Larapinta Trail, NT – Part II

I’ve broken down my story into 3 chunks for easy reading. Read Part I here. Part III is coming soon. In the meantime, you can check out my video diary here (its the first trek I’ve done a video diary for, so be kind! It’s excellent if you need a good laugh anyways…)

Day 7 – Brinkley Bluff to Section 4/5 Junction (6.7km)

Part I ended on top of Brinkley Bluff. The day descending Brinkley was much happier than the one ascending it. Although the downward slope is abrupt and steep, the rest of the day is easy walking and the landscape changes from rocky and harsh to larger eucalyptus trees and more greenery.

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Map showing the abrupt climb down from Brinkley Bluff (Stuart’s Pass). (By the way, you can get your maps here.)

I was unsure whether I’d camp on top of the bluff – I’d heard stories from other hikers about the wind as it’s very exposed. The stories were 100% accurate. It is WINDY. There are scattered flat areas for camping and whoever has built up rock buffers for the wind – thankyou! Small but a great help. I thoroughly recommend camping here. The sunset is breathtaking. There is also mobile reception here and on a couple of other very high points.

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Brinkley Bluff Sunset – before the cold settled in

Section 4/5 Junction was one of my favourite camp spots – it’s accessible by car and would make a great spot for an overnight trip – especially when there is more than just a dark pool of water. It was refreshing to get to camp early, wash some clothes and walk along the wide riverbed while the sun was setting.

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The riverbed at Section 4/5 Junction

Day 8 – Section 4/5 Junction to Hugh Gorge (14.9km)

This is one of the sections with the highest difficulty rating (more about the difficulty of each section here). Despite some long climbs, it wasn’t the hardest day – but it was a long day. Coming into Hugh Gorge it gets dark quickly. I was a bit unsure of the path because you follow the rocky creek bed for a long time. It’s hard to spot any footprints or a specific trail, and blue arrows are sparse. But you basically can’t go wrong following the wide creek bed to the end. Reeds grow in the pools of water and the damp is a welcome change from harsh sun.

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Feet are getting pretty sore by this point… (note my toenails were black from separate prior incidents – one survived.)

A school biology class was investigating up in the gorge. The teacher was quirky and very enthusiastic and the kids must have been too as they’d been swimming at Fringe Lily Creek.  He didn’t seem concerned that a hiker had hypothermia a couple of weeks earlier. He also borrowed my inReach to message the principal as he forgot to put credit on the satellite phone….

Day 9 – Hugh Gorge to Rocky Gully (15.3km)

This is the start of the 2-day section 6. Epic is the only one way to describe this section which crosses the expansive Alice Valley from one mountain range to another. There are some pretty landmarks but it wasn’t a stand-out day for me as the landscape is fairly consistent for most of the day.

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Rest spot at Ghost Gum Flat

Day 10 – Rocky Gully to Ellery Creek (15km)

Day 10 was quite similar to day 9, except towards the end of the day it starts to get interesting. Going up and over the saddle towards Ellery Creek is rough. It is very much a climb and more than a few times I looked up and said ‘you have to be f*cking kidding me!’ It was one of my favourite days in the end though because the view from the saddle looking back over the valley that you’ve traversed is extremely fulfilling.

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Heading for those hills in the distance

Day 11 – Rest Day at Ellery Creek (0km!)

Such a beautiful spot and so welcome to see an actual body of water! It was the second food (& wine) drop day. I decided to use my rest day here.

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Food box from Larapinta Trail Trek Support (highly recommend this company).

I spent the day relaxing on the sandy beach by the water and re-packing my supplies. I also had a ‘shower’; hanging my Camelback from a tree. Washing my hair felt even better than a salon job!

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Beach day & a shower – what a luxury!

Part III; final leg of the journey, is coming soon.

Watch my video diary below

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