Our complete traverse of the Larapinta is an inspiring trek that will delight the wilderness lover and challenge the seasoned walker. Walking the entire 223km length of the Larapinta Trail is a challenging objective, but one that comes with an equal sense of reward as you complete this outstanding trek in Australia's Red Centre.
The Larapinta Trail offers one of the greatest desert treks on earth and is one of Australia's most famous walking experiences. Following the spine of the West MacDonnell range, this trek will allow you to walk the entire length of the Larapinta Trail utilising the knowledge and experience of the pioneers of this now iconic trail. There will be some challenging stages as you pass over remote ridges and canyons, walking up to 30kms on some days.
As with all our guided treks on the Larapinta Trail, you will only carry your day pack. The group camping gear is transported to the next campsite by our professional support crew, freeing trekkers to enjoy the diverse desert scenery, revel in the camaraderie of like-minded travellers and focus on achieving your goal.
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 End to End trek is graded moderate to challenging. This trek involves 6 – 12 hours walking each day over rugged terrain with some steep ascents and descents. This trek should not be underestimated as it can be tough and challenging.
In order to complete this trek we advise that you undertake regular exercise five days a week for at least three months prior to your departure. Hill walking with a daypack is recommended.
We pick you up from your accommodation between 7:00 and 7.30am. Our 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 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 our remote campsite.
From Simpson's Gap we 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. We observe a wide variety of plant life and watch for birds at the waterhole. We then walk on through ever changing countryside to our idyllic camp at Jay Creek.
Leaving Jay Creek we are on sacred ground, where the Aboriginal custodians ask that we walk only in the creek bed. Today's walk is nothing short of spectacular. We 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. We trek to our lunch spot at Millers Flat, from which we climb through rocky terrain before descending into Standley Chasm from the north. Camp is at Standley chasm.
From Standley Chasm, we follow the spectacular Bridle Trail, an old trading route used by the early settlers in the region. We follow the ridgeline to Brinkley’s Bluff for superb views of the spine effect created by the West MacDonnell’s. After lunch we take on a steep descent to our welcoming campsite at Birthday Waterhole.
An early rise today for one of the most challenging and rewarding sections on the trail. We head into Paisley Gorge before moving on to our lunch spot at Spencer Gorge. Our trek this afternoon takes us on a rough spinifex journey through this semi-arid region allowing breathtaking views of Hugh Gorge, our camp spot for the night.
Staying on the south side of the range whose soaring presence dominates our vista of this stage, moving through lower level woodlands and spinifex where we could chance upon painted firetails and different wren species. We camp at the remote Rocky Gully Campsite on the evening of Day 6 and Ellery Creek on the evening of Day 7.
Today we are 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 on this earth. The trail is again through woodlands and spinifex. Arriving mid afternoon at our camp provides an opportunity to relax or wander at leisure around the hills of our campsite.
A crisp early morning 4WD to Serpentine Gorge we begin today’s trekking. This section offers breathtaking views as the trail runs along the high quartzite ridgelines that typify the West MacDonnell Ranges. We ascend to Counts Point where we are able to take in clear views of Centralia’s western horizon, out past Mt Zeil and Mt Sonder and as far as the comet crater of Gosse Bluff. We descend through mysterious old Mulga stands to camp tonight at Serpentine Chalet.
Today is one of the highlights of the trip that begins with a sunrise departure. This trek takes us into the rugged heart of this country on a track only opened as recent as 1997. This section is a little more difficult as we ascend to 1088 metres, but is well worth the reward of the clear views across the Alice Valley to the wow factor of Mt. Giles.
A shorter stage of the Trail leading into the head of the Finke River from whose Arrernte name comes the name of the trail. Lhere Pinte means salty river. Arriving at Glen Helen there is the opportunity for a worthwhile “remote” beer.
These two days have views and trail dominated by the bulk of Mt Sonder, whose colours change through the day. We initially head northwest through spinifex before crossing Davenport Creek a tributary of the Finke River. We climb over a low section of the range and descend into Rocky Bar Gap, our camp for the night. The next day we head west under the flanks of Mount Sonder passing through some dense mulga and mallee woodland until we reach the beautiful Redbank Creek and our nearby camp.
This morning we are up early for our ascent of Mount Sonder (known as the pregnant lady by the local Anangu Aboriginal people). An early start allows us to climb in the cool morning air, before the sun heats up the landscape. To sight the views of the country from the top and knowing we have just climbed one of the highest peaks west of the Great Dividing Range is a memorable moment of the trip is ample reward for the effort involved in getting there. Having reached the highpoint (many think highlight) of the Larapinta Trail, we drive back in to Alice Springs, concluding around 5 or 6pm.
Per Person, Twin Share