Day 1: Swimming and Mt Sonder

Monday October 3, 14.7km/9.1mi

Mt Sonder (0.0/1327m) to Redbank Campsite (7.1/688m) (NT) x2, + 500m Carpark connector trail

I was up early, since the other people in my bunkroom were awake and gone by 5:45am. I lay in bed for a few minutes reading my book, listening to the loudest birds outside the window. I had a shower and packed up, and inventoried my food for anything missing.

I took a walk around town doing some final shopping for the hike, I picked up sunglasses, electrolyte tablets, and some more food. The local camping store had the best name… Lone Dingo!

When I returned, I even scored a free fuel canister from the hikerbox at the hostel!
The hostel owner had agreed to give me a ride to the starting trailhead, so I made sure I was ready to go at 11am. I love the license plates here – “NT Outback Australia”.

He ended up having someone else drive me, Zac and Zoe. They were very entertaining to talk with, and made the 2 hour drive go by quickly. The three of us made the short 1km hike into Redbank Gorge, and took a swim in the refreshing water.

We hiked back out to the carpark and said goodbye, I hope I convinced at least one of them to do a long distance hike!
(Group pic)

I started down the connector trail at 3:30pm, and with sunset before 7pm, I kept moving.This trail has lots of infrastructure, there was even a campsite and water tank right near the start.

I setup my tent at this spot, since I will be hiking back thru here in a few hours, and I’d rather not carry all my heavy food if I don’t have to. The trail climbed up to a ridge, and all the terrain around here seems like a desert.

Up on the ridge, there were views in every direction.

I arrived to Mt. Sonder just over 2 hours later, and found a nice monument at the top. It is the 4th highest mountain in the Northern Territory.

I signed the visitors book inside the monument.

The view to the north of this spot is the actual summit of Mt Sonder, but the hiking trail ends here, as the terrain gets more technical.

The views to the south were spectacular.

I turned around and hiked back the same way I came, so I’m basically covering this 7km section twice. The beginning of the trail is Mt Sonder, but the only way to that peak is to hike the trail from the nearest access point, hence hiking it both directions. The views on the return trip were into the setting sun.

I returned to my campsite at 7:30pm, quickly made my dinner, and jumped into the tent. As I lay here writing this, it has started to lightly sprinkle rain, and there are some weird animal sounds outside. My first night camping in Australia!


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