4 things you can expect when hiking the Larapinta Trail

written by Intrepid Travel March 18, 2023
Travellers hiking in single file through the bush as part of the Larapinta Trail

A challenge? Absolutely. But is it worth it? You bet.

Hiking the full 223km of the Larapinta Trail is no joke, and while it’s one of Australia’s most iconic treks, it’s also mentally and physically demanding. Now, we’re not trying to scare you off two sentences in but for those avid hikers who don’t fancy the thought of spending 13-15 days on their feet, our five-day small group tour allows you to traverse the ancient landscapes of the Aussie Outback in a third of the time.

Bypassing the muscle fatigue and blisters, you’ll marvel at the stunning scenery, discover rich cultural connections and learn more about the Northern Territory’s natural wonders than you ever thought possible. But what can you actually expect when hiking (part of) the Larapinta Trail? We’ve put this guide together so we can take a closer look:

1. A spiritual connection to Australia’s First Nation’s Culture

The Larapinta Trail passes through the traditional lands of the Arrernte people and while hiking the trail, you’ll be given the opportunity to learn about their culture and history, a past full of sacred sites and significant landmarks that have been carefully preserved for centuries.

It’s impossible to hike through the Outback and not feel a deep connection to the land you walk on but remember with every step you take, you’ll be walking in the footsteps of the area’s ancestors. So, use your time walking the trail to take in your breathtaking surroundings and appreciate the region and its importance to the First Nation’s people who were here first.

2. Spectacular views and ancient landscapes

The peaceful and stark landscape of the Australian desert at sunset

Let’s get one thing sorted right now; you definitely won’t get bored of the natural beauty along the Larapinta Trail. Boasting rugged ridges that look out over empty deserts and narrow gorges perfect for finding sanctuary, the scenery you’ll marvel at on your 5-day adventure will forever be etched in your mind. From natural watering holes for cooling off in to standing in the middle of desert terrain with nothing but the landscape’s emptiness, prepare to be constantly amazed.  

But that’s not all. The Larapinta trail passes through geological wonder after geological wonder (most of which are millions of years old) and they won’t hesitate to blow your mind if you stare at them for longer than 2 seconds (which you will). With a landscape that’s bursting with quartzite ridges – eroded over time to create fascinating shapes and patterns – and other interesting rock formations that have been shaped by the elements, there’s something to take photos of around every corner.

3. Fluctuating temperatures

While the Northern Territory is known for its sweat-producing weather, temperatures can vary dramatically depending on the time of year you’re travelling – seesawing between boiling hot during the day and freezing cold at night. To be prepared for all weather extremes, make sure to pack the appropriate clothing (think pieces you can layer) and other SunSmart items such as sunscreen, wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses so you’re safe and comfortable during your hiking adventure.  

4. It’s no walk in the park

A few travellers hiking in single file along the Larapinta Trail under a blue sky

While our 5-day trip doesn’t cover the full 223km of the Larapinta Trail (rather a modest 70km in comparison), it’s still a lot of ground to cover over somewhat tricky terrain so you need to be in the best physical shape possible. For this reason, we recommend increasing your physical activity for the few months before your departure date so that your fitness and endurance are both excellent when it’s time to start hiking. Pro tip: we’d start those calf raises, glute bridges and hamstring curls now if we were you.


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