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 Tjoritja-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 MacDonnell Ranges, enjoy the time to truly connect to Country and appreciate the importance of this place to the traditional custodians 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.


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 campfire 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 Macdonnell Ranges, 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. We walk different sections of the Larapinta Trail each day, rather than the entire trail from start to finish.

  • 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, including sleepwear. Between June and August, when nighttime temperatures can drop below zero, we highly recommend bringing your own sleeping bag suitable to the conditions for a more comfortable sleep.

  • 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. Your leader will advise on the campsites for each night on Day 1 of your trip.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 14 May 2022 to 31 Mar 2023.
View the 2023 itinerary
Meet your group and leader at 7 am 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, stopping for lunch on the way. Follow the trail downhill to Wallaby Gap, home to elusive black-footed rock-wallabies and a great place for birdwatching. Arrive at your first campsite of the trip, and enjoy dinner today while planning for another great day of walking tomorrow.
Accommodation
  • Campsite (1 night)
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 straight away this morning and are not able to wait for late arrivals.

Today's walking distance is approximately 14km/6 hours. It is a Grade 4 walk (moderate to difficult) with some steep ascents.
Begin early today with a walk 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 for a chance for a dip and freshen up. Back at camp, rest up and revive for some very challenging days ahead.
Accommodation
  • Campsite (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Today's walking distance is approximately 13.5km/6 hours. The Section 10 track is Grade 3 (moderate) with some steep ascents.
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. You'll continue on Section 11 tomorrow after a night back at camp tonight.
Accommodation
  • Campsite (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Today's walking distance is approximately 18.5km/7.5 hours and is a Grade 4 (moderate to difficult) track.
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. Camp out under the stars again tonight nearby, but bed down as early as you can as you'll be up well before dawn to summit Mt Sonder tomorrow.
Accommodation
  • Campsite (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Today's walking distance is approximately 11km/5 hours. It is a Grade 4 (moderate to difficult) track.
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 part, 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, but as this will be in the dark a head torch is essential. 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. After decending back to camp and a well earned breakfast, you’ll return to Alice Springs arriving by late afternoon, at which time the trip comes to an end. If you are staying longer, perhaps celebrate your journey with an optional farewell dinner together with your fellow hikers tonight.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
Today's walking distance is approximately 15km/7 hours including 750m elevation gain. It is a Grade 4 (moderate to difficult) track, which includes the very difficult climb to the peak of Mt Sonder, made harder as you will ascend before sunrise.

Arrival into Alice Springs will be in the late afternoon, so ensure you take this into consideration when booking your 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 that start on or before 31 December 2022 are required to produce proof of full vaccination against COVID-19. Learn more about Intrepid’s COVID-19 policy.

ITINERARY CHANGES
Please note that due to the ongoing effects of Covid-19, including supply and staff shortages, this itinerary is subject to change at short notice. Camping locations and facilities may vary depending on your departure date. Your leader will advise of any changes from this itinerary 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 strictly at 7am at Alice Springs YHA 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. Between June and August, when nighttime temperatures can drop below zero, we highly recommend bringing your own sleeping bag suitable to the conditions for a more comfortable sleep.

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.

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