A wonderful way to experience the West MacDonnells is to trek the long-distance Larapinta Trail, which follows the ranges, beginning at the Telegraph Station north of Alice Springs and ending 223km to the west on the 1347m Mount Sonder summit. The walk is divided into around a dozen sections, but these don’t necessarily delineate a day’s walk. Trailside water tanks are situated no more than two days’ walk or 30km apart. The more impressive and more arduous sections are near town. Section 2 from Simpsons Gap to Jay Creek is 25km long – an overnight stop is advised, while the next section is a short but hard 14km to Standley Chasm with 350m of climbing. Pre-check weather conditions – it’s best tackled between April and October when the temperatures are lower. You can print a basic trail guide from the NT government website (parksandwildlife.nt.gov.au/parks/walks/larapinta) or, better, buy its comprehensive “Trail Package” ($44), which includes waterproof trail maps and notes. For those walkers looking for a touch of Larapinta comfort, it’s now possible to make use of rather stylish semipermanent campsites through World Expeditions (worldexpeditions.com).

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