A Full on 14 Day Walking Adventure covering the Awesome LARAPINTA TRAIL from End to End.
14 Day / 13 Night Larapinta Trail Walking Tour
Extending west from Alice Springs to Mount Sonder, the Larapinta Trail offers a fantastic trek through the heart of the Australian outback, covering a distance of 232 kilometres though stark and arid landscape. The reddish colours of the West MacDonnell Ranges form a spectacular backdrop to our trek as we make our way over mountain ridges and through canyons and dry river valleys.
This is a challenging adventure for experienced trekkers looking to complete one of the great wilderness walks in this hauntingly beautiful part of the world.
We start with a walk of approximately 20km beginning from the outskirts of Alice Springs near the Alice Springs Telegraph Station west to Simpson’s Gap. This walk features superb views over Alice Springs and the surrounding lowlands and traces part of the historic Overland Telegraph Line route. Visitors also follow the Aboriginal Dreaming Track of an ancient euro (hill kangaroo), ancestor of the modern species of euro, also known as wallaroo along with superb bird watching opportunities. We arrive at our camp in the late afternoon after a long but exhilarating first days walk.
Section 2 is a 24.5km section of the Larapinta Trail. Some of the highlights for this section include passing through the home of one of the few brushtail possum colonies in central Australia and exploring a landscape of rock outcrops that is over 2,000 million years old.
Today we tackle Section 3, a 13.6km section that is quite challenging and covers some of the steepest and most rugged country in the ranges.
Section 4 is a 17.7km section of the trail that follows the high quartzite ridges of the Chewings Range to the summit of Brinkley Bluff where walkers are rewarded with breathtaking views in all directions. Steeply descending from the bluff the trail enters Stuart’s Pass, an upper branch of the Hugh River. It then follows the river valley to Birthday Waterhole, our base for the night.
Section 5 is a challenging 16km section of the Larapinta Trail that passes through Spencer Gorge before negotiating the spine of Razorback Ridge and then down narrow Linear Valley to the junction with the Hugh River. The trail then follows natural watercourses and it may be necessary to negotiate pools of water within Hugh Gorge.
We take the opportunity to rest up in the spectacular surrounds of the Hugh Gorge and Hugh River with opportunities for short walks in this spectacular location. Time to recharge the batteries before the next day’s big walk.
Section 6 is a 31.2km section of the Larapinta Trail. This long and challenging section traverses across the Alice Valley from Hugh Gorge in the Chewings Range to Ellery Creek Big Hole in the Heavitree Range. It is one of the longest and most difficult sections of the Larapinta Trail.
Section 7 is a 13.8km section that includes some steep ascents with sharp rocks on the first part of the trail which can be hard on tender feet. It does however present an opportunity to learn something of the long and fascinating geological history of the West MacDonnell Ranges. Another highlight is the abundance of birds including the elusive spinifex bird, a unique species of warbler found only in Australia.
Section 8 is a 13.4 km section of the Larapinta Trail that offers exhilarating views of the high quartzite ridgelines that typify the West MacDonnell Ranges, including Haasts Bluff and Mt Zeil (the highest point in the Northern Territory).
Section 9 is 28.6km long and is one of the more difficult sections taking us into the rugged heart of the range country. There is no reliable surface water along the way, so we must be prepared to carry a considerable amount of drinking water for the walk.
After breakfast we set off to walk Section 10, an easier 9.9km section of the Larapinta Trail. This is one of the shorter sections and winds through rolling limestone hills at the headwaters of the Finke River, one of the world’s oldest river systems.
Section 11 is 25.2km long and begins meandering across low spinifex-covered hills with the spectacular backdrop of Mount Sonder in the background. It then crosses the Davenport River and climbs to a hilltop lookout before descending to shady, tranquil Rocky Bar Gap at the foot of Mount Sonder. We then pass through this gap and travel along the southern flank of Mount Sonder to Redbank Creek.
Today sees us tackling one of the primary goals of the Larapinta Trail, the 16km return climb to the summit of Mount Sonder (1,380m). The arduous climb to the peak is well worth the effort and walkers are rewarded with breathtaking views in all directions. Ranges, plains, valleys and salt lakes all combine to create magnificent vistas. This is a great place to experience the grandeur of the desert landscape.
In the morning we transfer back to Ormiston Gorge where we spend our final morning on the Ormiston Pound circuit walk. Regarded by many as the “primo” small walk of the Larapinta Trail, the Ormiston Pound Walk is full of wow factor, wildlife and flora and a great finale to our walk. Starting from the Visitor Centre the trail winds around some low peaks before descending into the ‘pound’, a flat area enclosed by mountains all around. There are numerous species of birds and mammals such as wallabies that can be seen in the gorge. It takes about 3 – 4 hours to complete the circuit and we finally return to the Visitor Centre via the main waterhole.
After another healthy lunch, we will pack and break camp for regrettably the last time and return to normality (hot shower and life as you know it awaits). Tonight we will reminisce the past 14 days and share some banter over a refreshing ale or cool drink at one of Alice’s classic outback restaurants (own expense).
Trek leader, support vehicle, swags and camping equipment, transport, park and trek fees.
- 13 Breakfasts (B)
- 14 Lunches (L)
- 13 Dinners (D)
- Basic bush camp with tents and swags (13 nights)
Flights, airport departure taxes, arrival and departure transfers, visa, insurance, any optional tours and activities during free time, tips or gratuities and items of a personal nature.
Outback Camping in Style
We like to camp in style and comfort which involves sleeping in enclosed swags or in large, wilderness style tents. A mattress, pillow, sleeping bag, sheets, towel, soap and a torch/kerosene lamp are provided.
Respecting Indigenous Culture
Please note that itineraries that include visits to Indigenous sites may change at short notice, due to the cultural and ceremonial obligations of our Indigenous hosts and guides.
**You need to arrive no later than the day prior to departure to join this tour.