A Yomads consultant will contact you to discuss your menu, food drops, gear and trek briefing time prior to the departure of your trip. You will need to select six joining trail sections for your tour from the full list below. Please note all sections you choose must run in sequence, ie 3-8, 7-12.
Day 1 - Alice Springs to Simpson's Gap
Day 2 - Simpson's Gap to Jay Creek
Day 3 - Jay Creek to Standley Chasm
Day 4 - Standley Chasm to Birthday Waterhole
Day 5 - Birthday Waterhole to Hugh Gorge
Day 6 - Hugh Gorge to Ellery Creek
Day 7 - Ellery Creek to Serpentine Gorge
Day 8 - Serpentine Gorge to Serpentine Chalet
Day 9 - Serpentine Chalet to Ormiston Gorge
Day 10 - Ormiston Gorge to Finke River/Glen Helen
Day 11 - Finke River and Redbank Creek
Day 12 - Mount Sonder, return to Alice Springs
Day 1: Alice Springs to Simpson's Gap
Walking begins at the Alice Springs Telegraph Station, which also marks the beginning of the Larapinta Trail itself. The stone buildings here date back to 1872 and housed the first Europeans to live in Central Australia. The trail begins by winding among the boulders of Alice Springs Granite, the highest of which offer fine views of the town and Mt Gillen. Passing through Witchetty Bush and Mulga scrub, the trail goes over exposed hills and shady woodlands before a break for lunch at Wallaby Gap. Heading west, we follow the trail through magnificent Bloodwoods and tall Ironwoods, the dominant trees on this narrow flat. You may catch sight of a shy Echidna or Black-footed Rock Wallaby during the approach to Simpson's Gap and the first campsite.
Day 2: Simpson's Gap to Jay Creek
From Simpson's Gap, walk through pleasant, grassy flats and low, rocky hills bearing the scars of early cattle grazing, evidence of the fragility of this arid environment. Graceful Ghost Gums are also seen on this section, coated in a white powder with powerful antiseptic properties used by Aborigines. One of the most peaceful parts of the trail is Spring Gap at the waterhole. From there, walk on through the everchanging countryside to the idyllic camp at Jay Creek.
Day 3: Jay Creek to Standley Chasm
Leaving Jay Creek you are on sacred ground, where the Aboriginal custodians ask that you walk only in the creek bed. Today's walk is nothing short of spectacular, continuing through varied terrain dotted with Mulga and Witchetty Bush to Tangentyere Junction. Here the track diverges to follow the ridgeline above the Finke River. After a lunch at Millers Flat, climb through rocky terrain and descend into Standley Chasm from the north.
Day 4: Standley Chasm to Birthday Waterhole
From Standley Chasm, follow the spectacular Bridle Trail, an old trading route used by the region's early settlers. The ridgeline to Brinkley's Bluff provides superb views of the spine effect created by the West MacDonnells. After lunch, take on a steep descent to the campsite at Birthday Waterhole.
Day 5: Birthday Waterhole to Hugh Gorge
Today's walk requires an early rise for one of the most challenging and rewarding sections on the trail. Head into Paisley Gorge before moving on to Spencer Gorge, an excellent spot to stop for lunch. The afternoon trek is a journey on rough spinifex through the semi-arid region, allowing breathtaking views of Hugh Gorge, the next campsite.
Day 6: Hugh Gorge to Ellery Creek
Staying on the south side of the range, whose soaring presence dominates the vistas of this stage, we move through lower level woodlands and spinifex. End the day's walk at the campsite at Ellery Creek with some well deserved rest and relaxation.
Day 7: Ellery Creek to Serpentine Gorge
Today you will be walking through the vertical-spined dolomite country of the Bitter Springs formation. These 800 million year old rocks contain fossilised stromatolites, the cyanobacteria that were amongst the first life forms on Earth. Arriving to camp mid-afternoon gives you the opportunity to relax or wander at leisure around the hills of Serpentine Gorge.
Day 8: Serpentine Gorge to Serpentine Chalet
This section of the trail holds breathtaking views as you walk along the high quartzite ridgelines that typify the West MacDonnell Ranges. Ascend to Counts Point where you are able to take in clear views of Central Australia's western horizon, past Mt Zeil and Mt Sonder and as far as the comet crater of Gosse Bluff. Descend through mysterious old Mulga to the next camp at Serpentine Chalet.
Day 9: Serpentine Chalet to Ormiston Gorge
An early start is required to fit in all of the highlights of this section of the trail. This trek takes you into the rugged heart of the country on a track only opened to the public as recently as 1997. The ascent to 1088m is challenging but well worth the reward of the views across the Alice Valley to the stunning peak of Mt Giles.
Day 10: Ormiston Gorge to Finke River/Glen Helen
A shorter section of the trail, this walk leads to the head of the Finke River. After arriving at the river and campsite, there's time to wander down to Glen Helen and the opportunity for a worthwhile 'remote' beer.
Day 11: Finke River and Redbank Creek
Today's section has views dominated by the bulk of Mt Sonder, whose colours change throughout the day. Begin by heading northwest through a sea of spinifex and cross Davenport Creek, a tributary of the Finke River. Climbing over a low section of the range, descend into Rocky Bar Gap for a break before heading west. You will pass under the flanks of Mt Sonder, walking through dense Mulge and Mallee woodland until you reach the beautiful Redbank Creek and campsite.
Day 12: Mount Sonder, return to Alice Springs
It is recommended that you get an early start for your ascent of Mt Sonder. Starting the walk early means you can complete the climb in the cool morning air before the sun heats up the landscape. Viewing the country from the top of the peak, knowing that you have climbed to one of the highest points of the Great Dividing Range, is a memorable moment and highlight of the Larapinta journey. On completion of this section, transfer to Alice Springs where the trip ends.