The Larapinta Trail is regarded as one of Australia’s premier walking tracks. From the old Alice Springs Telegraph Station to the peak of Mount Sonder, the trail stretches 223 kilometres along the backbone of the West MacDonnell Ranges.
You will stand on ancient escarpments and gaze out upon the ochre-coloured landscapes of Central Australia, and follow Aboriginal Dreaming tracks and trek beside one of the world’s oldest river systems.
By day, you will experience the diversity of desert habitats and learn the unique history of Australia’s Indigenous peoples. At night, you will fall asleep to the sounds of native wildlife under a blanket of stars.
Day 1: Alice Springs
Welcome to Alice Springs! On our first day in the Aussie Outback, we have the opportunity to explore this ruggedly beautiful town and get familiar with our surroundings.
Day 2: Simpsons Gap
From the outskirts of Alice Springs, we trek to Simpsons Gap, taking in the sweeping views of Alice Springs and the West MacDonnell Ranges from Euro Ridge. From Simpsons Gap, we transfer by private vehicle to our remote campsite on the Hugh River. Here, the true experience begins as we rest in a region synonymous with the dreamtime (Alcheringa) of the Western Arrernte Aboriginal people.
Trekking distance: 20km
Day 3: Serpentine Gorge – Serpentine Chalet Dam
This morning we transfer to the western section of the Larapinta Trail. Today’s trek is more challenging, however we are continuously rewarded with spectacular views of the high quartzite ridgelines that typify the West MacDonnell Ranges, including Haasts Bluff and Mount Zeil, the highest point in the Northern Territory.
Trekking distance: 13.4km
Day 4: Ormiston Gorge – Glen Helen
Today we traverse the low-lying regions surrounding Ormiston Gorge, gradually winding through rolling limestone hills towards the back reaches of the Finke River—one of the world’s oldest river systems. With majestic scenery from start to finish, this area is steeped in traditional folklore. As we trek, we are rewarded with spectacular views of Mount Sonder in the distance.
Trekking distance: 9.9km
Day 5: Mount Sonder
Today we transfer from camp to Redbank Gorge at the base of Mount Sonder (1,380m). The climb to the summit is arduous along a rocky and loose path. However, once again, our efforts are rewarded with incredible 360° views of the ranges, plains, valleys and salt lakes below. Take time to catch your breath and bask in the grandeur of the desert landscape.
Trekking Distance: 15.8km
Day 6: Ormiston Pound Circuit – Alice Springs
Today trek the Ormiston Pound circuit. Punctuating the West MacDonnell Ranges, this circuit is regarded as one of the best small walks of the Larapinta Trail and offers sensational views of the Chewings Range and Mount Giles. Although relatively short, the trek is quite challenging and takes approximately four hours to complete. Setting off, the trail winds around low peaks before descending into the ‘pound’, a flat area enclosed by a ring of mountains.
Trekking distance: 5km
Photos courtesy of Theresa Lord
- Ready to trek the Larapinta Trail? See our departures here