Mt Sonder, West MacDonnell Ranges (NT)

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Just do it.

But do it early in the morning as the sun beats you over the head coming down.

Descending into the path of a big a ball of hydrogen and radioactive fire which is the NT outback sun is not pleasant. If you are really keen get up in the dark and catch the sunrise and you’ll be back in time for morning tea!.

The ascent isn’t all that pretty and as I was making my way up I was wondering what the fuss about this hike was all about. But upon reaching the summit I understood immediately that it is the final view that makes it all worth it. The other thing is the descent is fantastic is as you get a great vista all the way down, so don’t despair about the relatively bland way up!

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It is not a super long climb and you can probably do it in 2 hours if you are reasonably fit. Take plenty of water it is a dry unforgiving heat and you will need to stay hydrated.

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Camping:

I camped at Redbank gorge in the Woodlands campground and I highly recommend it. It is not as crowded as the Ridgetop camp ground and if you are lucky I hope that you can experience it the way I did: There was no one around and the silence was absolute. The sky was flawless and the stars were in the billions. The only sound I heard all night was a solitary dingo howl at 5 o’clock in the morning. I hope that you can experience woodlands in the same way!

So in short, climb Mt Sonder, camp at woodlands and carry back a piece of the magnificent outback with you in your soul.

Crystal clear night skies, dead silence (apart from the occasional dingo howl) and a land as old as time itself makes for a very special experience.

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