Sandra and Friends

Sandra and Friends

Trip Highlights

  • Climb Mount Sonder for a spectacular sunrise
  • Trek the best sections of the trail including Simpson's Gap, Standley Chasm, Serpentine Gorge and more
  • Wilderness camping under the milky way stay at our private eco camps
  • Swim in peaceful waterholes hidden deep within the West MacDonnell Ranges
  • Gain an understanding of the rich history of Australia's traditional owners and the Indigenous culture
  • All camping gear and luggage transferred by vehicle, freeing you to enjoy the diverse desert scenery and focus on achieving your walking goals
  • 2 nights pre & post hotel accommodation

Trip Summary

This fantastic route along the Larapinta Trail will take in the most spectacular highlights along the 223km track. The camping based trek will allow you more time to explore and soak in the beauty of the Central Australian desert as you traverse the most scenic stages of the Larapinta Trail.

Carrying just a day-pack, this walk will delight the wilderness lover and challenge even seasoned walkers. The Larapinta Trail offers one of the greatest desert treks on earth and is a bucket list experience for anyone who enjoys walking holidays. Following the spine of the West MacDonnell range, this extended walk along the Larapinta Trail will take in the sections along the trail that simply cannot be missed. It also provides a more achievable objective for walkers not yet ready for our 14 day Larapinta End to End trip. There will be some demanding stages as you pass over remote ridges and canyons, walking up to 30kms on some days.

The group camping gear is transported to each campsite by our professional support crew, freeing walkers to enjoy the diverse desert scenery, revel in the camaraderie of like-minded travellers and focus on achieving your goal.

Suitability

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 7 day 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 day pack is recommended.

Itinerary

Today you will arrive at Alice Springs airport after lunch, where you will be picked up and transferred to your hotel. There will be a short trip briefing in the afternoon at the Lone Dingo. In addition the afternoon you will have some free time to explore Alice Springs these include the fantastic indigenous Aboriginal art galleries, The Desert Park, or Anzac Hill for a short walk and overlooking view of the township. Evening meal at hotel or Hanumans.

Meals:  D

We pick you up from your accommodation between 7-7.30am and begin our walk at the historic Alice Springs Telegraph Station, the official start of the Larapinta Trail. From here the trail takes us west through witchetty bush, mulga scrub, and bird-filled shady woodlands. We climb high over exposed hills to the jagged outcrop of Euro Ridge, with expansive views over Alice Springs and the surrounding landscape, before descending to the deep narrow passage of Wallaby Gap. After a stop for refreshments you have the option to extend your walk and head to Nick's Camp on foot, or to transfer by bus. Nick's Camp is one of our exclusive award-winning camps, nestled in the bush with stunning views across the Heavitree Range and Alice Valley. Following your introduction to camp you will be greeted by local bush food specialist, Rayleen Brown, who will give an informative presentation about native bush foods with tastings. Walking Time: 5-8 hours

Meals:  B,L,D

In the morning we will do a short transfer to Serpentine Gorge. The trail takes us through scattered woodlands and over a stile to a trig point, a good spot for lunch. 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 forms on this earth. It is worth taking time to admire and have a swim at the permanent waterhole at Ellery Creek Big Hole when we finish trekking. Stay at Charlies Camp is one of our exclusive award-winning camps, nestled in the bush with stunning views across the Heavitree Range and Alice Valley. Spend the evening relaxing around the campfire while your guides prepare a scrumptious dinner.

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. We ascend to Counts Point where we 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. We can even see the fascinating, huge comet crater of Gosse Bluff. We descend from the high ridgetop though mysterious stands of mulga trees. At the base of the ridge we follow a track of dolomite limestone toward camp; keep your eye out for fossil stromatolites under foot, one of the most ancient forms of life. An optional afternoon walk to Serpentine Chalet Dam reveals early history of the area and the chance for a refreshing swim. Walk to Charlies Camp. Charlie's Camp, named in honour of pioneering Larapinta guide Charlie Holmes. Tonight’s camp is nestled in secluded wilderness at the foothills of Counts Point.Walking Time: 5.5-6.5 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 us 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 we ascend to 1088 metres. And again, as always on the Larapinta, our 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. Tonight's camp is at Rocky Bar Eco Camp. Rocky Bar camp is situated on the idyillic Davenport Creek with the ancient River Red gums with sunset and sunrise views of the imposing Mount Sonder. (which you will climb on day 8).

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we start at the Finke River Trailhead. The local Arrernte name for the river is 'Lhere Pinte', meaning salty river, which is where this trail gets its name from. The Finke is also estimated at being the oldest river in the world. We initially head north-west 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. If we have time in afternoon we could stop at Glen Helen Homestead there is the opportunity for a well deserved “remote” beer, and ice-cream.

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we have a leisurely breakfast we enjoy the best side walk of the entire Larapinta Trail: Ormiston Pound. The Pound offers an immense variety of extraordinary scenery, with a spectacular wide gorge and wildlife and is the perfect walk for our journey. We explore the upper reaches of the Gorge where Rock Wallabies scamper about the imposing cliffs, and follow the track through scrub filled with native birds: Spinifex Pigeon, Budgerigar and Mistletoe Bird. Keep an eye out overhead for the majestic Wedge-tailed Eagle, Australia's largest raptor. There is shorter walking today and time for relaxing and enjoying the magnificent scenery. Tonight's camp is at Rocky Bar Eco Camp. Rocky Bar camp is situated on the idyillic Davenport Creek with the ancient River Red gums with sunset and sunrise views of the imposing Mount Sonder.

Meals:  B,L,D

Your guides will have you up early this morning for our pre-dawn walk up Mount Sonder. Weaving your way up to the 1380m summit of this majestic mountain following only the glittering light of your head-torch, surrounded by deep and peaceful darkness, is a truly inspiring experience... and watching the sunrise from the top is unforgettable! From the peak we have expansive views across the entire Larapinta landscape we have explored over the last few days. We descend to Redbank Gorge and can enjoy a great brunch on the Finke River. If we have time on way back we may visit Standely Chasm or an original ochre quarry, a sacred Aboriginal site. The rainbow of vibrant colours on the wave-like ochre wall makes for stunning photos before returning to Alice Springs. We aim to drop you at your accommodation by 5pm. Dinner at either Hotel restaurant or Hanumans.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today your trip concludes. After checkout you will be transferred to Alice Springs Airport for departure. We hope you enjoyed your once in a lifetime adventure into the Centre of Australia.

Meals:  B

What's Included

  • 8 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 8 dinners
  • Accommodation in Alice Springs before and after the trip
  • Professional wilderness guide and support staff
  • Tents and swags for sleeping (but not sleeping bags)
  • Catering & eating utensils
  • Off-road transport from Alice Springs
  • Vehicle supported camping throughout
  • All National Park and camping fees
  • Comprehensive group first aid kit
  • Emergency radio/sat phone

What's Not Included

  • Airfares
  • Backpacks
  • Sleeping Bag hire
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Travel insurance

Upcoming Travel Dates

AT A GLANCE

Duration:9 Days
Countries:Australia
Starting Point:Alice Springs
Finishing Point:Alice Springs
Activities:Walking
Grade:Moderate to Challenging  Click for more information
Trip Code:SOG6111
Prices From:AUD$3195