7
Challenging

Traveller Rating

 

Activities
  • 14 days self guided trek
Accommodation
  • 13 nights camping
Meals
  • 13 Dinners
  • 13 Lunches
  • 13 Breakfasts

14 Days$2195AUD

Trip Code: LSG

Larapinta Trail Trip highlights


  • Trek the famous Larapinta Trail in its epic entirety!
  • Immerse yourself in the spectacular Tjoritja National Park
  • Explore the West MacDonnell Ranges at your own pace
  • Enjoy the complete flexibility self guiding provides
  • Wilderness camping in the Australian Outback
  • An abundance of unique wildlife and flora at every step
  • Summit the majestic Mt Sonder (1380m)
  • One of the best long-distance arid-zone walks

Why Book With Us

  • Choose the unparalleled expertise of Australia's leading tourism provider with nearly 50 years of experience, backed by countless client testimonials and prestigious awards.
  • All logistics taken care of so you can relax and enjoy the track
  • Quality, lightweight trekking meals included
  • Briefing and advice from our experienced guides before your trip

For experienced walkers taking on the challenge of the entire 223km length of the Larapinta Trail, following the spine of the West MacDonnell range, should be high on the bucket list!

Walking self guided and at your own pace is one of the best ways to truly appreciate the immensely diverse and unique landscapes, flora and fauna of this trek. The trail takes you through narrow canyons, stunning gorges and forests of mulga and mallee, over high ridgelines and around idyllic waterholes, spending each night under the expansive star-filled Outback sky. During this complete traverse of the inspiring Larapinta you will be carrying your own full pack, up to 25kg in weight. There are challenging stages as you pass over remote ridges and canyons, walking up to 35kms on some days. The feeling of achievement that will come over you as you view your path from the top of Mount Sonder on day 14, the last section of the trail, is a memory to cherish for a lifetime.

On this 14 day self guided trek you'll be provided with the essential equipment for experiencing Outback Australia by foot. We'll set you up with comprehensive maps, quality lightweight trekking food, cooking utensils and stove as well as tent and sleeping gear, emergency communications, and invaluable advice from our experienced guides prior to your departure. World Expeditions are pioneers of this iconic trek and the first to offer self guided Larapinta trips, and we are proud to support you on your independent journey by providing the best equipment and incomparable local knowledge.

A self guided walk along the Larapinta is suited to experienced walkers comfortable with their sense of direction and map reading, ability to carry a full pack, and used to being independent in the outdoors. If you are short on time but still want a challenging trek, our 6 day Larapinta Self Guided trip takes in the best sections of the Larapinta Trail.

Activities:

Itinerary

Your walking begins at the Alice Springs Telegraph Station which is the official start of the Larapinta Trail. The historical stone buildings here date back to 1872 and housed the first Europeans to live in Central Australia. It's worth having a look around the Station before heading off on your walk. Initially the trail from here winds among boulders of Alice Springs Granite, the highest of which offers fine views of the town and Mt Gillen. The trail passes through Witchetty Bush and Mulga scrub, over exposed hills and shady woodlands before you arrive for lunch at Wallaby Gap. From Wallaby Gap, you follow the trail west through magnificent, shady Bloodwoods and tall Ironwoods, the dominant trees on this narrow alluvial flat. You may catch sight of a shy Echidna or Black-footed Rock Wallaby as you approach Simpson's Gap and your campsite. Difficulty rating: Hard | Walking time: 9 hours *You will need to arrive in Alice Springs the day before your trip, ensuring that you arrive in time to attend the 3:00pm pre-trip briefing.

Meals:  L,D

From Simpson's Gap you walk through pleasant grassy flats and low, rocky hills bearing the scars of early cattle grazing, evidence of the fragility of this arid environment. Graceful Ghost Gums are also to be seen on this section, coated in a white powder with powerful antiseptic properties used by Aborigines. One of the most peaceful parts of the trail is Spring Gap. You can observe a wide variety of plant life and watch for birds at the waterhole. Listen for the excited babble of the Grey-crowned Babbler, a social bird that bounds through the leaf litter searching for food. From the waterhole you will walk on through ever changing countryside to your idyllic camp at Jay Creek. Difficulty grading: Hard | Walking time: 9 hours

Meals:  B,L,D

On leaving Jay Creek you are on sacred ground, where the Aboriginal custodians ask that you walk only in the dry creek bed. Today's walk is nothing short of spectacular. You continue on through varied terrain dotted with Mulga and Witchetty Bush to Tangentyere Junction. Here the track diverges to follow the ridgeline above the Finke River. A good place to stop for lunch is Millers Flat. From the Flat you climb through rocky terrain before descending from the north into the deep, red rock of Standley Chasm. Your camp for the night is at Standley Chasm. There is a kiosk here and showers are available. Difficulty grading: Hard | Walking time: 6-7 hours

Meals:  B,L,D

From Standley Chasm you follow the spectacular Bridle Trail, an old trading route used by the early settlers in the region. You head up to follow the ridge line 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 you 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. Your welcoming campsite tonight is at the peaceful Birthday Waterhole. There is an optional extra 1km walk to Birthday Waterhole from the trail junction. Difficulty rating: Very Hard | Walking time: 8 hours

Meals:  B,L,D

You should rise early today for one of the most challenging and rewarding sections on the trail. The track undulates vigorously over rough, rocky terrain and you 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 you will drop down to Fringe Lily Creek, a nice stop for lunch as it offers some shade. After lunch the trail takes you on a rough spinifex journey through this semi-arid region allowing breathtaking views of Hugh Gorge, where you will camp overnight. Difficulty rating: Very Hard | Walking time: 8-9 hours

Meals:  B,L,D

The walk today continues along the south side of the West MacDonnell ranges whose soaring presence dominates your views as you move through lower level woodlands and spinifex. On today's walk you could chance upon Painted Firetails and a variety of different bird species. Keep your eye out especially for the beautiful Spinifex Pigeon which relies on the tough spinifex plant for camouflage and food – you'll see them strutting amongst the plants with their tall, elegant crest bobbing along with their every step. Your overnight camp is at Rocky Gully Campsite. Difficulty grading: Medium | Walking time: 5-6 hours

Meals:  B,L,D

The Larapinta Trail section between Rocky Gully Campsite and Ellery Creek North immerses hikers in the captivating beauty of Australia's Red Centre. Traversing ochre-colored terrain beneath the striking West MacDonnell Ranges, the trail unfolds a mesmerizing journey. Rocky Gully Campsite provides a peaceful pause amid eucalypt groves, while the path to Ellery Creek North reveals stunning views back to Brinkley Bluff. The interplay of light and shadow on ancient rocks adds a breathtaking dimension to this compact yet spectacular stretch of the Larapinta Trail. Difficulty grading: Medium | Walking time: 4-5.5 hours

Meals:  B,L,D

The stretch of the Larapinta Trail from Ellery Creek North to Serpentine Gorge is a captivating odyssey through the heart of the Australian Outback. As the trail winds through the iconic West MacDonnell Ranges, hikers are treated to panoramic views of the rugged landscape, characterised by ancient rock formations and the vibrant hues of the arid terrain. Ellery Creek North serves as a starting point, offering a glimpse of the majestic Ellery Creek Big Hole. Continuing the journey, the trail unveils the enchanting Serpentine Gorge, where sinuous watercourses cut through the rugged rocks. The contrast of the cool, shaded gorge against the sunlit expanse creates a visual spectacle, making this segment a captivating exploration of the Red Centre's natural wonders. Difficulty grading: Medium | Walking time: 5-6 hours

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. You ascend to Counts Point where you 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. You can even see the fascinating, huge comet crater of Gosse Bluff. You descend through mysterious old Mulga stands to camp overnight at Serpentine Chalet. Difficulty rating: Hard | Walking time: 7 hours

Meals:  B,L,D

An early start is required to fit in all of the highlights of this section of the trail. Today takes you 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 you ascend to 1088 metres. And again, as always on the Larapinta, your 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. On arrival at Ormiston Gorge you will find many lovely campsites, a kiosk and showers. If you go for a quiet walk at dusk you may be lucky enough to see the shy dingo that sometimes roams along the river bank near camp. Difficulty rating: Very Hard | Walking time: 10-13 hours

Meals:  B,L,D

This is a shorter and more gentle section of the Larapinta Trail which leads you into the head of the Finke River. The local indigenous Arrernte name for the Finke River has given the trail its name: Lhere Pinte (Larapinta) meaning salty river. If you feel like a further walk after setting up camp at the Finke River some walkers like to do a side-trip (without packs) to Glen Helen – perfect for an afternoon swim before heading back to your camp for dinner and another cosy night in your tent. Difficulty rating: Medium | Walking time: 4 hours

Meals:  B,L,D

This section has views dominated by the impressive bulk of Mount Sonder. The colours of this magnificent mountain change dramatically throughout the day. You initially head northwest through a sea of spinifex before crossing Davenport Creek, a tributary of the Finke River. Your walk climbs over a low section of the range and descends into Rocky Bar Gap and your overnight camp. Difficulty rating: Hard | Walking time: 5-6 hours

Meals:  B,L,D

Hikers traverse an ancient landscape characterised by rugged terrain and the iconic West MacDonnell Ranges looming in the distance. Rocky Bar Gap introduces a dramatic interplay of light and shadow on weathered rocks, creating an otherworldly atmosphere. As the trail progresses, the scenery evolves, leading to the awe-inspiring Redbank Gorge. Here, the gorge showcases towering red cliffs, framing a serene waterhole that reflects the vibrant hues of the surrounding landscape. The trail is a sensory experience, with the scent of native flora lingering in the air and the sound of wind whispering through the eucalypts. You will pass beaneath the flanks of Mount Sonder, walking through dense Mulga and Mallee woodland until you reach the beautiful Redbank Creek and your overnight camp. Difficulty rating: Medium | Walking time: 4 hours

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning you will be up early for your sunrise ascent of Mount Sonder. By starting your walk of this section early you can complete the climb in the cool morning air, before the sun heats up the land. Mount Sonder is one of the highest peaks west of the Great Dividing Range and the views from the top are incomparable; standing on the summit and taking in the landscape you have traversed aver the last fourteen days will be a highlight of your Larapinta Trail journey. On completion of this section you will be picked up at Redbank Gorge Carpark at 10.30am and transferred to Alice Springs where your tour will conclude. We hope you celebrate with long shower, afternoon nap, clean clothes and a delicious lunch and dinner at one of Alice Spring's great eateries... Congratulations on completing your Larapinta adventure! Difficulty rating: Hard | Walking time: 6 hours

Meals:  B


Map

Elevation

The map and elevation chart are for illustrative purposes only and meant to provide general guidelines.
On self guided trips, actual route information provided before departure will be more detailed.


Inclusions

  • Breakfasts, lunches, dinners, hot drinks
  • Light weight trekking food supplied
  • Camp stove and fuel
  • Cooking and eating utensils
  • Sleeping mat, tent (twin share), hiking pack, sleeping bag
  • Off-road transport to/from Alice Springs to start/finish of your trek
  • All National Park and camping fees
  • Emergency communication device
  • Complete set of Larapinta Trail maps and route descriptions
  • 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
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Travel insurance
  • Snacks
  • Breakfast on the first day, lunch and dinner on the last day
  • Face masks and hand sanitiser

Accommodation


Trail Surface


Suitability

Challenging

7

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. You will need a good level of fitness and must be in good health. You will be carrying a full pack of around 15-25kg and should be prepared for potential variable weather conditions. You will also need to be comfortable with map reading and self guiding. 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. Multi day walks while carrying a full weight pack (15-25kg) should be considered essential in your training preparation. Please contact our staff if you have any queries about your suitability for this trip.


Departure dates


Notes

HS
Holiday Season
DN1
Holiday season supplement applies for any trips that overlap with a public holiday.
DN2
This trip is not suitable for solo travellers. Please contact our team for alternative tour suggestions.

Priceper person from

$2195AUD

Options & Supplements*
    *Prices listed are per person

Essential Information

Ready to book? Make sure you download and read the detailed Larapinta 14 Day Self Guided 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 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.

You will need to carry all of your gear for this trek in a 70-80L pack. Depending on the amount of personal gear you bring, your pack will weigh approximately 15kg – 25kg. Food drops are located at Standley Chasm, Serpentine Gorge and Ormiston Gorge for your convenience (if applicable to the sections of trek you choose to walk).

If you are an experienced walker and prefer the solitude of a self-guided trek, we offer trail head transfers. Please note that the trail is truly remote, with minimal mobile phone coverage. This option should only be considered by well-resourced trekkers with significant wilderness experience.

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

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 not possible to charge your devices. 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. You will be provided with an emergency communication device in case of emergency.

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.

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 carry and drink plenty of water along the Larapinta Trail. We recommend you have capacity to carry up to 5L per day. Consider all the following to work out how much water to carry: weather conditions, distance to be walked, the effort you will put in, and your fitness. Take enough water for cooking and emergencies. Drink water regularly, don't wait until you are thirsty as this is one of the early signs of dehydration. Even if walking in mild conditions, you will still need to drink water regularly.

The availability of surface water depends on large rainfall events that are rare and unpredictable in Central Australia. The quantity and quality of temporary surface water is unreliable. You should use the water supplied at trailheads. If you urgently need water and can't access it from a tank, you can drink surface water. However, you should treat it first by boiling or filtering if possible. Water tanks are monitored and refilled by rangers according to the season and number of walkers on the trail. They are filled up well before they empty. It is helpful if you record water supply levels at trailhead logbooks. You should urgently report any leaks, low tank levels or other concerns to rangers at Simpsons Gap or Ormiston Gorge. You should boil the water, use sterilising tablets or a filter as the quality of the water can't be guaranteed. Water in these tanks is transported by the rangers over rough 4WD tracks in small loads. The water is for drinking and cooking only. Do not use it to wash yourself or your clothes.


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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.