Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Larapinta Track, Section 10: Glen Helen to Ormiston Gorge

While I enjoy the idea - even the practice - of walking every day and camping out every night, I have carried enough heavy packs in my life to also enjoy walking every day with just a day pack and sleeping in the relative comfort of my caravan every night. The beauty of the long distance Larapinta Track is that you can walk it in one long 10 to 14 day push, or walk sections at a time. Some sections are really quite short and easy, and, if you are a party of two, with one vehicle, it is simple to have one person start at either end obviating the need for any extra transportation.

Finke River Waterhole

One such section (10) is the short jaunt from Ormiston Gorge to Glen Helen/Mount Sonder lookout. This section of the Larapinta Track is absolutely delightful. The first five kilometres out of Ormiston Gorge the track wanders through hilly countryside with lots to look at. There is a short hike up to "hilltop lookout" (there are many hilltop lookouts on the Larapinta Track) where you have a wonderful view up and down the length of the West MacDonnells and over to Glen Helen Gorge. After descending from the hilltop lookout the track crosses sandy Ormiston Creek, dry but lined with attractive ghost gums, and wanders west to a well appointed campsite on the Finke River (water in a tank but there is also water in the Finke River). 

 Mount Sonder

On the west side of the Finke River there is a three way junction. The track to the west leads on to Redbank Gorge via Rocky Bar Gap, while the track to the south follows the Finke River out to the highway. Along the way, the track passes through a small red rock arch and along side large pools on the Finke River. If you are not staying at Glen Helen, the best parking is at the Mount Sonder lookout and an unmarked branch of the track leads up to the carpark.

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