Rising like an old man monolith at the far reach of the West MacDonnell Ranges, the grand Mount Sonder peaks at 380 metres to mark the end, and main lookout, of the Larapinta Trail. The vast and beautiful desert panorama that greats you at the summit is ample reward for the trail’s most difficult leg: out to the horizon in all directions the majestic landscape stretches, its patterns and folds of humbling age and beauty. Purple hills and welts of rock scar the mulga scrub and plains, and, following the braided lines of stream beds, white-trunked ghost gums and river reds mark the possible course of water. Salt lakes, too, lie before you and, when seen from on high, appear like the swirls of a distant, gaseous plane. If there is rain anywhere in the thousands of square kilometres before you, it will manifest as a soft, water colour wash gently caressing the land. It’s beautiful. There are such overwhelming sights, both immense and microscopic, within Australia’s interior expanse, and Mount Sonder is a fine platform from which to see some of them and appreciate the magnificence of a land only rivaled by the brilliance of the big blue sky.