Classic Larapinta Trek in Comfort, West MacDonnell Ranges, NT

Stay in stylish, comfortable, semi‑permanent campsites during your guided walk along Australia’s most iconic desert trek.

Women’s only trek available.

AT A GLANCE

Dates6–11 May 2022 (SOLD OUT – waitlist only)
8–13 June 2022 (Women’s only trek)

15-20 July 2022
14-19 September 2022
(If the dates listed are not suitable, please contact our team travel@australiangeographic.com or call 0413 560 210 to enquire about alternative dates)
Activity levelIntroductory to moderate.
The trek involves walking 5–7 hours each day over rugged terrain with some steep ascents and descents.
Duration6 days trekking, 5 nights exclusive semi-permanent campsite accommodation
PricesFrom $3285 per person
Group sizeMinimum 14, maximum 16 guests
Featuring regionsLarapinta Trail, Simpsons Gap, Standley Chasm, West MacDonnell Ranges, Ormiston Gorge, Mount Sonder

WHAT TO EXPECT

On this fully supported trek you walk with just a daypack to explore the best sections of this iconic desert trail: from the high ridge lines of the West MacDonnell Ranges you’ll see the vast floodplains that form this ancient land. You’ll be dwarfed by the immensity of Ormiston and Serpentine gorges and soothed by their idyllic waterholes. You’ll be amazed by dramatic colour changes in the rock formations at Simpsons Gap and Standley Chasm… and to top it all off you’ll climb to the lofty peak of Mt Sonder (1380m) to watch the sunrise. At the end of each day we relax in comfort at our architect‑designed camps – including hot showers, comfortable lounges and heated dining shelter – as our guides prepare gourmet 3‑course dinners around the campfire. Our exclusive camps combined with passionate guides, spectacular food, and an unsurpassed itinerary make this tour the ultimate Larapinta experience.

Trip Highlights

  • Trek through the ancient landscape of the West MacDonnell Ranges
  • Summit Mount Sonder for a spectacular sunrise
  • Hike the main highlights including Ormiston Gorge and Standley Chasm
  • Gain a deeper understanding of the ancient Indigenous culture and Traditional Owners of the land
  • Relax in the evenings around a campfire as the guides prepare delicious three-course meals
  • View spectacular and abundant birdlife along the whole trail.

ITINERARY

This trip commences with a COMPULSORY pre-tour briefing at 3:30pm in Alice Springs the day prior to your departure. It is ESSENTIAL that you make your travel arrangements to enable you to attend this briefing.

DAY 1: Telegraph Station to Wallaby Gap (14km)

Walking Time: 5–8 hours

Please advise us which hotel you are staying at so we can arrange your pick up. Alternatively, why not let our friendly team help to recommend a hotel for you to stay in Alice Springs. Pick ups commence from your Alice Springs 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 passage of Wallaby Gap. After a stop for refreshments you take a quick transfer by bus to Nick’s Camp. 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 treated to a spread of local bush foods prepared by local specialist Rayleen Brown.

Lunch and dinner provided.

DAY 2: Nick’s Camp to Simpson’s Gap (7km) then to Standley Chasm (2km)

Walking time: 3–5 hours

From Nick’s Camp we continue west through magnificent, shady Bloodwoods and tall Ironwoods, the dominant trees on this narrow alluvial flat. We may catch sight of black-footed rock wallabies as we approach one of the most important waterholes of the area, Simpsons Gap. A short transfer takes us to the stunning Standley Chasm where you will enjoy a talk about indigenous culture. All departures will journey into Arrernte country for a cultural conversation. After a delicious picnic lunch and a walk into the magnificent chasm – a private reserve still run by the traditional owners – we transfer to back to our campsite.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner provided.

DAY 3: Serpentine Gorge to Charlie’s Camp (16.5km)

Walking Time: 5.5–6.5 hours

Today’s highlight is the 5km walk along the crest of the high ridge leading to Counts Point. From here we have 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 also see the huge comet crater of Gosse Bluff, a feature of the landscape for the next few days. We descend from the high ridgetop through 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. Stepping off the main trail, we follow our private track to 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. Spend the evening relaxing around the campfire while your guides prepare a scrumptious dinner.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner provided.

DAY 4: Charlie’s Camp to Ochre pits (8km)

Walking Time: 3–7 hours

After another wonderful breakfast we walk out of camp to the breathtaking Inarlanga (Echidna) Pass, visiting Serpentine Chalet en route. We spend some time in the magnificent pass to enjoy the peace and marvel at the ancient cycad palms. From here we trek south-west to an original ochre quarry, a sacred Aboriginal site. The rainbow of vibrant colours on the wave-like ochre wall makes for stunning photos. We then break for a picnic lunch and an early finish in preparation for our big day tomorrow. This afternoon you can relax at Glen Helen Homestead Lodge. We transfer west to one of our exclusive Camps. Fearless – named in honour of trekking guide Sue Fear – or Sonder Camp – named after the majestic Mt Sonder. Both camps are located at the foothills of Mt Sonder.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner provided.

DAY 5: Early morning sunrise walk up Mount Sonder 1380m (16km)

Walking Time: 6–7 hours

Your guides will have you up early this morning (2–3am) for our pre-dawn walk up Mt 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! Mt Sonder is the official end and highest point of the entire Larapinta Trail and as such we have expansive views across the entire vast landscape we have been exploring over the last few days. We descend to Redbank Gorge and can enjoy a great brunch back at camp. If time permits in the afternoon we may visit the Glen Helen Homestead at the base of the range where we can relax with a drink. A short transfer returns us to camp looking back up toward Mt Sonder.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner provided.

DAY 6: Ormiston Pound Walk (8km), transfer to Alice Springs

Walking Time: 3–4 hours

This morning we enjoy the best side walk of the entire Larapinta Trail: Ormiston Pound. The Pound offers an immense variety of extraordinary scenery and is the perfect walk to complete our journey. We explore the upper reaches of the gorge where we may see 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.

After lunch we board the bus and transfer to Alice Springs. Sitting back and watching the now familiar ancient desert landscape slide by the bus window gives most trekkers a sense of awe and satisfaction. Congratulations on all you have achieved over the last six days! We will drop you to your Alice Springs accommodation at approximately 4–5pm. This evening your group might like to arrange a celebratory dinner together at one of Alice’s great eateries.

Breakfast and lunch provided.

Is this the right trip for you ? Find out more by reading our important trip notes here.

WHAT’S INCLUDED:

  • 5 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 5 dinners, snacks & hot drinks
  • Exclusive semi‑permanent wilderness campsites
  • Professional wilderness guide & support staff
  • Camping equipment including tents, swags & stretcher beds
  • Fees to Aboriginal Traditional Owners
  • National park fees
  • All transport during the tour
  • Emergency communications & 24 hour back‑up
  • Comprehensive group first aid kit

COSTS DO NOT INCLUDE:

  • Accommodation in Alice Springs before and after the trip
  • Backpack and sleeping bag
  • Domestic or international airfares
  • Travel insurance (which we recommend)
  • Meals/beverages other than specified
  • Tips & gratuities
  • Optional tours/services

COVID-19

We have introduced a range of new safety measures into our operations that address risk minimisation around COVID-19. You can expect:

  • Extra pre-trip screening for travellers
  • All guides following a strict response plan developed by a medical advisor
  • Adjusted groups sizes where required
  • Deep cleaning of vehicles, food preparation areas, sleeping areas and camp sites
  • Stricter safety protocols on vehicle transfers
  • Social distancing measures on the trail 
  • Stringent hygiene procedures around camp cooking
  • Vigilant monitoring of staff health, guides who have shown symptoms will not be leading trips

CONTACT US

Want to know more or register your interest ?

Send us an email to travel@australiangeographic.com or call 0413 560 210.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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