7. Larapinta Trail, Australia
The Larapinta Trail is one of Australia's best long walks due to its spectacular scenery, rich desert colours, amazing flora and fauna, and wild remoteness. The track visits major natural features like Simpson’s Gap, Standley Chasm and Ormiston Gorge as well as many other stunning natural features along the range. The area abounds with spinifex and dry rocky ridges, but is far from being barren.
The trail can be walked east to weat or west to east, although the latter is better for logistical purposes. A shuttle takes walkers to Redbank Gorge and the start of 12 official sections, which can be walked in anything from 12 to 20 days. The West MacDonnell ranges run all the way to Alice Springs - a classic destination.
There are about three trail shelters along the length of the walk now, but these only consist of an open sided platform on which to lay a sleeping bag, and a roof. Most night's will be spent camping. Independent walkers need to carry full supplies but there are options for supported treks covering the best sections.
Climbing Mt Sonder and seeing the next two weeks of your life mapped out ahead of you, refreshing dips in antarctic-temperature pools, wildlife spotting (budgerigars, dingoes, marsupials), the view from Brinkley Bluff, Ormiston Gorge, Ice cold in Alice.
JohnChapman wrote the definitive guide book, updated in 2015, with plenty of information on flora, fauna & history. The Northern Territory Govt map kit is essential.
WHEN TO GO
Recommended travel is between June and August due to the cooler temperatures, but it is still very hot. Rain can also occur, although unlikely, and night-time temperatures can be surprisingly bitter.
For a list of products that will help you survive the trek, check our gear list.