I heard about Ruby Gap Nature Park while camping at Uluru. It sounded like a beautiful quiet place to retreat for a few days. I’m really glad I did. The park is located 150km east of Alice Springs. A 4wd is essential. After the gravel road in to the park boundary the internal track is the dry sandy riverbed with an occasional detour onto land when rocks block the path.
I spent 2 days enjoying Ruby Gap. It was very peaceful with no one else in the park. I camped right at the end of the track where 4wd’s can’t go any further. On my second day I did the hike up the remainder of the riverbed to Glen Annie Gorge. This had a magnificent cool waterhole where I could cool off from the fiery heat. Having the gorge all to myself was magical as I sat and read in the shade after a refreshing dip.
The park was called ruby gap due to an explorer passing through here in 1886 finding what he thought were millions of rubies in the sands of the riverbed. These were later found to be worthless garnets. To me they looked nothing like a ruby, but I guess many people back at the turn of the 19th century had never actually seen a ruby. This news sparked a mining rush with a few hundred prospectors heading into the isolated riverbeds, only to walk away within 2 years when the news came their rocks were worthless. Gold had been discovered nearby at Arltunga so many would have deserted ruby gap and headed there.