Winner of the 2016 Ecotourism award in the Brolga Norther Territory Tourism Awards. Since 1995, when we offered the first commercial trek in this outstanding walking destination, we have led the way on the Larapinta trail - and our award-winning semi-permanent campsites continue to set the standard.
On this fully supported trek, you'll walk with just a day pack on well graded trails between eight and sixteen kilometers each day. At the end of each day, you'll appreciate the facilities of our architect-designed exclusive permanent campsites, including hot showers, comfortable lounges and heated dining shelter, as our guides prepare what are best described as delicious meals "with a gourmet twist".Our three stylish campsites are located at intervals that minimize your transfer time, so there's more time to take in the highlights of the trail. We have selected walks for their spectacular scenery and their variety.
On the high ridge lines of the West MacDonnell Ranges, you'll gain a rare perspective of the vast flood plains - truly big sky country - that form this ancient land. You'll be dwarfed by the immensity of Ormiston and Serpentine gorges and soothed by their idyllic waterholes. You'll be amazed by dramatic colour changes in the rock formations at Simpsons Gap and Standley Chasm and the dawn ascent of Mt Sonder (1,380m) provides the perfect vantage point to take in the length of the entire West MacDonnell Ranges.
To determine the grade of a particular adventure we consider a number of factors. These include the condition of the walking terrain, the altitude, the number of passes crossings and the length of the trek. The Larapinta 6 day trek is graded introductory to moderate. This trek involves 5 – 7 hours walking each day over rugged terrain with some steep ascents and descents. Although this trek does not involve altitude, it can be tough and should not be underestimated. In order to complete this trek we advise that you undertake regular exercise three or four times a week for at least three months prior to your departure. Hill walking with a daypack is recommended.
We will pick you up from your accommodation between 7am and 7.30am.
Our walking commences from the eastern terminal of the trail next to the Alice Springs Telegraph Station. The trail passes through witchetty bush and mulga scrub, and over exposed hills and shady woodlands, we wave goodbye to Alice at the top of Euro ridge before we trek through the deep narrow passage of Wallaby Gap. You have the option to head to camp from here or continue on to (8km) our exclusive Semi-permanent wilderness site, Nick's Camp, with stunning views across the Heavitree Range and Alice Valley. Nicks Camp is named to remember its original architect Nick Murcutt. Following your introduction to Camp, you will be greeted by local bush food specialist, Rayleen Brown, from Kungkas Can Cook. She will give an informative presentation about native local bush foods with tastings.
From Nick's Campsite, we follow the trail west through magnificent, shady Bloodwoods and tall Ironwoods, the dominant trees on this narrow alluvial flat. We may catch sight of a shy Echidna or Black-footed Rock Wallaby as we approach Simpson's Gap. A short transfer takes us to the stunning Standley Chasm where you will be welcomed to country by Deanella Mack from Cultral Connections. Journey into Arrernte country and have a cultural conversation.(Sunday and Wednesday departures) Friday departures will have a cultural conversation Night 1.View the beauty of the Chasm that is still run by the traditional owners. We transfer to Charlies campsite in an exclusive wilderness location nestled in the foothills below Counts Point. Charlie's camp is named in honour of pioneering Larapinta Guide Charlie Holmes.
The highlight of this day is the 5 km walk along the crest of the high ridge leading to Counts Point. From the summit we have views west to Mount Sonder, and where for the first time we can see the comet impact crater, Gosse Bluff, a feature of the landscape for the next few days. The descent from the high ridgetop takes us down though a surprising forest of old Hill Mulga Trees. At the base of the ridge we trek along the dolomite limestones toward camp, keep your eye out for fossil stromatolites one of the most ancient forms of life. We trek in to our exclusive Charlie's Camp and a relaxing afternoon amongst the hills. An optional walk (2 km return) to Serpentine Chalet Dam reveals some early history and the chance for a swim in the dam, if you're game to chance the cold water. We camp at Charlie's Camp, our exclusive semi-permanent campsite
We start the day (if we didn't do it the day before) with an optional walk to Serpentine Chalet Dam reveals some early history and the chance for a swim in the dam. We then trek to Inarlanga (Echidna) Pass to take in the quietness and marvel at the ancient Cycads and continue to the vibrant colour of the Aboriginal quarry at the Ochre Pits. We then break for an early afternoon finish at the Finke river (Oldest in the world) or relax at Glen Helen Resort in preparation for our big day tomorrow. We do have an option to continue for the afternoon though with a 10km walk from Ormiston Gorge to the Finke River which takes us through the diverse lowlands and Creek country. We transfer west to our exclusive camp at foot of Mount Sonder. This camp is named Camp Fearless in honour of trekking guide Sue Fear.
Today the group will get up early (3am) for a pre-dawn walk for our ascent of Mount Sonder. We aim to be at the summit for sunrise to see views as the sun spreads across this vast country. We descend to Redbank Gorge and can enjoy a great brunch on the Finke river and if time permits in the afternoon we may visit the Glen Helen Resort at the base of the range. We can relax with a drink or even take an optional helicopter fight over the West MacDonnell Ranges. A short transfer returns us to Camp Fearless looking back up toward Mt Sonder.
The best side walk of the trail is of the Ormiston Pound. The Pound offers some extraordinary scenery and wildlife and is our final walk which explores the upper reaches of the Gorge and the chance to see the many Rock Wallabies as they scamper about the imposing cliffs. We drive back in to Alice Springs, hoping to drop you to your accommodation between 4pm and 5pm. The group may also decide to arrange a group dinner together after a nice shower in Alice this evening.
Per Person, Twin Share