Map of Trek the Larapinta Trail including Australia

Tackle the rugged landscape of one of Australia’s greatest multi-day walks

If you’re looking to travel to the heart of the Australian Outback, then the West MacDonnell National Park is your place. And there’s no better way to experience and immerse yourself in this unforgettable landscape than the Larapinta Trail. Hike along the red rock slopes of the West Macs and enjoy the time to truly connect to Country and appreciate the importance of this place to the local people over thousands of years. Hike to shadowed gorges, snaking riverbanks, open plains and towering mountains filled with a rich diversity of animals and plants, taking in sights like Ormiston Gorge and a rewarding ascent of Mt Sonder. One of the world’s best desert treks is waiting for you.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Alice Springs, Australia
Finish
Alice Springs, Australia
Destination
Australia
Style
Basix
Theme
Walking & Trekking
Code
POXL
Physical rating
Ages
Min 16
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why you'll love this trip

  • Experience the challenges and rewards of an active Australian adventure, with days of hiking and wild swimming, and nights around the campsite fire sharing Outback yarns.

  • Explore the majestic Ormiston Gorge, the most spectacular chasm in the West MacDonnell Ranges, and maybe cool off in the year-round waterhole.

  • Enjoy the unique experience of camping out overnight along the trail at Redbank Gorge, making the most of the remoteness and the star-filled desert skies.

  • Cap your Larapinta Trail experience with a summit of Mt Sonder, the highest point in the West Macs, and the perfect place to look over the landscape and back at what you’ve achieved.

Is this trip right for you?

  • You’re in for a challenging walking trip and an excellent level of fitness is essential. You must be prepared to trek for multiple hours and up to 20km a day with little shade, climbing peaks and ridges over uneven and rocky terrain with a daypack carrying a minimum personal supply of 3 litres of water. The total distance walked on this trip exceeds 70km.

  • When travelling in Central Australia temperatures can range from very high in the day, to below freezing at night. Please ensure you pack appropriate clothing.

  • Accommodation for this trip is a mix of basic permanent tented camps and swag camping under the stars, including bedrolls containing mattress, pillow and sleeping bag.

Itinerary

Meet your group and leader this morning at our start point location in Alice Springs (Mpartnwe), then head out to stretch your legs on section 1 of the Larapinta Trail. You begin your walk from the official start of the trail at the historic Alice Springs Telegraph Station. The Station was founded in 1871 and used for relaying messages between Darwin and Adelaide. Follow the route of the old telegraph line through the rocky, rolling country that spreads out before you, winding along a path that makes its way over creeks and gullies. Walk along the scenic spine of the Euro Ridge and take in the excellent views of the surrounding Alice Valley, with the gnarled peaks of the West MacDonnell Ranges (Tjoritja) out in the distance. Follow the trail downhill to Wallaby Gap, home to elusive black-footed rock-wallabies and a great place for birdwatching.
Meals Included
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
It’s very important that you are ready at 7am in the hostel lobby for collection as you will head out onto the trail right away this morning. See the joining point instructions in the Essential Trip Information for more details. Walking Distance: Larapinta Trail section 1, approximately 14km - 6 hours. Please note that due to the compounding economic effects of Covid-19, supply shortages (due to the recent floods) and issues with staffing (due to government mandated ‘close contact’ isolation requirements) the trip's itinerary may be subject to changes at short notice, particularly in regards to the accommodation. Camping locations and availability of facilities may vary depending on your departure date. Your leader will advise on day 1.
Begin early today on section 10 of the Larapinta Trail. Weave your way from the Finke River to Ormiston Gorge through rolling limestone hills filled with unique plant life. The Finke is one of the oldest river systems in the world, and the local Arrernte name for this waterway gives the whole trail its name – Lhere Pinte, which means ‘salty river’. Today’s hike finishes at the beautiful Ormiston Pound, home to the most impressive gorge in the whole West MacDonnell region. There’s a near-permanent waterhole shaded by ghost gums and towering red rock walls that is more than welcoming to any walker.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Walking Distance: Larapinta Trail section 10, approximately 13.5km - 6 hours
The next two days are the most challenging but also rewarding section of your Larapinta hike. Start today with the first part of section 11 of the track. Views are dominated by Mt Sonder (Rwetyepme), the highest point in the West MacDonnell Ranges. Cross the Davenport River then make the climb up to Hilltop Lookout, an ascent that’s rewarded with panoramic views of the peak and its surroundings. Descend through mulga woodland and past distinctive knobbly black rock to shady Rocky Bar Gap.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Walking Distance: Larapinta Trail section 11 part 1, approximately 18.5km – 7.5 hours
Start today by transferring back to Rocky Bar Gap where you finished your hike yesterday, and tackle part 2 of section 11. The track meanders along the southern flank of Mt Sonder to Redbank Creek. It’s an undulating hike across spinifex-covered hills, making your way through the foothills of the hulking mountain looming to your right. Tonight’s overnight stay will be at a campsite in Redbank Gorge, in the shadow of the mountain itself, where you will spend the night under the stars in a swag, an experience not to be missed.
Accommodation
  • Swag Camping (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Walking Distance: Larapinta Trail section 11 part 2, approximately 11km – 5 hours. Please note that tonight you will be swag camping under the stars. Facilities at the camp site are basic and there are no showers.
Hopefully, you got an early night yesterday as today you’ll be up with the possums for an early start to climb to the summit of the iconic Mt Sonder, constituting the final section (section 12) of the Larapinta Trail. The early start allows you to climb in the cool morning air before the sun begins to beat down. Don't forget your head torch. The mountain is known traditionally as Rwetyepme – in local Arrernte culture she's portrayed as a pregnant woman forever doomed to lay on her back and watch the sky. It’s not an easy climb, but the journey to the peak is worth the sweeping views in all directions of Central Australia, taking in the trails you’ve covered over the past few days, the Tanami Desert in the north, meteor craters in the south, and the NT’s highest mountain in the west. It’s the perfect way to cap off the trip. Afterward, you’ll make your return to Alice Springs for an arrival in the late afternoon, at which time the trip comes to an end. Perhaps celebrate your journey with a farewell dinner.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
Walking Distance: Larapinta Trail, section 12, approximately 14km - 7 hours - 750m elevation gain. Please note that arrival into Alice Springs will be in the late afternoon. Please consider this when booking onward travel.

Meals

4 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 4 dinners

Transport

Private vehicle, walking

Accommodation

Permanent tented camps & Swag camping (4 nights)

Dates & availability

Trip departures are unavailable.

There are currently no scheduled departures on our Trek the Larapinta Trail trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

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Important notes

Travellers on Intrepid trips are required to produce proof of full vaccination against COVID-19. Read details here.

ITINERARY CHANGES
Please note that due to the compounding economic effects of Covid-19, supply shortages (due to the recent floods) and issues with staffing (due to government mandated ‘close contact’ isolation requirements) the trip's itinerary may be subject to changes at short notice, particularly in regards to the accommodation. Camping locations and availability of facilities may vary depending on your departure date. Your leader will advise on day 1.

DIFFICULTY LEVEL
You’re in for a challenging walking trip and an excellent level of fitness is essential. You must be prepared to trek for multiple hours and up to 20km a day with little shade, climbing peaks and ridges over uneven and rocky terrain with a daypack carrying a minimum personal supply of 3 litres of water. The total distance walked on this trip exceeds 70km.

START & END TIMES
This trip starts at 7am at Alice Springs YHA with a pick up, and finishes back in Alice Springs in the late afternoon of day 5. Please take this into consideration when booking arrival and onward travel.

ACCOMMODATION
Accommodation for this trip is a mix of basic permanent tented camps and swag camping under the stars, including bedrolls containing mattress, pillow and sleeping bag.

ALCOHOL
It is prohibited to take alcohol on this trip as the National Park is a dry zone.

SELF ASSESSMENT FORM
A Passenger Self Assessment Form is required for this trip. Your booking agent will provide you with this form when you book to fill out before arrival.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View Essential Trip Information

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