Chambers Pillar was discovered in 1860 by John McDouall Stuart, the first explorer to cross Australia. It is a 50-m formation rising above the surrounding flat desert plains. It was used as an important landmark for early explorers of the area, and it still bears the graffiti of some of them.
Chambers Pillar was named after one James Chambers, who was a sponsor of John McDouall Stuarts expedition. It was first recorded by McDouall Stuart in April 1860.
Chambers Pillar is 160 km south of Alice Springs, along the Old South Road. The road is unsealed, and does require a 4WD as it is quite sandy. There are deep sand drifts further down, and steep jump-ups when crossing rivers.
Like most attractions in Central Australia, the best time to visit are during the cooler months of April to September, but as rain is common, you should check with authorities before setting out.
You are travelling in a remote area. Ensure you carry plenty of water, a decent hat, sunscreen and suitable clothing!
The only sizable town in the vicinity is Alice Springs, 160 km to the north. From Alice Springs it is a dirt track (the Finke Road) to the Maryvale station, and from Maryvale on it is a 4WD-only tough and sandy desert track. Do not ignore the 4WD-only signs, the last part of the track can not by any means be tackled by regular vehicles. A few kilometers after Maryvale, an extremely steep climb over some rocky terrain will deter most conventional vehicles (even with a 4WD, you will probably have to use the lowest gear), and just after this hill the last kilometers are
Fees and permits
Camping fees are payable at the Honesty Box at the start of the walking track to the Pillar. Park rangers regularly patrol the park and check camping permits.
- 1 Chambers Pillar. A sandstone formation that gives the name to the Chambers Pillar Historical Reserve, in the Northern Territory in Australia, on the edge of the Simpson Desert. The tough 4WD drive and the desert views make for a nice day trip from Alice Springs. From the parking, a 30-minute walk brings you to and around the pillar. There are two particular spots indicated for the sunrise and sunset where the sun directly reflects over the pillar. The view from the pillar over the surrounding desert is purely breathtaking.
There are no facilities, bring your own food.
You can bring your own tent and camp, but there are no facilities (except a rudimentary toilet) in the reserve.
A campground is open to the public. there is 12 camping bays, 10 of which have fire pits. Each bay can accommodate two vehicles and trailers.
We are in the desert here. Take plenty of water with you, even for the short walk to the pillar. The track to the pillar from Maryvale is quite remote, if you have any mechanical problem there you would have to wait some time before anyone comes by (as the pillar is a tourist attraction, it would probably not too long anyway... at most a few days...), so take some extra food and water just in case. If you run into mechanical trouble, do not leave your car.
From the Pillar, the only solution is to head back to Maryvale Station. Between Maryvale and Alice Springs, you can make a stop at the Ewaninga Rock Carvings.