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6
Moderate to Challenging

Traveller Rating

 

Activities
  • 9 days self guided trek
Accommodation
  • 8 nights camping
Meals
  • 8 Dinners
  • 9 Lunches
  • 8 Breakfasts

9 Days$1390AUD

Hit the trails with confidence

Flexible Cancellations
Stress free booking, learn more about our flexible terms

COVID-19 safety measures
Read our Covid-19 travel policy and what we're doing to keep you safe

Remote adventures
means social distancing comes naturally

Small groups only
Guided group sizes are strictly limited to a maximum of 16 people


Trip Code: LS9

Larapinta Trail Self-Guided Trip highlights


  • Walking sections 4 through to 12
  • Immerse yourself in the spectacular Tjoritja National Park
  • Explore the West MacDonnell Ranges at your own pace
  • Enjoy the complete flexibility self guiding provides
  • Wilderness camping under the stars of the Australian Outback
  • Admire the unique birds, wildlife and plants in your own time
  • Trek through captivating ancient landscape
  • View some of the best geological formations in the world

Why Book With Us

  • All logistics taken care of so you can relax and enjoy the track
  • Quality, lightweight trekking meals included
  • Briefing and advise from our experienced guides before your trip

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!

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 will walk sections 4 to 12, giving you a challenging and rewarding trek.

On this 9 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 the first to offer self guided Larapinta trips, 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. We also offer 6 and 12 day Larapinta Trail self guided walks.

Activities:

Itinerary

This morning you will be transferred from Alice Springs to Standley Chasm where you start the walk, following 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. There is an optional extra 1km walk to Birthday Waterhole from the trail junction. Difficulty rating: Very Hard | Walking time: 8 hours

Meals:  L,D

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: 8-9 hours

Meals:  B,L,D

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. An alternate trail route for Sections 6 and 7 opened in 2021 between Rocky Gully (Section 6) and Serpentine Gorge (Section 7). This new trail goes along the north side of the Heavitree Range, providing stunning vistas across the Alice Valley to the Chewings Range. This new trail route keeps you separate from day walkers. The overnight stop is Ellery Creek North. If you take this alternate route you will miss the food drop at Ellery Creek South, you will be able to access the food drop facility at Serpentine Gorge. If you choose this option your walking distance for today is 29km. Difficulty grading: Medium | Walking time: 10-11 hours

Meals:  B,L,D

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. If you took the alternate route to Ellery Creek North yesterday your walking distance for today is 13km. Difficulty rating: Hard | Walking time: 5.5 hours

Meals:  B,L,D

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: 7 hours

Meals:  B,L,D

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: 10-12 hours

Meals:  B,L,D

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 – perfect for an afternoon swim before heading back to your camp for dinner and another cosy night in your tent. Difficulty rating: Medium | Walking time: 4 hours

Meals:  B,L,D

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

Meals:  B,L,D

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

Meals:  B,L


Map

Elevation

The map and elevation chart are for illustrative purposes only and meant to provide general guidelines.
On self guided trips, actual route information provided before departure will be more detailed.


Inclusions

  • Breakfasts, lunches, dinners, hot drinks
  • Light weight trekking food supplied
  • Camp stove and fuel
  • Cooking and eating utensils
  • Sleeping mat, tent (twin share), 70L back pack, sleeping bag
  • Off-road transport to/from Alice Springs to start/finish of your trek
  • All National Park and camping fees
  • EPIRB in case of emergencies
  • Complete set of Larapinta Trail maps and route descriptions

  • Airfares
  • Accommodation in Alice Springs before and after the trip
  • Items of a personal nature, such as laundry and postage
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Travel insurance
  • Snacks
  • Breakfast on the first day, dinner on the last day
  • Face masks and hand sanitiser

Accommodation


Trail Surface


Suitability

Moderate to Challenging

6

This trek involves 6-12 hours walking each day over rugged terrain with some steep ascents and descents. The trail conditions of the Larapinta Trail are rocky, rugged, hard surfaced and dry. While a number of sections of the trail wind through open plains, undulating areas and relatively flat country, overall, the trail is characterised by rocky, stony and mountainous terrain which can rise from 680m above sea level to more than 1,200m along some sections. This trek should not be underestimated as it can be tough and challenging. You will need a good level of fitness and must be in good health. You will be carrying a full pack of around 15-20kg and should be prepared for potential variable weather conditions. You will also need to be comfortable with map reading and self guiding. Suggested preparation: We recommend one hour of strenuous exercise 4 times per week (this can be cycling, jogging or walking) interspersed with relatively demanding bushwalks carrying a day pack. At least once a week, you should walk with a weighted day pack (5–7kg) for several hours for leg strengthening and aerobic fitness. The best way to train for an active holiday is to simulate the activity you will be undertaking on the trip. Train for uneven terrain by finding a hilly, rough narrow bush track, and go for a lovely long walk in your trekking boots. Multi day walks while carrying a full weight pack (15-20kg) should be considered essential in your training preparation. Please contact our staff if you have any queries about your suitability for this trip.


Departure dates

Regular departures between April and September

Notes

H
High Season
Note:
High season supplement applies from 1 June to 15 August 2022, and for any trips that overlap with a public holiday.
DN2
If you would like to extra days these need to be added at the beginning of the walk. The trip ends with a scheduled transfer back to Alice Springs and the end date needs to remain unchanged to meet these pickups.

Total Priceper person from

$1390AUD

Options & Supplements*
  • Single traveller surchargeAUD$120
*Prices listed are per person

Frequently Asked Questions

The choice is yours! You can walk any 9 consecutive days of the Larapinta Trail. An example is included above, but a full list is provided in the trip notes. When booking please let us know which 9 consecutive days you would like to walk.

Our Larapinta Trail trekking season runs from April to September, when trekking conditions are most favourable. Winter is arguably the best time to experience the Larapinta Trail, as it offers prime trekking conditions, more stable temperatures and endlessly blue days.

Not frequently. Sporadic reception can be received depending on your carrier, but generally only for the first day and when on top of Mt Sonder. You will be provided with an EPIRB to use in an emergency.

It is not possible to charge your devices. We advise carrying extra sets of batteries for your cameras and/or portable chargers.

Hiking poles can definitely assist you with going up and down the inclines and for stability. If you have not used them previously, we recommend that you do some training with them before you head out on the hike.

Any excess luggage can be stored at your pre/post tour accommodation in Alice Springs.

You will need to carry all of your gear for this trek in a 70L pack. Depending on the amount of personal gear you bring, your pack will weigh approximately 15kg – 20kg. Food drops are located at Standley Chasm, Ellery Creek Big Hole and Ormiston Gorge for your convenience (if applicable to the sections of trek you choose to walk).

Yes. The terrain on this trek is rugged, and the Quartzite rocks are famous for shredding even the most trusted old pair of hiking boots. For your comfort, you must have high supported boots with a heavy duty grip. There are lots of rocky, uneven and unstable sections, so ankle support will be beneficial.

You must arrive in Alice Springs the day before your trek begins. The trip commences with a COMPULSORY pre-departure briefing in the afternoon on the day before departure. It is ESSENTIAL that you make your travel arrangements to enable you to attend this briefing.

If you are an experienced walker and prefer the solitude of a self-guided trek, we offer trail head transfers. Please note that the trail is truly remote, with minimal mobile phone coverage. This option should only be considered by well-resourced trekkers with significant wilderness experience.

You will need an excellent level of fitness for this trek on the Larapinta. You need to be capable and prepared for long, fast paced walks. Previous experience on multi day walks is highly recommended. If you have any questions about your suitability please give us a call and speak with one of our staff members. We are more than happy to discuss additional information about what you can expect.

A majority of the terrain on the Larapinta Trail is rough and rocky, particularly on high ground, in gorges, creek and river beds. The ground is often distorted with embedded or loose rock depending on the trail variations.

The trail conditions of the Larapinta Trail are rocky, rugged, hard surfaced and dry. While a number of sections of the trail wind through open plains, undulating areas and relatively flat country, overall, the trail is characterised by rocky, stony and mountainous terrain which can rise from 680m above sea level to more than 1,200m along some sections.

Autumn (April and May) - Trekking conditions in autumn are pleasant, with temperatures averaging between 12-27C. Unlike the winter months when evenings become quite chilly, autumn evenings are cool and trekkers can comfortably pull their swag out from their tents and sleep outside under the blanket of stars. While the official wet season is over, you can still expect rain up until late May, as well as some cloud coverage during these months.

Winter (June to August) - During the daytime, temperatures hover at low-mid 20C with refreshingly cool breezes, however evenings temperatures can drop close to 0C, particularly in the valleys, and the frost that covers the ground can create a snow-like appearance. Many people are surprised to find out how cold it can get in the middle of winter, so trekkers need to make sure they are adequately prepared for cold nights with insulated sleeping bags, beanies, gloves and thermal underwear.

Spring (September) - Temperatures in September begin to rise leading to sporadic thunderstorms which creates the perfect environment for the landscape to come alive with wildflowers and lowline flowering shrubs. With cooler temperatures suitable for hiking, and clear skies for picture-perfect sunsets, it's no surprise that September is a popular season to trek the Larapinta Trail.


Larapinta Trail Self-Guided Trip reviews


Positive Impact Travel

By joining this trip you are directly supporting positive impact projects in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

We’ve offset the carbon emitted by this trip by purchasing credits that support important projects that address the UN’s seventeen SDGs, like reducing poverty, affordable and clean energy, reducing hunger, clean water and climate action.

Proceeds from this adventure purchase carbon credits through the world’s largest and most awarded carbon project developer, South Pole, which are invested into projects accelerating the transition to renewable energy sources in developing countries.

Supported projects are based on internationally recognised standards and are third-party audited. They entail a series of positive impacts on the ground, which benefit local communities and ecosystems, that are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.