,Chambers Pillar is such an underrated destination. Many travellers come to the red centre and leave without seeing this amazing sandstone rock. Only 150km from Alice Springs, Chambers Pillar Historical Reserve is a great option for a day trip or an overnight camping trip.

Chambers Pillar

As soon as you see the 350 million-year-old, 50-meter rock formation you can’t help but be taken back by it’s amazing red and white sandstone with the beautiful outback, backdrop. The best times of day is sunset for the perfect light to capture some amazing pictures.

You can walk all the way around Chambers Pillar and even walk up the steps to get the best view of the surrounding outback.


The first explorer to Chambers Pillar was John McDouall Stuart, in early 1860. This was during his third attempt to cross the continent from south to north and find a route for the overland telegraph line. Stuart described the Pillar as a beacon, naming it after one of the expedition’s sponsors, James Chambers.

Other early explorers and the builders of the Overland Telegraph Line used Chambers Pillar as a navigational landmark. Many of these people left their intitials on the pillar.

Dreamtime Story

The Aboriginals believe this site is a sacred area and the girls loved to read about the Dreamtime Story. They say the local Aboriginals know the true story as it is a secret. However, we did read that a man in the local tribe Itirkawarra was not a great man and fell in love with a family member (which was forbidden). He and his wife “Yayuwara” were banished and Itirkawarra brought her to this land.

Itirkawarra turned to stone which is now known as Chambers Pillar and Yayuwara (known as Castle Rock) was so ashamed of being banished she turned her back to him and turned to stone as well.

More than just a rock

I went out to Chambers Pillar just to see the pillar itself but I was surprised how much more there was to see. There is a lot of walks in the area, birdies heaven after the wet season and a photographers inspiration. Chambers Pillar was a spectacular sight to see but Castle Rock is just as breathtaking.


Chambers Pillar has two camping areas – Pillar Campground & Bush Campground.

Pillar Campground was fantastic;

  • Amazing view of Chambers Pillar and Castle Rock
  • Several drop toilets that weren’t totally awful
  • BBQs
  • Fire pits (you can collect as much wood as you like before the reserve)
  • Plenty of space
  • And only a short walk to Chambers Pillar itself.

This camping area is only designed for tents and small camper trailers. If your looking for a little more space then the Bush Campground is another great area.

Cost: $7.70 a family

Getting there

Distance: 150km from Alice Springs

Recommended: 4WD only as this track can be very corrugated and sandy. They do recommend a 4WD flag as some hills are steep and you cannot see oncoming traffic.  Caravans are not recommended, only camper trailers.

Check road conditions: It’s best to speak with the Alice Springs Information centre about road conditions and how to get there. They were very helpful with planning our trip. We found the track extremely corrugated as it was after the Finkes Desert Race. The final section from Maryvale to Chambers Pillar was very rough, sandy and a lot of bulldust. We found a very large hill in the last 10km which had a steep descent and can understand why they don’t recommend caravans.

For more information on Chambers Pillar click here. 


We really enjoyed our visit to Chambers Pillar, it was  breathtaking. We were so surprised by the great campground that was provided and it was definitely a highlight of our red centre trip.



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