Our many years experience running Pack Free walks on the Larapinta has enabled us to create the ultimate 5-day itinerary, that our guests just absolutely love. Combine this with the local knowledge of our indigenous guest guide, an amazing helicopter flight to see the Larapinta from the air, 2 nights at our campsite centrally located at magnificent Ormiston Gorge, 2 nights at the historic Glen Helen Homestead with its restaurant and swimming pool to cool off after a day’s walk and you have a guided Pack Free walk with all the creature comforts.
This trail was voted by National Geographic as one of the top 20 trekking experiences to be had on the planet. Surprisingly this ancient landscape is abundant with natural beauty including magnificent gorges, high ridges with breathtaking views and peaceful waterholes. The Larapinta Trail Walk offers over 600 species of plants, abundant wildlife and glimpses of the longest continuous cultural history in the world, the Arrente People who have been in the region for the last 50,000 years.
Special Indigenous Guest Guide
Life’s an Adventure is proud to work with a local Arrente woman who was born and raised in Alice Springs. We meet with her on day one at Stanley Chasm and learn the Dreamtime story of how the chasm was created and many other insights into local Arrente culture.
“Any person who lives in Australia, and indeed any visitors, should gain some understanding of the indigenous culture and history of Australia. A couple of hours spent with our indigenous guide on the first day of Life’s An Adventure 5-day Larapinta Trail tour was hugely instructive in this regard. Her outlining the cultural connections of the Arrente people of the region very much set the framework for our walk along the Larapinta.” Huw Kingston, Environmentalist- Adventurer, and Speaker
Our day starts in Alice Springs at the Mercure Alice Springs Resort at 7.30am where you will meet your guides for a pre-tour briefing and head for a “Welcome to Country” before exploring famous Stanley Chasm.
We travel to Ormiston Gorge which is one of the main highlights of the West MacDonnell Ranges National Park. Enjoy a beautiful and spectacular walk up to high escarpment overlooking the pound and then we descend into the pound. The walk takes you through a spinifex covered landscape. You will be amazed at the extensive population of wildlife surrounding the many waterholes along the way. Upstream as you walk through the gorge rising spectacularly on either side are cliff faces which look like Red Lego blocks. You will see ancient pines, river red gums and you may even see the famous Sturt Desert rose.
We are very lucky to be able to take advantage of a campsite at beautiful Ormiston Gorge. Today we walk directly into our campsite to find our stand up touring tents erected and your overnight bags waiting in your tent. Take a dip in the refreshing waterhole before dinner, a great way to refresh after your day’s walk. Relax as a delicious dinner served with Australian wine is prepared for your enjoyment. Sit around the campfire, toast marshmallows and chat about the day’s adventure with your new friends.
Climb 110 metres and descent 110 metres
We have carefully planned your journey so that the most challenging day to Mt Sonder (the highest point of the trail) is at the start of the tour when you are fresh and more energetic, then we gradually make each day easier as the tour comes to an end. We start the day early so we can enjoy a glorious walk to Mt Sonder.
European’s were first acquainted with the mountain in the watercolour painting of the famous Aboriginal artist Albert Namatjira. This section’s walk to the summit showcases the stunning colours of the range and amazing views for hundreds of miles into the distance. Initially, we climb through bushland, then the tree’s gradually become more stunted as the track rises on open spinifex covered slopes. At the top, we will enjoy sweeping views of where we have been and record our achievement in the Visitor’s book. The trip to the peak of Mount Sonder comprises an 8km walk from the gorge over rocky and steep terrain suited to fit bushwalkers.
Note: For those not up to walking to the top of Mount Sonder we offer an alternative easier walk.
We return to our campsite with time to have a relaxing swim in the waterhole before dinner. Tonight enjoy a wonderful dinner featuring local produce and Australia wine around the campfire.
Today our walk will take us from the Ormiston Gorge to the Historic Glen Helen Homestead. Our walk starts with a magnificent Red Mallee forest, wildflowers after rains if you’re lucky and a dis-used cattle corral, which reminds us of the past pioneers of this rugged cattle country.
Mount Sonder looming in the distance and plains stretching as far as the eye can see. We descend over gently undulating terrain when we come to the junction of Ormiston and Davenport creeks which is the start of the famous Finke River. The Finke was called Larapinta by the Arentee People which means salt creek and it is one of the oldest watercourses on this planet. We cross the Finke River to the west bank and rise through a patch of river red gums to an open plain. An easy walk leads to the oasis of the Historic Glen Helen Homestead which is our accommodation for the next two nights. Upon arrival enjoy free time to stroll along pretty Glen Helen Gorge take a swim in the homestead pool.
Tonight our group meets in The Homestead’s restaurant for our evening meal. Enjoy hearty pub style Australian wine. Retire to your room with ensuite and reverse cycle air conditioning/heating.
Today we walk section 8 of the Larapinta Trail. We climb to Eagles landing which in the Aboriginal Dreamtime tells the story of an Eagle ancestor who patrolled the range from Ochre pits to Serpentine Gorge.
After a morning tea stop at Eagles landing, we then continue to Counts Point. This vantage point offers a wonderful opportunity to see the overall geology of the ranges. Views along this straight Quartz ridge lines give a spectacular view of Mt Sonder. To the right in the distance is the highest peak in the Northern Territory Mt Zeil. In our opinion the best view along the whole length of the trail. After lunch, we descend the range into the plains to the end of our walk at Serpentine Gorge chalet. We then transfer back to our hotel accommodation at Glen Helen Homestead. Enjoy dinner in the restaurant featuring Australian wine and chat about the day’s adventures.
Today we hike an easy 4 km track along the Song Line of the Arrente track from Ochre pits which connect to Inarlanga Pass. The Ochre pits are still used by the traditional landowners, Arrente people. The track follows high ground to some of the best views of the whole Larapinta trail.
We enter into the Inarlanga Gorge the smoking green fronds of the McDonald ranges Cycads stand out against the glowing red walls of the gorge formed 300 million years ago. The gorge has been the ceremonial place an important watering point for the Western Arrente people for thousands of years. We walk the descent back through spinifex foothills over a low saddle through mulga back to our starting point. We travel back to Alice Springs and finish our journey with an afternoon scenic helicopter flight to see the dramatic landscapes from the air.
On the last day of our walk, we finish our journey with an afternoon scenic helicopter flight from Alice Springs. On this remarkable journey, you will fly the first section of the Larapinta trail from Alice Springs to Simpsons Gap. We take to the air and follow the Todd River to the Telegraph Station and get a bird’s eye view of Mt Gillen and Heavitree Gap before making our way to marvel at the breathtaking Simpsons Gap From the air, you will also see stunning views of the East and West MacDonnell Ranges, parallel ridges spanning out 644kms into the distance from Alice Springs. This flight is a truly remarkable way to finish our Larapinta experience.
A truly inspiring experience. Afterwards, we head back to the Mercure Hotel arriving at approximately 5.30pm, the end of a fantastic journey.
We run regularly scheduled tours from May to August every year. To check real time availability on all our walking tours please see information below. If you after a special group departure date please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
SPOT SPECIAL DATES
Save $200 per person on all of the following dates when you book and pay in full at time of booking.
15 June 2019
22 June 2019
29 July 2019
5 August 2019
12 August 2019
19 August 2019
Departures every Monday in June, July and August 2020.
Spot Specials $200 available on specific departures only.
Spot Special savings of $200 per person see availability page for dates.
| 2019 Spot Special Prices|
$ 2695 /p
|Pack Free Walk|
|Magnificent Helicopter Flight|
|Australian wine served with all dinners|
|4 x dinner including 2 restaurant meals|
|5 lunches & 4 x breakfasts|
|2 x nights camping at beautiful Ormiston Gorge|
|2 x nights at Glen Helen Homestead with ensuites|
|National Park Pass|
|Return transfers to/from Alice Spring to the walk|
|No credit card fees|
Spot Special Savings $2695
Normal Price $2895
Single Supplement $495
PRIVATE GROUPS (10 or more)
Normal Group Price: $2845
We advise taking our Travel Insurance to cover items such as cancellation of tour due to minimum numbers not met, or adverse weather conditions, injury, evacuation, delayed flights, illness, etc. We have organised through NIB Insurance for you to purchase travel insurance directly with them – please click here for details.