Our Larapinta Trail walk in the Northern Territory is one of our most popular walks. Drawing upon our extensive years of expertise in organising Pack-Free walks along the Larapinta, we’ve crafted an exceptional 5-day itinerary that our guests just absolutely love. Throughout the journey, you’ll spend four nights at our centrally located campsite nestled by the breathtaking Ormiston Gorge, allowing you to take a leisurely stroll to the waterhole and enjoy a rejuvenating swim at the end of each day. Here, walk-in tents will be readied for your arrival, complete with off-ground beds, camping mattresses, and pillows. This, combined with the boundless knowledge of our guides, results in an ideal guided pack-free walk, seamlessly blending adventure with creature comforts.
Notably, this trail has been recognized by National Geographic, earning a spot among the top 20 trekking adventures worldwide. It’s astonishing how this ancient landscape is abundant with natural beauty including magnificent gorges, lofty ridges with breathtaking views, and tranquil waterholes. The Larapinta Trail Walk showcases a repertoire of over 600 plant species, teems with diverse wildlife, and offers glimpses into the world’s longest unbroken cultural heritage – the Arrente People, who have inhabited this region for an astonishing 50,000 years.
Trek the Larapinta with Life’s an Adventure and enjoy a Pack-Free walk with your overnight bags transported for you, leaving you free to walk with as little as water and a camera.
Please note: the only equipment you will need to bring is a sleeping bag which can be hired from us for a fee of $40. Our bags are dry cleaned after every use.
SUGGESTED PRE NIGHT ACCOMMODATION: We suggest the Mercure Alice Springs where we meet on day one.
DEPARTURE TIME: 7.15am
TRAIL NOTES: Walk: Approximately 10kms. 6 hours walking with breaks. Medium grade. Climb 110 metres and descent 110 metres.
TERRAIN: This circuit track begins with a steady climb to the top of the pass. The trail is firm underfoot with loose rocks. After descending down into the Pound there is some dry sandy riverbed crossings with the last 2km of the track leading through a dry river bed which has a mix of boulders and rocks where some light rock scrambling will be required. The terrain is rocky hard surfaces requiring sturdy hiking boots with ankle support.
FLEXIBLE WALKING: After enjoying the Standley Chasm walk we travel to Ormiston Gorge, for those that don’t want to do the Ormiston Pound walk today, enjoy the flexibility to relax at camp where you can swim at Ormiston Gorge waterhole whilst the rest of the group is walking.
WALK ITINERARY: We begin our day in Alice Springs at the Mercure Alice Springs. Here, you’ll meet your guides for a pre-tour briefing before heading to Standley Chasm. On this walk, you’ll venture into a landscape where the jagged formations on both sides have been sculpted over countless millions of years, resulting in a stunning and picturesque effect. As you follow the walking trail to the Chasm and its nearby areas, you’ll have the opportunity to encounter a variety of inhabitants, including a diverse range of bird species, lizards, wallabies, as well as native flowering plants, and ancient cycad palms.
We then 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 a high escarpment overlooking the pound and then we descend into the pound, and across the gorge. 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 that look like Red Lego blocks. You will see ancient pines, river red gums and you may even see the famous Sturt Desert rose. Towards the end of today’s walk is a refreshing water crossing so you may want to pack your swimmers.
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. Enjoy a hot shower and then relax as a delicious dinner served with Australian wine is prepared for your enjoyment.
TRAIL NOTES: Walk: Approximately 16kms. 6 hours walking with breaks. Walk: Hard grade.
TERRAIN: Expect a good physical workout even during the descent off the mountain. The trail is rocky, rugged, hard-surfaced and dry. The trail occasionally disappears although there are markers to follow. Terrain is rocky hard surfaces requiring sturdy hiking boots.
FLEXIBLE WALKING: For those that do not want to walk to the top of Mount Sonder we offer an alternative shorter walk to suit your fitness today. Our second guide will tailor-make the walk to the needs of those choosing this option with several walking options available including a Redbank Gorge walk showcasing it’s pretty chasm and gorge or a shorter version of Mt Sonder.
WALK ITINERARY: 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.
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.
TRAIL NOTES: Walk: Approximately 12kms. 7 hours walking with breaks. Walk: Medium grade.
TERRAIN: A windy and undulating walk from the Gorge to the hilltop lookout. From the lookout onwards the area flattens out a little. There are a number of creek and river crossings to complete, but these are almost always dry. The track is firm underfoot with less rocky sections.
FLEXIBLE WALKING: For those that don’t want to walk today, enjoy the flexibility to relax at camp and have a swim at the waterhole with the option to enjoy a stroll along the short but rewarding Ghost Gum walk at your own pace. The Ghost Gum trail meanders through sandy soil and ghost gums before gaining altitude via steps to reach a viewing platform. It is possible to continue along the path for a longer route along the gorge.
WALK ITINERARY: Today our walk will take us through Ormiston Gorge. 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. We then make our way back to the campsite, allowing time for a swim in the waterhole before the evening meal. Tonight, enjoy a delightful dinner showcasing local ingredients accompanied by Australian wine.
TRAIL NOTES: Walk: Approximately 15kms. 8 hours walking with breaks. Walk: Hard grade.
TERRAIN: A gradual climb over rocky terrain before beginning a steep climb up to the top of the ridge, the climb is supported with well-constructed rock steps. Once up on the ridge this exposed track leads over a rugged rocky clearing with a slight incline all the way to the Counts Point lookout. Coming down off the ridge there is some steep switchbacks and steps. Once off the ridge, you’ll enter a mulga scrub where there are more rocky steps leading down to the valley floor where there is smoother single track, crossing through rocky creeks.
FLEXIBLE WALKING: For those that don’t want to do the Counts Point walk today, we offer an alternative easier walk to suit your fitness. Our second guide will take you on a shorter walk to Serpentine Gorge & Serpentine Gorge lookout. An easy 3km return trip takes you into the sheltered Gorge and waterhole and then onto a short sharp climb to the lookout that enables you to see up the gorge and also over the surrounding parks of the range country. After spending the morning here, you will be transferred back to the campsite.
WALK ITINERARY: 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 the campsite. Tonight, enjoy dinner featuring Australian wine and chat about the day’s adventures.
TRAIL NOTES: Walk: Approximately 8kms. 4 hours walking with breaks. Walk: Medium grade.
TERRAIN: The Trail leads up from the Ochre pits with a rise up and over a small ridge, firm underfoot with lots of loose rocky sections. Once at Inarlanga Pass there is a short section of boulders to navigate over. Following this the track is rocky and undulating with some smoother sections.
FLEXIBLE WALKING: Todays walk is an easy 6.2km from the Ochre pits to Serpentine Chalet with a spectacular morning tea stop at Inarlanga Gorge (one not to be missed) however if you are wanting an alternative option you can enjoy the Ochre pits with the group and then travel with the second guide around to Serpentine Chalet carpark where you will wait for the group to finish their hike
WALK ITINERARY: 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 Macdonnell 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.
Afterwards, we head back to the Mercure Alice Springs Resort in the afternoon, ending this fantastic journey.
Life’s an Adventure would like to acknowledge the original custodians of the land – The Arrente people.
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