The rugged, ancient landscape of the Larapinta Trail creates a platform for one of the most spectacular multi-day hiking experiences in Australia. You’ll walk across the high ridge lines of the West MacDonnell Ranges the perfect vantage point to admire the vast desert plains of this ancient land.
You’ll be dwarfed by the immensity of Ormiston and Serpentine gorges and get to take a plunge in the idyllic waterholes. You’ll be amazed by dramatic colour changes in the rock formations at Glen Helen Gorge and Standley Chasm. Experience a rare perspective of the entire length of the entire West MacDonnell Ranges in the crisp clean light at dawn as you ascend Mt Sonder. Importantly the walk takes us through land which has been, and continues to be, sacred to the Arrernte Aboriginal people since the dreamtime.
Auswalk 7 Day Larapinta Trail walk is for both experienced hikers seeking a spectacular challenge and for those who just want to experience the beauty of the Larapinta desert ranges. With 2 guides we can offer an easier walk each day for those that want it. It’s a way of experiencing the splendid isolation and remoteness of the most spectacular parts of the Larapinta Trail but with full support. You carry just a day pack, you walk with a guide and you’ll stay in comfort each night. Importantly our guides are passionate, highly experienced, who deliver world class interpretation a while still making sure that you have a lot of fun.
The walk involves challenging walking of between 4 to 9 hours each day, across very rocky terrain and ridgelines, with steep ascents and descents.
This trip starts and finishes in Alice Springs.
The walking is mostly moderate but altitudes between 650m to 1355m at Mount Sonder and elevation gain of 702m on that day. This trip operates with two guides so we can offer easier and harder walk options on most days.
Remote and iconic Glen Helen Homestead Lodge and the Mercure Alice Springs (Formerly the Chifley Hotel).
All inclusive package of two guides, all transport from Alice Springs, 6 nights accommodation, 6 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 6 dinners, National Park fees, insulated lunch bag, silicone lunch box and ice pack, maps & map case & info pack.
Alcohol, meals not listed in itinerary, drinks with meals (except tea/coffee and juice with breakfast).
This environment is only suitable to walk from May to August as it is too hot at other times. Nights are generally significantly cooler than day time temperatures. please ensure you bring warm clothing for the evenings. The climate is marked by very low humidity. Please ensure you have at least 2L capacity for water on the walk, as this will be necessary.
See the Bureau of Meteorology information about average temperatures and rainfall at different times of the year.
The area is noted for fresh dates, Australian game meats, tropical fruit and bush tucker.
After meeting in Alice Springs, we will drive west along Larapinta Drive, and then Namatjira Drive through the West MacDonnell National Park towards Ormiston Gorge. We will stop at Ellery Creek Big hole for a short leg stretch and trip briefing.
The Ormiston Pound circuit walk is on a moderate track and takes around 4 hrs. This walk often described as one of the best day walks in Australia, and is an amazing introduction to the incomparable Desert Ranges of central Australia. Leaving Ormiston gorge, the walk heads into low hills surrounding Ormiston Pound, stopping first at a serene lookout and then heading down into the pound itself and meeting the ancient Ormiston creek river. We then follow the Ormiston creek into an incredible lunch spot in the Ormiston gorge insert, surrounded by towering red rock cliffs.
Following lunch, we rock hop down the gorge and then gradually climb up to the Iconic Ghostgum lookout looking over the main waterhole and then descend back to our starting spot. From here, there will be time to laze by the Ormiston gorge waterhole with an ice cream, grab a coffee at the kiosk, or have a refreshing swim in the cool, clear waterhole.
Total km 7km, 4 hours
Today we visit Counts Point which is one of the iconic and unbeatable view points in Central Australia. The first few kilometres of this walk are quite easy and level until we reach the base of the Heavitree Range. We then climb up to the crest of the ridge at Eagles Landing and are rewarded by uninterrupted views stretching to the horizon on all sides. Towards the end of the ridge, we reach Counts Point and stop for a well earned lunch break with outstanding views.
After leaving the lookout, we then descend off the ridge via a spectacular spur, which is steep, but with very good track work it’s not a problem. We drop into the lovely shaded Lomandra gully for a rest on our descent. The last few kilometres of the walk are along an easy, flat bush track.
Total km 13km, 7 hours
We commence the walk near the old Serpentine Chalet. Turning west, we walk for two kilometres in the low foothills to the start of the Inarlunga Pass. We then rock hop up into the Pass where we have lunch, surrounded by Cycads and fascinating red quartzite cliffs.
Following lunch, we may head out into the Hidden Valley beyond Inarlunga depending on time and inclination. Retracing our steps down the gorge, we then continue west and walk 3km to the beautiful Ochre Pits and learn about the cultural significance of this place to the Aranda people.
Total km 8km, 6 hours
For today’s walk we will start at the nearby Ormiston Gorge. Today’s walk follows the low foothills and plains overlooking the Davenport and Finke rivers. We stop along the way at a spectacular lookout and rest while we enjoy the amazing views on all sides. We then drop down to meet the Finke river where we rest in the shade of magnificent River Red Gums for lunch.
After lunch, we follow the riverbed down for another 1.5km to where we reach the Two Mile Campground where there is a lovely swimming hole. A place to relax for a while before heading home – a short drive away.
Total km 10km, 5 hours
Today we will leave very early so as to catch the sunrise. The ridge we walk on is very exposed and hot in the middle of the day. So we start super early to avoid the heat and to take advantage of the sunrise and the best light of the day.
After 500m of easy walking, we reach the start of the climb onto the ridge leading up to Mt Sonder. This will be the steepest part of the climb today. Taking short, regular breaks, we will reach the main ridge and head along it to the 3km mark lookout where we will see the magnificent dawn spreading across the landscape below.
From here the next few km are a gradual climb until we reach a short sharp descent where we will stop for snacks and then start climbing again towards the summit. The final kilometre is much easier climbing. Here we have brunch and a cuppa and celebrate. We then return, enjoying the views below us as we descend. Once back near the trailhead we will have a picnic lunch in the river bed and take a well earned rest in the shade.
Total km 16km, 8 hours
At Serpentine Gorge we commence our easy, flat, 1 hour return walk into the beautiful Serpentine Gorge, where we rest in the shade and peacefully enjoy the reflections on the ancient rock and spot birds coming to drink at the waterhole.
The next stage of the walk is a short climb up to the lookout looking down into the ancient and spectacular upper reaches of the gorge. This is also a great chance to search for Black Footed Rock wallabies which call the cliffs of the gorge their home. This lookout is a great place to contemplate the 6 days of walking and what you’ve achieved
Returning the same way, we hop in the bus and head to Standley Chasm nestled in the Chewings Range. Standley Chasm, known as Angkerle Atwatye to the Aranda people is located in a private nature reserve owned by the Iwupataka Land Trust and is operated by Aboriginal family members of the local Traditional Owners. This is a really lovely walk and indicative of the terrain encountered on the 6 days a great way to finish this amazing journey.
Total km 8km, 5 hours
The trip ends with a relaxed breakfast at the hotel.