The Larapinta Trail extending west from Alice Springs to Mount Sonder, passes through 232 km of the spectacular central section of the 2nd largest mountain range in Australia the West MacDonnell Ranges. Stunning ridge and mountain top vistas, formed by the massive forces and deep processes that shaped early earth, beautiful secluded gorges and ravines and wide open valleys carved by some of the world’s most ancient rivers as well as beautiful desert waterholes surrounded by an abundance of desert wildlife are but a handful of the highlights of this iconic central Australian desert trek.
This is a challenging adventure for experienced trekkers looking to complete one of the greatest wildernesses walks our country has to offer.
(Meet and Greet 3pm the day before departure)
Day 14 by 17:30
Maximum Group Size:
Mix of bush camping and permanent campsites on indigenous land (no electricity and showers)
Tour Price 01.04.21 – 31.03.22:
$4089 AUD per person
(Twin Share camping)
$4289 AUD per person
Arrive at leisure today and check into your hotel. We meet at 3.00pm in the foyer of Doubletree Hilton where you will meet the rest of the members of your group to discuss the coming days with your guide.
If you arrive earlier during the day you might like to enjoy the sights and sounds of the bustling heart of the Red Centre before leaving it all behind for the desolate outback. Browse Aboriginal artworks at Central Australia’s best art galleries. This is also a good time to ensure you have all articles needed for your Larapinta Trail walk.
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
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
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
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).