The Larapinta Trail is a classic Australian long distance (223km) walk along the West MacDonnell Range from or to Alice Springs. It’s by far the longest walk I’ve done (both distance and days) and one of the hardest, due to the challenging terrain and temperatures (was over 30C during some days, and freezing overnight).
223km is quite a long way and I saw plenty of amazing things while on the trail, though the majority were either epic views from bluffs and ridges, or beautifully reflective waterholes. Here my highlights from the twelve days I spent walking the trail from Mt Sonder back to Alice Springs (though I’d strongly recommend doing it the other way, learnt this the hard way).
Sunset and sunrise at Finke River
My second night on the trail and the only night I had a campsite to myself (though usually only 1-2 other people at them) treated me to a quite spectacular sunset. Which was then topped by the sunrise the next day. Never seen such vivid colours first thing in the morning.
An erie and magical place, with haunting ghost gums along the walk to an impressive gap in the red rocks, through which the wind whistles through. Felt like I was in an Indiana Jones movie.
Possibly my favourite waterhole on the trail, both as the only one I took a cold but refreshing dip in, and for the quite stunning reflections in the mid afternoon light.
Regarded as one of the best views on the whole trail and understandably so.
Serpentine Chalet Dam
Only 150m from the shelter is a dam from the 1960s, behind which was one of the most intriguing gorges I saw.
An obvious choice but the views from the summit, and of the mountain itself behind me for the first four days, were quite wonderful.
Nature has provided a seemingly endless variety of rock formations in unusual colours and shapes, providing a constant source of interest along the track.
Even on my only cloudy day Ormiston Gorge was still quite spectacular, epic in scale with deeply red rocks.
Section 4 (Section 4/5 Junction to Standley Chasm) was a late highlight of the walk, the Chewings Range were wonderful viewed from the Brinkley Bluff ridge line.