The Classic Larapinta Trek is one of the seven Great Walks of Australia and is now noted as one of the top 10 walks in the world on many trekking writers walking lists. Walking the high ridgelines of the West MacDonnell Ranges we gain a rare perspective of vast flood plains, the razorback rocky outcrops and sheer scale of this ancient land. We follow an itinerary that will appeal to the active walker prepared to cover between six to sixteen kilometres each day, with plenty of side options to the best spots in the area. You will need to carry only a day pack, as we will be camping in stylish, exclusive and comfortable semi-permanent camp-sites (Ti Tree and Charlie's), where exceptional facilities are setup and waiting for us. These exclusive wilderness campsites add to the enjoyment of the Larapinta Trail, with heated lounge and dining facilities, hot showers, eco-toilet facilities, solar lighting, USB 12V Camera Battery charging and a host of sustainable and stylish facilities. When combined with exceptional food and and fantastic guides, trekkers can just relax and enjoy the outback hospitality.
A support vehicle will transfer us between trailheads, allowing us to select walks that are the perfect balance of spectacular scenery and distance covered. The diversity of trail stages is impressive, at times the trail descends from the ridgeline into narrow canyons where sheltered pockets of delicate fern and twisted gum trees grow from the dry rivers of sand. On other stages we walk to the impressive Simpsons Gap and Standley Chasm or climb Mt Sonder (1380m) a perfect vantage point from where we can trace the entire West MacDonnell Range.
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.
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 we undertake a walk to the top of the lookout and visit the Chasm that is still run by the traditional owners. We transfer to Charlies campsite in an exclusive wilderness location nestled in the foothils 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 afternoom 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 your 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