Category Archives: Walking Tracks

The Wonders of Mt Sonder

There is no shortage of spectacular scenery out here in the West MacDonnell Ranges but one of my personal favorites is the spectacular Mt Sonder.

Section 12, the final section of the Larapinta trail takes walkers on an adventurous 16km return trip from the Redbank gorge car park to the summit of the fourth highest mountain in the northern territory. At 1380 metres above sea level, its no Mt Kosciusko but it’s still worth a picture at the top.

The best way to complete the walk is to leave early in the morning, arriving at the summit for sunrise and returning before the heat of the day.

A few of the staff at Glen Helen did just that earlier this week and came back with some spectacular photos to share.




Thanks to Roger Harrison for sharing these photos (and for getting up at 3am to get them)

Planning for The Larapinta Trail

With summer upon us a visit to The West MacDonnell Ranges is now more about swimming in the natural water holes than long treks on The Larapinta Trail however, now is the perfect time to plan ahead so that you are ready for the big walk when the cool weather returns. Whether you plan to walk just a few sections or the whole trail, planning is key to a successful visit, here are just a few things you will need to consider.

Getting Here: Most people fly into Alice Springs Airport then make their way out to the West Mac’s to begin the walk but when you are making travel plans don’t forget to allow for excess luggage which can be very costly.

Trail Transfers: Whether you choose to walk the traditional way from Alice Springs to Mt Sonder or in reverse, completing the walk in Alice Springs you will still require a transfer from one end to the other. Even the most adventurous would not want to walk back again. Glen Helen Homestead Lodge offers a range of transfers taking you all the way between Alice Springs and Mt Sonder, or just between various sections of the trail.

The Right Gear: If you are going to carry it, wear it and live off it for the full 12 sections, you better be sure you are comfortable with it! Getting the right gear means the difference between a great adventure or weeks of wishing you could go back home. Take your time to find the right equipment and consider all possible weather conditions, despite being in the desert, temperatures can drop to freezing overnight in winter and you don’t want to waste energy on keeping warm. Don’t forget to drop into The Lone Dingo in Alice Springs for any last minute purchases.

Health & Fitness: It goes without saying that if you are going to do the walk you want to be certain that you are healthy and fit enough to make it to the end. Get professional advice to create an effective training schedule and inform your doctor of your plans, he or she will likely have some useful suggestions.

Food & Water: It’s a strange thing being in the middle of nowhere and not being able to rely on your fridge or kitchen tap for food and water and the complete lack of supplies is normally what surprises inexperienced walkers the most. Plan your food and water supplies by ensuring you know the location of all suitable drinking water sources along the trail, carry purification tablets to help avoid sickness and arrange food drops along the way to lighten your load and ensure you stick to a rationing system. Don’t forget to add some extra treats to your food drops, your favorite snack will mean so much more when you are hungry and tired in the middle of nowhere.

Maps & Information: While you are walking a marked trail, it is essential to carry up to date maps and information to ensure you know what to expect from each section. The last thing you want is to find yourself doubling back several kilometers because you have realised you will never make the next campground before dark.

Memories: You’ve walked it, you feel amazing and you want everyone to know about it. You won’t have phone service for most of the walk but you can definitely fit in a small point and shoot camera to record your adventure. If there is any advice you should take it is never to get so caught up in the task of walking that you fail to take in everything that is around you, that is the real reason you are there.

Remember that planning is half the fun so take the time to get professional advice, do your research and get excited about your big adventure.

For any further information on food drops or transfers contact us at reception to see how we can help.


The Ormiston Pound walk

Recommended as one of the must see walking tracks in the West MacDonnell Ranges, the Ormiston Pound walk is a 3-4 hour loop starting at the Visitor Centre, through the pound and back via the waterhole at Ormiston Gorge.

The area is particularly good for spotting dingoes, rock wallaby’s, a number of water bird species and, looking up you might even spot a Wedged Tailed Eagle, Australia’s largest flying bird.

As always, it is very important to carry ample water for the walk and, due to a lack of shade, adequate sun protection is a must. Often throughout the year section of the track can be flooded so occasionally it is necessary to wade through the water. Always check the information boards, or with the reception staff at Glen Helen Homestead Lodge for the most up to date information on the track.

Just this week some of our staff braved the heat to experience the pound walk and have kindly offered their images below.