Apart from the Canning Stock Route (which was planned prior to Bryn), we’ve done most of our adventuring as a family for the last 4 years. As he’s grown and become more part of the team rather than someone to be transported, we realised that we needed to branch out into trips where the focus is something sufficiently satisfying for one of us while the other ‘supports’.
Sarah (particularly) has long had the Larapinta Trail on our List*. It’s a 223km walk along the West McDonnell Range from Redbank Gorge into Alice Springs in the middle of Australia. At this time of year the weather is perfect for walking with clear days and cold nights. Sarah did the walk with her friend Bridgette (just 3 days back from a 5 month trip riding from Cairo to Cape Town), and Bryn and I aimed to meet up with them where possible. After the trail maps arrived, I realised that the two of us could get into the majority of the marked campsites (with water tanks) using 4WD tracks…
*this actually exists – on a whiteboard in the kitchen – a lifetime of fun!
With a lot of very generous help from a contact in Alice Springs, we were all deposited at the far end of the walk (Redbank Gorge) having done our boxed food drops on our way out. Then an amazingly smooth, relaxed (for me, anyway) trip began – with my main aim being to hang out in the bush with Bryn and make it to camp in reasonable time :-)
The trip took us 12 days in the end – and even with that the girls mostly got to camp around 3pm and so got plenty of sitting around time.
Logistics/Kit: The Tout Terrain Singletrailer worked really well, and with use of the seat-pack mounted directly on the trailer didn’t really suffer from a lack of storage. Bryn didn’t have any issues despite this trailer offering less headroom or elbow room compared to the Chariot CX1. We ran tubeless (split-tube ghetto for the bike wheels) and put sealant in the trailer wheel tube – and didn’t get any punctures despite plenty of thorns etc. Flying with the trailer wasn’t an issue. We described it as a ‘sporting item’ to the airline (Qantas), and as it only weighs 9-10kg it meant we could load it up with kit to minimise bike-weight.
Wow really nice hearing about your trip, there are some really beautiful photo’s in this blog.
The photography is stunning… What an adventure!
Sounds like a great trip. I’ve done overnight trips out of Alice Springs to Larapinta trail trailheads at Birthday Waterhole, Hugh Gorge and Jay Creek (via the Tanami Road), but always limited by time and lack of food and water resupply options. Food drops are an excellent idea if you’ve got time to this, I’m guessing you could have done this in a day? A few food options exist at Glen Helen, Ormiston Gorge and Standley Chasm, but they’re mostly just sit down or takeaway options, not great for restocking lightweight camp food.
Keep an eye out for updates on the West MacDonnell Ranges bike trail. The NT Government has announced a 200km trail paralleling the Larapinta Trail which will allow cyclists to avoid using the narrow Larapinta Drive and Namatjira Drive to get to the 4wd tracks (the fun bits) that lead to the campsites.
We did good drops at the Larapinta trail food drop rooms on our way out to the end of the trail.
Great that the NT government has seen the potential for making what we did more ‘legal’ :-)