Landscape Aesthetics – West MacDonnell Ranges

The Larapinta Trail wanders through the West MacDonnell Ranges in Central Australia where the desert colours, spectacular landforms, and surprise features add scenic delights to the natural wilderness.

What is it that makes this area one of Australia’s scenic treasures?

I will first suggest the Majesty of the landscape. Those element of sheer size like the deep slot canyon cut through the range known as Stanley Chasm,  or the specatular broad sweep of Ormiston Pound, or the view over the Finke River catchment from the trail up Mt. Sonder.











The second quality is Atmosphere or more correctly the ambience of a place. This is how it fells homely or inviting — creating a sense that says, ‘Look at Me’, aren’t I beautiful, inviting, here to be enjoyed.



A third quality that makes landscape memorable is the Serendipity experience when you come across a feature that catches you by surprise, like a waterhole in a desert, rare cycads in a remote gorge, or a strange rib of ancient rock advancing across the spinifex adorned hills with the clouds above echoing the same shapes. Such delights are often the ones you remember the most.















And finally, putting it all together, is the Artistic Quality, captured in the framing of the landscape in the lens, where you trap  those delights of light and colour, contrast and form, perhaps enhanced with the reflection in a river pool, or the soft mood of the later afternoon.









You should go to the Larapinta, West MacDonnells, while you can. It was on my ‘bucket list’ and I managed to walk a lot of the trails while the asthma was taking my breath away and the Prostate Cancer was beginning to attack my bones. Such a joy!













About rpsimson1936

Retired geography and outdoor education teacher who loves orienteering and writes novels.
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