The Aboriginal settlement of Hermannsburg is famous as the home of artist Albert Namatjira. It’s 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.
Things to see & do in Hermannsburg
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.
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’s 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.
- Indicative Prices tickets from $13.00 to $15.00
- Child tickets from $
- Coach Parking
- Picnic Area
- Public Toilet
- Shop / Gift Shop
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.
- Quality Tourism Accreditation
- National Trust
- Indicative Prices tickets from $13.00 to $15.00
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 the opening hours.
How do you get around?
You can access Hermannsburg via 2WD. You can walk around the historic precinct and take a short drive to Hermannsburg Potters. If you want to travel on to nearby Finke River National Park, you’ll need a high clearance 4WD.
How do you get to Hermannsburg?
Hermannsburg is located 125km from Alice Springs and takes about 1½ hours’ drive.
- From Alice Springs, head west on Larapinta Drive
- Before you get to the Finke River, turn right at the sign to Hermannsburg and drive all the way to the "T" intersection
- Turn left and proceed about 800 metres, and you’ll see the carpark and historic precinct on your left.
What are the best things to see and do?
The historic precinct is a sacred site known as Ntaria. Here you can explore the restored buildings and stop by for lunch. The Kata Anga tea rooms are found in Pastor Carl Strehlow’s original homestead, and their apple strudel and scones are justly famous.
Visit the Hermannsburg Potters studio, but ensure you phone ahead to make an appointment. You can also find their artworks in the shops at the historic precinct.
A house built in 1994 by famous aboriginal artist Albert Namijira is located 3km west of Hermannsburg.
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 in early May, bringing people from communities in the MacDonnell Ranges, Western Desert, and sometimes 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.
When’s 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.
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.
What’s special about Hermannsburg?
Hermannsburg stands out as one of the first inland European settlements in Australia. It provides a fascinating insight into the pioneering days in the Northern Territory and the relationship between the missionaries and local “Aranda” Aboriginal people. Hermannsburg is also the birthplace of renowned Aboriginal landscape artist, Albert Namatjira.
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