6
Moderate to Challenging

Traveller Rating

 

Activities
  • 9 days trekking
Accommodation
  • 8 nights camping
Meals
  • 8 Dinners
  • 9 Lunches
  • 8 Breakfasts

9 Days$4695AUD

Trip Code: LA9

Best of the Larapinta Trail Trip highlights


  • Walk the most spectacular and scenic sections of the Larapinta Trail
  • Climb Mount Sonder for a spectacular sunrise
  • Wilderness camping under the milky way
  • Swim in peaceful waterholes hidden deep within the West MacDonnell Ranges
  • Gain an understanding of the rich history of Australia's traditional owners and the Indigenous culture

Why Book With Us

  • Unrivalled experience, first on the trail in 1995
  • Vehicle supported camping throughout allows you to walk with just a day pack
  • We've handpicked the best sections so you can experience the highlights of the trail in less time

This fantastic route along the Larapinta Trail will take in the most spectacular highlights along the 223km track. The camping based trek will allow you more time to explore and soak in the beauty of the Central Australian desert as you traverse the most scenic stages of the Larapinta Trail.

Carrying just a day-pack, this walk will delight the wilderness lover and challenge even seasoned walkers. The Larapinta Trail offers one of the greatest desert treks on earth and is a bucket list experience for anyone who enjoys walking holidays. Following the spine of the West MacDonnell range, this extended walk along the Larapinta Trail will take in the sections along the trail that simply cannot be missed. It also provides a more achievable objective for walkers not yet ready for our 14 day Larapinta End to End trip. There will be some demanding stages as you pass over remote ridges and canyons, walking up to 30kms on some days.

The group camping gear is transported to each campsite by our professional support crew, freeing walkers to enjoy the diverse desert scenery, revel in the camaraderie of like-minded travellers and focus on achieving your goal.

Activities:

Itinerary

We pick you up from your Alice Springs accommodation between 6:30-7:00am and transfer to Standley Chasm. From Standley Chasm we follow the spectacular Bridle Trail, an old trading route used by the early settlers in the region. We head up to follow the ridgeline over Reveal Saddle to Brinkley’s Bluff. From this high point, just over 1100m, you are rewarded with superb views of the spine effect created by the West MacDonnell Ranges. After lunch we take on a steep descent and pass Mintbush Spring, named for the native plant that grows here: a beautifully mint-scented bush related to sage and lavender. Our welcoming camp tonight is at the peaceful Birthday Waterhole. *You will need to arrive in Alice Springs the day before your trip, ensuring that you arrive in time to attend the 3:30pm pre-trip briefing.

Meals:  L,D

We rise early today for one of the most challenging and rewarding sections on the trail. The track undulates over rough, rocky terrain and we are exposed (to the elements and to the magnificent views!) atop Windy Saddle and Razorback Ridge for the first part of the day. In the afternoon we drop down to Fringe Lily Creek, a nice place for a break as it offers some shade. After lunch the trail takes us on a rough spinifex journey through this semi-arid region allowing breathtaking views of Hugh Gorge. A transfer will bring us to camp, which will either be at Birthday Waterhole or up Hugh River.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we are walking through the vertical-spined dolomite country of the Bitter Springs formation. These 800 million year old rocks contain fossilised stromatolites, the cyanobacteria that were amongst the first life forms on this earth. It is worth taking time to admire the Ellery Creek Big Hole waterhole before we start trekking. The trail takes us through scattered woodlands and over a stile to a trig point, a good spot for lunch. Arriving mid afternoon at camp provides us with an opportunity to relax or wander at leisure around the hills of our campsite. We will camp at Serpentine Chalet, and a transfer will bring us to camp from Serpentine Gorge.

Meals:  B,L,D

This section of the trail offers breathtaking views as you walk along the high quartzite ridge lines that typify the West MacDonnell Ranges. We ascend to Counts Point where we are able to take in clear views of Central Australia’s western horizon, to Mt Zeil (1531m) the highest peak in the Northern Territory, and Mt Sonder which marks the end of the Larapinta Trail. We can even see the fascinating, huge comet crater of Gosse Bluff. A descent through mysterious old Mulga stands brings us back to our camp at Serpentine Chalet, where we enjoy another great evening meal together.

Meals:  B,L,D

An early start is required to fit in all of the highlights of this section of the trail. Today takes us into the rugged heart of this ancient landscape on a track only opened to the public as recently as 1997. The trail today is again challenging as we ascend to 1088 metres. And again, as always on the Larapinta, our epic climb is rewarded with expansive views. The view opens up across the Alice Valley to the giant, bulky mass of of Mt. Giles, one of the Northern Territory's highest peaks at 1389m.

Meals:  B,L,D

A shorter stage of the Larapinta Trail today, leading us into the head of the Finke River. The local Arrernte name for the river is 'Lhere Pinte', meaning salty river, which is where this trail gets its name from. The Finke is also estimated at being the oldest river in the world. In the afternoon we may visit Glen Helen Gorge.

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we walk out of our camp on the Finke River. The local Arrernte name for the river is ‘Lhere Pinte’, meaning salty river, which is where this trail gets its name from. The Finke is also estimated at being the oldest river in the world. Today we have views and trail dominated by the bulk of Mt Sonder, whose colours change magnificently throughout the day. We initially head north-west through spinifex before crossing Davenport Creek, a tributary of the Finke River. We climb over a low section of the range to Hilltop Saddle, arguably one of the best views of the mountain which will be tomorrows walk before descending into Rocky Bar Gap, where we will be met by your support vehicle to be transported a short distance back to camp on the Finke River.

Meals:  B,L,D

Your guides will have you up early this morning for our pre-dawn walk up Mount Sonder. Weaving your way up to the 1380m summit of this majestic mountain following only the glittering light of your head-torch, surrounded by deep and peaceful darkness, is a truly inspiring experience... and watching the sunrise from the top is unforgettable! From the peak we have expansive views across the entire Larapinta landscape we have explored over the last few days. We descend to Redbank Gorge and can enjoy a great brunch back at camp. There are options for this afternoon, including resting at camp or swimming at Finke River.

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we enjoy the best side walk of the entire Larapinta Trail: Ormiston Pound. The Pound offers an immense variety of extraordinary scenery and is the perfect walk to complete our journey. We explore the upper reaches of the Gorge where Rock Wallabies scamper about the imposing cliffs, and follow the track through scrub filled with native birds: Spinifex Pigeon, Budgerigar and Mistletoe Bird. Keep an eye out overhead for the majestic Wedge-tailed Eagle, Australia's largest raptor. This walk includes an unavoidable water crossing, through still, cold water. The water level varies throughout the season but can be up to 1m deep in the early season. The water crossing is about 20m across, and your guides will be there to assist. After lunch we board the bus and transfer to Alice Springs. Sitting back and watching the now familiar ancient desert landscape slide by the bus window gives most trekkers a sense of awe and satisfaction. Congratulations on all you have achieved over the last nine days! We will drop you to your accommodation at approximately 4-5pm. This evening your group may like to arrange a celebratory dinner together at one of Alice's great eateries.

Meals:  B,L


Map

Elevation

The map and elevation chart are for illustrative purposes only and meant to provide general guidelines.


Inclusions

  • 8 breakfasts, 9 lunches and 8 dinners
  • Professional wilderness guide and support staff
  • Tents and swags for sleeping (but not sleeping bags)
  • Catering & eating utensils
  • Off-road transport from Alice Springs
  • Vehicle supported camping throughout
  • All National Park and camping fees
  • Comprehensive group first aid kit
  • Emergency radio/sat phone
  • Mandatory pre-trip briefing held the day before the trip starts

  • Airfares
  • Accommodation in Alice Springs before and after the trip
  • Items of a personal nature, such as laundry and postage
  • Backpacks
  • Sleeping Bag hire (must be booked at least 14 days in advance)
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Travel insurance
  • Face masks and hand sanitiser

Accommodation


Trail Surface


Suitability

Moderate to Challenging

6

This trek involves 6-12 hours walking each day over rugged terrain with some steep ascents and descents. The trail conditions of the Larapinta Trail are rocky, rugged, hard surfaced and dry. While a number of sections of the trail wind through open plains, undulating areas and relatively flat country, overall, the trail is characterised by rocky, stony and mountainous terrain which can rise from 680m above sea level to more than 1,200m along some sections. This trek should not be underestimated as it can be tough and challenging. Suggested preparation: We recommend one hour of strenuous exercise 4 times per week (this can be cycling, jogging or walking) interspersed with relatively demanding bushwalks carrying a day pack. At least once a week, you should walk with a weighted day pack (5–7kg) for several hours for leg strengthening and aerobic fitness. The best way to train for an active holiday is to simulate the activity you will be undertaking on the trip. Train for uneven terrain by finding a hilly, rough narrow bush track, and go for a lovely long walk in your trekking boots. Be sure to include some multi day walks in your training.


Departure dates


Notes

H
High Season
HS
Holiday Season
Note:
High season supplement applies from 15 May to 15 August, and for any trips that overlap with a public holiday.

Priceper person from

$4695AUD

Options & Supplements*
  • Sleeping Bag HireAUD$30
*Prices listed are per person

Essential Information

Ready to book? Make sure you download and read the detailed Best of the Larapinta Trail trip notes which contains all the essential information you need to know before booking. Once you’ve booked, we will supply you with a Pre-Departure document which contains a detailed gear list and other important information to help you prepare for your adventure ahead.


Frequently Asked Questions

A majority of the terrain on the Larapinta Trail is rough and rocky, particularly on high ground, in gorges, creek and river beds. The ground is often distorted with embedded or loose rock depending on the trail variations.

The trail conditions of the Larapinta Trail are rocky, rugged, hard surfaced and dry. While a number of sections of the trail wind through open plains, undulating areas and relatively flat country, overall, the trail is characterised by rocky, stony and mountainous terrain which can rise from 680m above sea level to more than 1,200m along some sections.

Yes. Generally, groups will have the opportunity to shower at Standley Chasm, Glen Helen Homestead and Ormiston Gorge. A small fee may be applicable at some campground showers.

You will need an excellent level of fitness for this trek on the Larapinta. You need to be capable and prepared for long, fast paced walks. Previous experience on multi day walks is highly recommended. If you have any questions about your suitability please give us a call and speak with one of our staff members. We are more than happy to discuss additional information about what you can expect.

Our Larapinta Trail trekking season runs from April to September, when trekking conditions are most favourable. Winter is arguably the best time to experience the Larapinta Trail, as it offers prime trekking conditions, more stable temperatures and endlessly blue days.

In the Centre, the four traditional seasons are more distinct, and temperatures are more extreme than in most other parts of Australia. Trekking in winter (May to August) is generally pleasant with light winds, and daytime temperatures averaging 15-25C or 60-80F. However, winter nights often plummet below freezing and there are frequent frosts; please make sure that you prepare for the cold evenings on winter treks.

The shoulder seasons of April and September tend to bring higher daytime temperatures with daytime temperatures averaging 25-35C or 75-95F. Nights are typically mild hovering around 10-15C or 50-60F. Higher daytime temperatures can occasionally occur necessitating adjustments to itineraries. This may entail a reduction in walking activities and an increase in more leisurely pursuits such as swimming.

While rainfall is infrequent along the Larapinta Trail, it remains essential to be equipped for any weather scenario. The region is susceptible to unpredictable spells of hot or cold weather at random intervals. Rest assured, our facilities are well-equipped to accommodate both extremes, ensuring an enjoyable experience amidst the diverse conditions of Outback Australia. However, in light of this variability, we hope to stress to you the importance of following our suggested packing list, checking local weather updates prior to departure and packing appropriately for a more informed and enjoyable journey.

You must arrive in Alice Springs the day before your trek begins. The trip commences with a COMPULSORY pre-departure briefing in the afternoon on the day before departure. It is ESSENTIAL that you make your travel arrangements to enable you to attend this briefing.

The Best of the Larapinta Trail is fully vehicle supported. You will carry just a day pack containing the items you need during the day (including water, sun hat, snacks, lunch, camera, waterproof and warm layers, etc). This is likely to weigh between 5-7kg.

Any excess luggage can be stored at your pre/post tour accommodation in Alice Springs.

Yes. The terrain on this trek is rugged, and the Quartzite rocks are famous for shredding even the most trusted old pair of hiking boots. For your comfort, you must have high supported boots with a heavy duty grip. There are lots of rocky, uneven and unstable sections, so ankle support will be beneficial.

Hiking poles can definitely assist you with going up and down the inclines and for stability. If you have not used them previously, we recommend that you do some training with them before you head out on the hike.

It is possible to charge batteries using an inverter run off the vehicle battery. However this can be slow and is limited to times when the vehicle is driving, so we advise carrying extra sets of batteries for your cameras and/or portable chargers.

Not frequently. Sporadic reception can be received depending on your carrier, but generally only for the first day and when on top of Mt Sonder.

No. A water tank will be carried in the support vehicles and the guides will provide you with drinking water each day.


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Trek the Larapinta Trail - Australia's Most Iconic Walk

Positive Impact Travel

By joining this trip you are directly supporting positive impact projects in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

We’ve offset the carbon emitted by this trip by purchasing credits that support important projects that address the UN’s seventeen SDGs, like reducing poverty, affordable and clean energy, reducing hunger, clean water and climate action.

Proceeds from this adventure purchase carbon credits through the world’s largest and most awarded carbon project developer, South Pole, which are invested into projects accelerating the transition to renewable energy sources in developing countries.

Supported projects are based on internationally recognised standards and are third-party audited. They entail a series of positive impacts on the ground, which benefit local communities and ecosystems, that are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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