Invoke the heady times that saw Ruby Gap emerge as the site of Central Australia's first mining boom as you camp.
Ruby Gap Nature Park is a remote spot located on the most eastern side of the East MacDonnell Ranges. Located 150 kilometres from Alice Springs, it was the site of Central Australia's first mining rush in 1886 after 'rubies' were found in the riverbed.
Today Ruby Gap is a popular place for camping and bushwalking. Much of the park's terrain is extremely rugged and is only suitable for the experienced walker. Follow the riverbed and tracks upstream to Glen Annie Gorge.
In 1886 explorer David Lindsay found what he thought were rubies in the sandy bed of the Hale River. A rush ensued with buyers from European snapping them up. As the market was flooded, the quality of the rubies found was questioned and, 18 months into the rush, it was found that the gems were merely high-grade garnets. Central Australia's ruby boom quickly collapsed.
Access to this little-visited and remote park is via the Arltunga Historical Reserve. A high clearance four-wheel drive vehicle is essential, but is well worth the effort to get here. There are several campgrounds in the park (fees apply).