want to travel on to the Finke River National Park which is also in the same are, you will need a high clearance 4WD.

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    How do you get to Hermannsburg?

    Hermannsburg is located 125km from Alice Springs and takes 1h 25 min to drive there.

    -From Alice Springs, head west on Route 6, Larapinta Drive.

    -Before you get to the Finke River, turn right at the sign to Hermannsburg and go all the way to the T intersection. Turn left and go about 800 metres and you will see the carpark and historic precinct on your left.

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    What are the best things to see and do?

    The historic precinct is an originally sacred site known as Ntaria where you can explore the restored buildings with signages or stop by for lunch. The Kata Anga Tea rooms are in Pastor Carl Strehlow’s original homestead within the historic town and their apple strudel and scones are justly famous. The precinct is open from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm, the tearooms close earlier at 4.00 pm and both attractions are closed on Good Friday and Christmas Day. A house built in 1994 by famous aboriginal artist Albert Namijira is located 3 km west of Hermannsburg.

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    What else should you know about Hermannsburg?

    Pastor Carl Strehlow, a founder of the mission and the first person to document the Aranda language, had a son named Teddy who received sacred objects from local indigenous people in the 1930’s. These artefacts are now in collection at the Strehlow Centre in Alice Springs which is run by The Museum of Central Australia. Hermannsburg hosts the annual Ntaria Sports Day early every May, bringing people from communities in the McDonnell Ranges, Western Desert, and sometimes even further to compete in basketball, softball and AFL competitions. The Aranda Bulldogs football club in the Central Australian AFL competition has weekly games you might be able to watch during the season.

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    When is the best time to visit?

    Hermannsburg is such a unique place that any time is good to visit. If you prefer cooler weather, a visit from April to September would suit you best.

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    Where can you go from Hermannsburg?

    If you have a 4WD you can explore the Finke River National Park with attractions like Palm Valley featuring the main gorge with waterholes, high red cliffs, river red gums and a number of walks.

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    What is special about Hermannsburg?

    Hermannsburg stands out as one of the first inland European settlements in Australia with a special kind of beauty. It also provides a fascinating insight into the pioneering days in the Northern Territory and the relationship between the missionaries and local “Aranda” Aboriginal people.

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