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Larapinta Trail

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Officially opened in April 2002, this walking trail cover a total of 223 km, that runs along the backbone of the West MacDonnell Range and through the spectacular MacDonnell Range National Park. Starting just west of Alice Springs, the trail runs through to Mount Sonder, allowing the opportunity to experience the beauty and vastness of the landscape along the way.

The trail is actually composed of 12 sections making up the 223 km, that allow the visitor to experience anything from a one to a three day walk, or for the more adventurous to actually do the entire trail, billed as an energetic two-week adventure.

Standley Chasm section of the Larapinta Trail © Ausemade Pty Ltd

The first section opened in 1990 is the most popular walk, due to the ease of access. This is a 23 km overnight walk from the Telegraph Station to Simpsons Gap. The western parts of this section pass through the catchment head of the Finke River, believed to be one of the world’s oldest rivers, having taken shape over 100 million years ago. The section ends on one of central Australia’s highest peaks, Mount Sonder, and at 1,380 m offers fantastic views. A bush walker’s camping area, with basic facilities, has been established about halfway at the scenic Wallaby Gap.

Bush walkers can join or leave the trail at a number of access points at various intervals along its route. Trail markers guide you on route and there are camping sites with basic facilities at the more frequently used sections of the trail. Elsewhere the campsites will be marked, but no facilities provided. Campers and bush walkers should abide by the “carry in, carry out” principle of taking all rubbish with you.

If carrying a big pack does not appeal to you, there are other options including tours, where you are met at night by dinner and a swag.

For more information contact the:

Information Centre

Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory - Alice Springs Region
NT Parks and Wildlife Commission also have some PDF documents available from their website:

Larapinta Trail Information Sheet

Check out the Parks and Wildlife Service NT for the latest and most up-to-date information on the Larapinta Trail package.
Drinking water is a key consideration and walkers are advised to carry at least a two day supply of water (recommended 8 litres / 4 litres per day for an adult - plus extra water in case of emergencies). If you are planning to walk in the warmer periods, then more water may be required.

It is strongly advised that walking the Trail should only be attempted between April and October, as temperatures in Central Australia outside this period are very high.

Walkers are also advised leave details with friends or family and to use the ‘Overnight Walkers Registration Scheme’.

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Larapinta Trail Sections

The 223 km Larapinta Trail weaves along the West MacDonnell Range, linking Alice Springs with the craggy summit of Mount Sonder (at 1,380 m). Following is an approximate distance breakdown of each section. For latest up-to-date information, check out Parks and Wildlife Commission website.
Section 1
• 23.8 km — medium
Alice Springs Telegraph Station to Simpson Gap
— overnight walk
Section 2
• 24.5 km — medium
Simpsons Gap to Jay Creek
— overnight walk
Section 3
• 13.6 km — hard
Jay Creek to Standley Chasm
— overnight walk
Section 4
• 17.7 km — hard
Standley Chasm to Birthday Waterhole
— overnight walk
Section 5
• 16 km — very hard
Birthday Waterhole to Hugh Gorge
— overnight walk
Section 6
• 31.2 km — medium
Hugh Gorge to Ellery Creek
— overnight walk
Section 7
• 13.8 km — hard
Ellery Creek to Serpentine Gorge
— day walk
Section 8
• 13.4 km — hard
Serpentine Gorge to Serpentine Chalet Dam
— overnight walk
Section 9
• 28.6 km — hard
Serpentine Chalet Dam to Ormiston Gorge
— overnight walk
Section 10
• 9.9 km — medium
Ormiston Gorge to Finke River
— day walk
Section 11
• 25.2 km — hard
Finke River to Redbank Gorge
— overnight walk
Section 12
• 15.8 km — hard
Redbank Gorge to Mount Sonder and return
— day walk
Mount Sonder... part of the Larapinta Trail © Ausemade Pty Ltd

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Larapinta Trail Attractions

Some must see and do’s include:
Ormiston Rim
A climb of 1,080 m, from here you get to see Mount Giles on the Chewings Range, Mount Zeil, Mount Sonder and Mount Razorback, part of the West MacDonnell Range.

See our section on Ormiston Gorge & Pound.
Wallaby Gap to Simpson's Gap
A walk through shady blondwoods and ironwoods and stop off at Scorpion Pool for a bit of bird-watching and to cool off. See our section on Simpson's Gap.
Jay Creek
The route from Simpson’s Gap to Jay Creek is through grassy flats, low rocky hills and ghost gums. After Jay Creek you are on sacred land. The custodians ask that you walk only in the creek bed. The track follows the ridgeline above the Finke River and passes under towering escarpments.
Mount Sonder
From its summit you get a view over the spectacular Central Australia region. You can see some images of Mount Sonder on Snapshots from Australia: Glen Helen and Snapshots from Australia: Mount Sonder.

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Larapinta Trail Safety

Walkers are advised to pick up the appropriate pamphlet prior to attempting any section of the trail.

For your safety register details of your walk by telephoning the Walker Registration Scheme.

Safety Pre-trip Preparations
Following points are for your own safety:
  • Register details of your walk by telephoning the Walker Registration Scheme.
  • Arrange return transport before you depart.
  • Carry and drink at least 8 litres of water per person per day.
  • Do not attempt long walks in hot weather (November to March).
  • Take warm clothing and a sleeping bag if you are camping during the freezing winter nights (May to September).
  • Walk with at least two others so that an injured person is not left alone.
  • Know emergency procedures.
  • Carry a first aid kit and be capable of providing basic first aid.
Walker Preparation
Walkers and the group attempting any part of the trail should also be prepared with the following:
  • A shady hat
  • Sunscreen lotion.
  • A number of strong water containers to carrying your individual water requirements.
  • Sturdy footwear for rocky conditions.
  • The relevant pamphlet(s) for the section(s) you are walking.
  • First aid kit and manual.
  • Loose-fitting, cotton clothing
  • Binoculars for observing wildlife.
  • Warm clothing for freezing winter nights.
  • Extra food and water for unexpected delays.

Source: Parks and Wildlife Service, Northern Territory

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Larapinta Trail Tours

NT ToursOutback  • EcoAdventureNational Tours
Trek LarapintaTrek Larapinta
• ALICE SPRINGS NT 0870 • Ph: 08 8953 2933 • Fax: 08 8953 2913 • Email
(We may be out on the trail and will need a few days to respond to your contact - be it phone/fax/email. Please be patient.)
Walking tours on the Larapinta Trail. Trek Larapinta specialises in tailor made walks. Our walking calendar is largely shaped by group bookings for 4 to 7 people made well in advance. With enough notice we can schedule walks for just 2 or 3 people and add others to them. Alternatively, you may be able to slot into an already scheduled walk.
World Expeditions Australasia Adventures
• Toll Free: 1300 720 000 • see website for full contact list
World Expeditions operate a number of Larapinta Trail packages.
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Larapinta Trail Other Links

• Larapinta Trail Community/Local Government Links
• Larapinta Trail Community Links
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