The Artist Expedition Society

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The Artist Expedition Society

Trip Highlights

  • Walking Artist Residency: walking, talking, thinking, making
  • Finishing with an artists exhibition in Alice Springs
  • Experience wilderness camping under the stars
  • Learn about the trail with your expert leading artist and guide
  • View a spectacular sunrise from the top of Mount Sonder
  • Enjoy 3 course evening meals after a big day of trekking
  • Trek with like minded, adventurous hikers

Trip Summary

The Larapinta Trail winds through the breath-taking West MacDonnel Ranges in semi-arid Western Arrernte country. This remote landscape is the ultimate creative inspiration.

In Central Australia by day, the quality of light amplifies the colours of the landscape, and by night, the skies are some of the darkest in the world. From our swags we will have the best views of the stars.

On this immersive adventure we will cover distance every day on the Larapinta Trail, and while we hike, you are invited to consider what it is to experience and why we attempt to communicate through art.

In the afternoons there will be time to make our own artwork, and in the evenings the World Expeditions guides will prepare delicious food for us to enjoy in an intimate group setting around the campfire.

We embrace all art practices, and will facilitate a number of experimental and immediate responses to this environment through a series of short group workshops. This trip is going to be serious creative ignition.

After the walk there will be a pop up exhibition in Alice Springs where we will show our experiments to the local community.

This camping based trek gets you close to the real action of the trail, where you are completely encapsulated by the rugged beauty of the Central Australian desert. This trek is designed to challenge both seasoned walkers and fitness enthusiast alike. Carrying just a day-pack you will walk up to 12kms each day, passing over remote ridges and canyons, whilst winding your way along the West MacDonnell Ranges.

All luggage and camping gear is transported by our professional support crew, freeing you to enjoy the diverse desert scenery, revel in the camaraderie of like-minded travellers and focus on art practices and movement.


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 Challenger trek is graded 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.


Following the Ormiston Pound Walk, we will settle in to our new surroundings, and observe it by drawing. Anna will lead you through the familiar motif of a life drawing class, focusing on the bodies of trees rather than people at Ormiston Gorge. We will use drawing boards and easels to draw quick sketches of the trees near the pond at Ormiston Gorge. We will move from easel to easel gaining new angles of the trees. The best drawing classes, I find, are the ones that let me loosen up and encourage me to stop caring about making the image look a certain way. This is our motivation here. A drawing is collaboration between land and artist, and we will focus on mark making and the hand of the artist, rather than carefully replicating the precise proportions of the trees we’re looking at.

Meals:  L,D

Walking through the West MacDonnell Ranges is a whole-body sensory experience. Today we are focusing on sound. As we walk, we will make sound maps, tracking the sounds that we hear, and tracing the ephemeral boundaries between self and environment. This process embraces experimental cartography – we will use our notebooks to draw maps of sonic-space that exists in the environment and inside our own bodies. Some of the most compelling painters use paint to document experiences beyond vision. Today is about focusing on the sonic aspects of our environment and placing ourselves within a soundscape. We will look at artists who translate sensory experiences.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we use our notebooks to document the rhythms we hear as we walk – the rhythm of our bodies moving, the rhythm of the wind through the trees and against our bodies. Later we will share the rhythms and songs that come to us as we walk, and attempt to form a shared psychological space by performing and intertwining these rhythms and songs as a group performance on the trail.

Meals:  B,L,D

Todays workshop is much more informal and personal. As we walk we will come up with words to share. These words might take the shape of a traditional poem, or they might be a phrase or a thought that we keep coming back to. For some of us, the external world will be what we focus on, and for others, it might be something that you’re thinking about that is not related to this place. Tonight, after dinner, we will share some of what we’re written with the group in an informal setting around the fire.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we are waking up early to climb to the top of Mt Sonder, known as Rwetyepme by the local Arrente 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. We will hike in the dark aiming to reach the top just before sunrise. At the top we will set up painting stations and observe at the quickly changing colours of the environment as the sun comes up, and attempt to document them by mixing colours on the spot and making a series of colour samples. This is not a conventional landscape painting exercise, but a directed look at colour specifically. For this workshop we advise that you bring your own paints and a small pad of canvas paper. Anna will have a small amount of low quality paint and paper to share. As you experience the transition from night into day you will be encouraged to take note of the feeling of that transition. How does the focus of your attention change?

Meals:  B,L,D

Today is much more informal. We will spend the day at camp digesting our week so far and making work for tomorrow’s exhibition.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we drive back into civilization to prepare for the exhibition tonight. We are not trying to present a very polished exhibition, but rather an energetic response to the experiences that we have shared this week. We will spend the day in the exhibition space setting it up for public viewing tonight. Do not be overwhelmed by this, it is very light-hearted and we can make of it what we want. After the exhibition, and celebrations of the week together we will head back to Nicks camp and enjoy a night at our private eco-camp. Nicks camp is one of our exclusive award-winning camps, nestled in the bush with stunning views across the Heavitree Range and Alice Valley. You will enjoy the comforts of the exclusive camp, and relish in the stories and experiences of the week, before saying goodbye to each other tomorrow.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we pack up and say goodbye. We will drop you at your hotel or the airport for your outgoing flight.

Meals:  B

What's Included

  • 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 7 dinners
  • Professional wilderness guide and support staff
  • 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
  • Accommodation in Alice Springs before and after the trip
  • your art materials to use throughout the trip
  • Items of a personal nature, such as laundry and postage
  • Backpacks
  • Sleeping Bag hire
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Travel insurance

Upcoming Travel Dates


Duration:7 Days
Starting Point:Alice Springs
Finishing Point:Alice Springs
creating art
Grade:Moderate to Challenging  Click for more information
Trip Code:SOG6398
Prices From:AUD$2895