|Typical roadside panorama of the West MacDonnells from Larapinta Drive, en route to Ormiston.|
|Taken just after the start of the walk, looking back at the dry bed of Ormiston Creek. |
The grass in the foreground is spinifex, Triodia spp., which dominates much of arid Australia.
Below is typical of the hillsides for the first part of the walk
|Curry Wattle Acacia spondylophylla (above) really smells wonderfully of curry spices;|
it and Red Wattle A. monticola (below) thrive on the exposed rocky slopes.
|Native Cotton Gossypium australe family Malvaceae; a true cotton.|
|Senna artemisioides; this is an extraordinarily variable species, with at least nine named subspecies in central Australia|
all with entirely different foliage and many of them co-existing and forming hybrids...
|Grey-headed Honeyeater Lichenostomus keartlandion Corkwood Hakea lorea.|
|Panther Skink Ctenotus pantherinus.This robust skink was hunting insects while staying close to the safety of the spinifex clump.|
|Ormiston Pound, ringed by the rugged folded sandstone hills of the West MacDonnells, above and below.|
|The view back to lovely Mount Sonder, made famous by sublime Arrernte artist Albert Namatjira,|
is pretty splendid too.
|Sharp-capped Mallee Eucalyptus oxymitra in spinifex grassland.|
'Mallee' is a term for multi-stemmed shrub-form eucalypts found in drier low soil nutrient situations.
|Ormiston Gorge; the trees in the creek bed are River Red Gums Eucalyptus camaldulensis,which have managed to establish themselves despite infrequent but severe floods.|
|Determined River Red Gum seedlings.|
|I'm no geologist, but I find these exquisite.|
|Variable Daisy Brachycome ciliaris.|
|Ghost Gum Eucalyptus aparrerinja.|
These are wonderful trees at any time; this one is truly extraordinary and I have not tilted the camera!
|Towards the end of the gorge pools appear, deep and cold.|
If you're lucky you'll be able to walk around them - mostly you can.
|Little Pied Cormorant Microcarbo melanoleucos.|
One of the world's smallest cormorants, found anywhere in inland Australia.
|Scarlet Percher Diplacodus haematodus; I am always delighted to find dragonflies in the far inland|
(and indeed anywhere!).
|Blue Skimmer Orthetrum caledonicum|