Ideal for the confident and independent traveller with support in the background, our self guided treks are fun and flexible.
Walking self guided and at your own pace is one of the best ways to truly appreciate the immensely diverse and unique landscapes, flora and fauna of Australia’s Red Centre. The trail takes you through narrow canyons, stunning gorges and forests of mulga and mallee, over high ridgelines and around idyllic waterholes, spending each night under the expansive star-filled Outback sky. On this itinerary you can choose to complete any consecutive 3 of the 12 Larapinta sections, giving you a tantalising taste of this captivating trek.
On this 3 day self guided trek you'll be provided with the essential equipment for experiencing Outback Australia by foot. We'll set you up with comprehensive maps, quality lightweight trekking food, cooking utensils and stove as well as tent and sleeping gear, an EPIRB, and invaluable advice from our experienced guides prior to your departure. World Expeditions are pioneers of this iconic trek and we are proud to support you on your independent journey by providing the best equipment and incomparable local knowledge.
A self guided walk along the Larapinta is suited to experienced walkers comfortable with their sense of direction and map reading, ability to carry a full pack, and used to being independent in the outdoors. If you would like to spend more time on the trail check out our 6, 9 and 12 day self guided walks.
To determine the grade of a particular adventure we consider a number of factors. These include the condition of the walking terrain, the altitude and the length of the trek. This trip is graded moderate. This trek involves 6 – 7 hours walking each day over rugged terrain with some steep ascents and descents. You will need a good level of fitness and must be in good health. You will be carrying a full pack of around 15 – 20 kg and should be prepared for potential variable weather conditions.
In order to complete this trek we advise that you undertake 45 minutes of aerobic type exercise, three to four times a week. Hill walking with a pack in variable weather conditions is also recommended.
Your walking begins at the Alice Springs Telegraph Station which is the official start of the Larapinta Trail. The historical stone buildings here date back to 1872 and housed the first Europeans to live in Central Australia. It's worth having a look around the Station before heading off on your walk. Initially the trail from here winds among boulders of Alice Springs Granite, the highest of which offers fine views of the town and Mt Gillen. The trail passes through Witchetty Bush and Mulga scrub, over exposed hills and shady woodlands before you arrive for lunch at Wallaby Gap. From Wallaby Gap, you follow the trail west through magnificent, shady Bloodwoods and tall Ironwoods, the dominant trees on this narrow alluvial flat. You may catch sight of a shy Echidna or Black-footed Rock Wallaby as you approach Simpson's Gap and your campsite.
Difficulty rating: Medium | Walking time: 9 hours
From Simpson's Gap you walk through pleasant grassy flats and low, rocky hills bearing the scars of early cattle grazing, evidence of the fragility of this arid environment. Graceful Ghost Gums are also to be seen on this section, coated in a white powder with powerful antiseptic properties used by Aborigines. One of the most peaceful parts of the trail is Spring Gap. You can observe a wide variety of plant life and watch for birds at the waterhole. Listen for the excited babble of the Grey-crowned Babbler, a social bird that bounds through the leaf litter searching for food. From the waterhole you will walk on through ever changing countryside to your idyllic camp at Jay Creek.
Difficulty grading: Medium | Walking time: 8 hours
On leaving Jay Creek you are on sacred ground, where the Aboriginal custodians ask that you walk only in the dry creek bed. Today's walk is nothing short of spectacular. You continue on through varied terrain dotted with Mulga and Witchetty Bush to Tangentyere Junction. Here the track diverges to follow the ridgeline above the Finke River. A good place to stop for lunch is Millers Flat. From the Flat you climb through rocky terrain before descending from the north into the deep, red rock of Standley Chasm. Your camp for the night is at Standley Chasm. There is a kiosk here and showers are available.
Difficulty grading: Hard | Walking time: 5.5 hours
From Standley Chasm you follow the spectacular Bridle Trail, an old trading route used by the early settlers in the region. You head up to follow the ridge line over Reveal Saddle to Brinkley’s Bluff. From this high point, just over 1100m, you are rewarded with superb views of the spine effect created by the West MacDonnell Ranges. After lunch you take on a steep descent and pass Mintbush Spring, named for the native plant that grows here, a beautifully mint-scented bush related to sage and lavender. Your welcoming campsite tonight is at the peaceful Birthday Waterhole.
Difficulty rating: Very Hard | Walking time: 9 hours
You should rise early today for one of the most challenging and rewarding sections on the trail. The track undulates vigorously over rough, rocky terrain and you are exposed (to the elements and to the magnificent views!) atop Windy Saddle and Razorback Ridge for the first part of the day. In the afternoon you will drop down to Fringe Lily Creek, a nice stop for lunch as it offers some shade. After lunch the trail takes you on a rough spinifex journey through this semi-arid region allowing breathtaking views of Hugh Gorge, where you will camp overnight.
Difficulty rating: Very hard | Walking time: 10 hours
The walk today continues along the south side of the West MacDonnell ranges whose soaring presence dominates your views as you move through lower level woodlands and spinifex. On today's walk you could chance upon Painted Firetails and a variety of different bird species. Keep your eye out especially for the beautiful Spinifex Pigeon which relies on the tough spinifex plant for camouflage and food – you'll see them strutting amongst the plants with their tall, elegant crest bobbing along with their every step. This is a long walking day and an early start will be required. Your overnight camp is at Ellery Creek.
Difficulty grading: Medium | Walking time: 11 hours
Today you will be walking through the vertical-spined dolomite country of the Bitter Springs formation. These 800 million year old rocks contain fossilised stromatolites, the cyanobacteria that were amongst the first life forms on this earth. If you didn't the night before, it is worth taking time to admire the Ellery Creek Big Hole waterhole before you start trekking. The trail will take you through scattered woodlands and over a stile to a trig point, a good spot for lunch. Arriving mid afternoon at your camp will provide you with an opportunity to relax or wander at leisure around the hills of your campsite at Serpentine Gorge.
Difficulty rating: Hard | Walking time: 5.5 hours
This section of the trail offers breathtaking views as you walk along the high quartzite ridge lines that typify the West MacDonnell Ranges. You ascend to Counts Point where you are able to take in clear views of Central Australia’s western horizon, to Mt Zeil (1531m) the highest peak in the Northern Territory, and Mt Sonder which marks the end of the Larapinta Trail. You can even see the fascinating, huge comet crater of Gosse Bluff. You descend through mysterious old Mulga stands to camp overnight at Serpentine Chalet.
Difficulty rating: Hard | Walking time: 5.5 hours
An early start is required to fit in all of the highlights of this section of the trail. Today takes you into the rugged heart of this ancient landscape on a track only opened to the public as recently as 1997. The trail today is again challenging as you ascend to 1088 metres. And again, as always on the Larapinta, your epic climb is rewarded with expansive views. The view opens up across the Alice Valley to the giant, bulky mass of of Mt. Giles, one of the Northern Territory's highest peaks at 1389m. On arrival at Ormiston Gorge you will find many lovely campsites, a kiosk and showers. If you go for a quiet walk at dusk you may be lucky enough to see the shy dingo that sometimes roams along the river bank near camp.
Difficulty rating: Hard | Walking time: 12 hours
This is a shorter and more gentle section of the Larapinta Trail which leads you into the head of the Finke River. The local indigenous Arrernte name for the Finke River has given the trail its name: Lhere Pinte (Larapinta) meaning salty river. If you feel like a further walk after setting up camp at the Finke River some walkers like to do a side-trip (without packs) to Glen Helen where there is a small shop, pub, and a stunning waterhole – perfect for an afternoon swim. There are also showers here. You may like to enjoy a beer overlooking Glen Helen before heading back to your camp for dinner and another cosy night in your tent.
Difficulty rating: Medium | Walking time: 4 hours
This section has views dominated by the impressive bulk of Mount Sonder. The colours of this magnificent mountain change dramatically throughout the day. You initially head northwest through a sea of spinifex before crossing Davenport Creek, a tributary of the Finke River. Your walk climbs over a low section of the range and descends into Rocky Bar Gap where you can take a break before heading west. You will pass beaneath the flanks of Mount Sonder, walking through dense Mulga and Mallee woodland until you reach the beautiful Redbank Creek and your overnight camp.
Difficulty rating: Hard | Walking time: 9.5 hours
It is recommended that you get an early start for your ascent of Mount Sonder (known as 'The Pregnant Lady' by the local Anangu Aboriginal people). By starting your walk of this section early you can complete the climb in the cool morning air, before the sun heats up the land. Mount Sonder is one of the highest peaks west of the Great Dividing Range and the views from the top are incomparable; standing on the summit and taking in the landscape you have traversed aver the last three days will be a highlight of your Larapinta Trail journey. On completion of this section you will be returned to Alice Springs where your tour will conclude. We hope you celebrate with long shower, clean clothes and a delicious dinner at one of Alice Spring's great eateries... Congratulations on completing your Larapinta adventure!
Difficulty rating: Hard | Walking time: 6 hours
Per Person, Twin Share