Outback MagazineOutback Magazine


Trail to the nation's heart

Larapinta Story Rebel Black
Photos Matthew Newton

The tranquil stillness in the early hours of a brisk autumn morning is broken only by the crunch of gravel under foot and wallabies scurrying up rocky outcrops. It is a perfect time of day for walking.

The rocks are blazing red, wildlife is ever-alert and it feels as if there is not a breath of wind, although your skin tingles from the cool.

The sun is sneaking above the horizon, dusting everything with a bright yellow glow. Only the white gums stand unchanged, shimmering their stark silver grey in the early morning light.

LarapintaIt smells sweet and although there is no remaining dew, it is the dampness that makes the morning fruity. Your senses are heightened, your lungs filled with clean air and you feel that you are the only person alive.

And with good reason - you are on the Larapinta Trail.

Thirteen years after walkers had access to the first section of the 223-kilometre trek, the full Larapinta Trail was officially opened in April. Regarded as one of the world's great walking experiences, it meanders through, over and around central Australia's West MacDonnell Ranges from Alice Springs to Mount Sonder.

Originally intended for experienced walkers, the trail covers some of the most magnificent and spiritually-enriching country in the Red Centre, offering an unforgettable experience for both fanatical bush walkers and casual trekkers.

The Larapinta Trail allows walkers to not only see, but to become part of the ranges, low-lying saltbush country and baron river-beds that comprise West MacDonnell National Park.

Because walkers can enter and exit the track at numerous locations, including the many gaps and gorges along the ranges, it isn't necessary to complete the whole walk to experience the trail's magic. Story end

Full story: Issue 23, June/July 2002

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