For experienced walkers short on time but still seeking to do the best sections along the Larapinta Trail this self guided trek was designed for you. Taking in Larapinta Trail sections one to nine, the diversity of landscapes and challenge of the terrain will appeal to anyone who appreciates great walking experiences. Our experience on the trail began in 1995 and since then we have pioneered the way on this classic desert walk, now becoming the first ever to provide a self guided walking experience along the trail. You'll be provided with essential equipment, from maps to cooking utensils and food, as well as an EPIRB and invaluable advice from our guides, prior to your departure.This walk provides you with a great opportunity to complete this outstanding trek with the knowledge that the best gear, food drops and local knowledge from the pioneers of this iconic trek, will support you on your independent journey through Australia's Red Centre. 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. The landscapes along the Larapinta are much more diverse than you may think and walking is the only way to truly appreciate the high ridgeline traverse, narrow canyons, stunning gorges and idyllic waterholes.
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 to challenging. 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 also marks the beginning of the Larapinta Trail itself. The stone buildings here date back to 1872 and housed the first Europeans to live in Central Australia. Initially the trail from here winds among boulders of Alice Springs Granite, the highest of which offer fine views of the town and Mt Gillen. The trail passes through Witchetty Bush and Mulga scrub, over exposed hills and shady woodlands before we arrive for lunch at Wallaby Gap. From Wallaby Gap, 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 and your campsite.
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. From there you will walk on through ever changing countryside to your idyllic camp at Jay Creek.
On leaving Jay Creek you are on sacred ground, where the Aboriginal custodians ask that you walk only in the 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. You can trek to eat lunch at Millers Flat, from there you climb through rocky terrain before descending into Standley Chasm from the north. Your camp for the night is at Standley Chasm.
From Standley Chasm, you follow the spectacular Bridle Trail, an old trading route used by the early settlers in the region. You follow the ridgeline to Brinkley’s Bluff for superb views of the spine effect created by the West MacDonnell’s. After lunch you take on a steep descent to your welcoming campsite at Birthday Waterhole.
You should rise early today for one of the most challenging and rewarding sections on the trail. You head into Paisley Gorge before moving on to Spencer Gorge which is a fantastic spot to stop for lunch. Your trekin the afternoon takes you on a rough spinifex journey through this semi-arid region allowing breathtaking views of Hugh Gorge, where you will camp overnight.
You should rise early today for one of the most challenging and rewarding sections on the trail. You head into Paisley Gorge before moving on to Spencer Gorge which is a fantastic spot to stop for lunch. Your trek in the afternoon takes you on a rough spinifex journey through this semi-arid region allowing breathtaking views of Hugh Gorge, where you will camp overnight.
This section of the trail offers breathtaking views as you walk along the high quartzite ridgelines 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, out past Mt Zeil and Mt Sonder and as far as the comet crater of Gosse Bluff. You descend through mysterious old Mulga stands to camp overnight at Serpentine Chalet.
An early start is required to fit in all of the highlights of this sections of the trail. This trek takes you into the rugged heart of this country on a track only opened to the public as recently as 1997. This section is more challenging as you ascend to 1088 metres, but is well worth the reward of the clear views across the Alice Valley to the stunning peak of Mt. Giles.
This is a shorter section of the Trail leading into the head of the Finke River, from whose local indigenous Arrernte name comes the name of the trail - Lhere Pinte (Larapinta) means salty river. Arriving at the Finke River to camp you can then dawdle down to Glen Helen where there is the opportunity for a worthwhile “remote” beer.
This section has views dominated by the bulk of Mt Sonder, whose colours change through the day. You initially head north west through a sea of spinifex before crossing Davenport Creek, which is a tributary of the Finke River. Your walk climbs over a low section of the range and descend into Rocky Bar Gap, you can take a break here before heading west. You will pass under the flanks of Mount Sonder walking through some dense mulga and mallee woodland until you reach the beautiful Redbank Creek and your overnight camp.
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 landscape. To sight the views of the country from the top of this peak and know you have just climbed one of the highest peaks west of the Great Dividing Range is a memorable moment and a highlight of your Larapinta Trail journey.
On completion of this section you will be returned to Alice Springs where your tour will conclude.
Per Person, Twin Share