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6
Moderate to Challenging

Traveller Rating

 

Activities
  • 5 days guided hiking
Accommodation
  • 4 nights camping
Meals
  • 4 Dinners
  • 5 Lunches
  • 4 Breakfasts

5 Days$2595AUD

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Flexible Cancellations
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COVID-19 safety measures
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Remote adventures
means social distancing comes naturally

Small groups only
Guided group sizes are strictly limited to a maximum of 12-16 people


Trip Code: LCT

Larapinta Challenger Trek Trip highlights


  • Challenge yourself to the toughest sections of the Larapinta trail
  • Experience wilderness camping under the stars
  • View a spectacular sunrise from the top of Mount Sonder
  • Enjoy 3 course evening meals after a big day of trekking
  • Learn about the trail with your expert guide
  • Trek with like minded, adventurous hikers

Why Book With Us

  • Unrivalled experience, first on the trail in 1995
  • Carry just a day pack on this fully supported trek
  • Fully supported camping based trek including 3 hearty meals per day prepared by our cooks

Challenge yourself to five of the toughest sections of the 223km Larapinta Trail on this adventurous guided trek for experienced hikers.

This camping based trek gets you close to the real action of the trail, where you are completely encapsulated by the rugged beauty of the Central Australian desert. This trek is designed to challenge both seasoned walkers and fitness enthusiast alike; asking you to dig deep to tackle the best 'gutsy' stages of the Larapinta. Carrying just a day-pack you will walk up to 30kms each day, passing over remote ridges and canyons, whilst winding your way along the West MacDonnell Ranges.

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

Activities:

Itinerary

We collect you from your Alice Springs accommodation around 7am (your guides will confirm the exact time at your pre-trip briefing) and transfer to Standley Chasm for the start of this magnificent journey. 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 ridge line over Reveal Saddle to Brinkley’s Bluff. From this high point, just over 1100m, we 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 campsite tonight is at the peaceful Birthday Waterhole.

Meals:  L,D

An early rise today for one of the most challenging and rewarding sections on the trail. We head into Spenser Gorge and Paisley Gorge then up to Windy Saddle and Razorback Ridge for expansive views. The trail continues down to Fringe Lily Creek and follows the Linear Valley. Our trek this afternoon takes us on a rough spinifex journey through this semi-arid region allowing breathtaking views of Hugh Gorge. A transfer will bring us to Hugh River and our camp spot for the night.

Meals:  B,L,D

This section of the trail offers breathtaking views as we 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 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

This morning we are up early for our sunrise hike and ascent of Mount Sonder – known as the pregnant lady by the local Aranda Aboriginal people. An early start allows us to climb in the cool morning air, before the sun heats up the landscape. To view the surrounding country from the top, knowing we have just climbed one of the highest peaks west of the Great Dividing Range, is an unforgettable moment of this trek – what a reward for the challenge we have undertaken over the last week! Having reached the high point – many consider it the highlight – of the Larapinta Trail, we will have brunch on Finke river, then we drive back to Alice Springs, concluding around 3pm.

Meals:  B,L


Map

Elevation

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


Inclusions

  • 4 breakfasts, 5 lunches and 4 dinners
  • Professional wilderness guide and support staff
  • 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

  • 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


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.


Departure dates


Notes

H
High Season
HS
Holiday Season
Note:
High season supplement applies from 1 June to 15 August, and for any trips that overlap with a public holiday.

Total Priceper person from

$2595AUD

Options & Supplements*
    *Prices listed are per person

Essential Information

Ready to book? Make sure you download and read the detailed Larapinta Challenger Trek 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.

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.

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.

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.

The Larapinta Challenger Trek 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). This is likely to weigh between 5-7kg.

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

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.

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.

Autumn (April and May) - Trekking conditions in autumn are pleasant, with temperatures averaging between 12-27C. Unlike the winter months when evenings become quite chilly, autumn evenings are cool and trekkers can comfortably pull their swag out from their tents and sleep outside under the blanket of stars. While the official wet season is over, you can still expect rain up until late May, as well as some cloud coverage during these months.

Winter (June to August) - During the daytime, temperatures hover at low-mid 20C with refreshingly cool breezes, however evenings temperatures can drop close to 0C, particularly in the valleys, and the frost that covers the ground can create a snow-like appearance. Many people are surprised to find out how cold it can get in the middle of winter, so trekkers need to make sure they are adequately prepared for cold nights with insulated sleeping bags, beanies, gloves and thermal underwear.

Spring (September) - Temperatures in September begin to rise leading to sporadic thunderstorms which creates the perfect environment for the landscape to come alive with wildflowers and lowline flowering shrubs. With cooler temperatures suitable for hiking, and clear skies for picture-perfect sunsets, it's no surprise that September is a popular season to trek the Larapinta Trail.

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


Larapinta Challenger Trek Trip reviews


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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