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Larapinta Trail Self Guided

from $ 1059

Trek Australia's Larapinta Trail at your own pace and experience the natural wonders of the Red Centre

Trip Dates

Trip Highlights

  • Explore the unique landscapes of the Australian Outback
  • Experience the stunning West MacDonnell Ranges at your own pace
  • Wilderness camp under the stars
  • Enjoy the flexibility that a self guided trek provides
  • Tailor the trip to your needs by selecting your own route within trail sections 1 to 12
  • Take the hassle out of planning with high quality gear, lightweight food and transportation pre-arranged for you
  • Trip departs daily between 1 April and 30 September

Brief Itinerary

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

Sweat Level


Fitness is an important aspect of our trips and the fitter you are the more easily you will adjust and enjoy yourself. The trip has been assigned a Sweat Level of ‘Moderate to Hardcore’. Trips with this grading include activities such as trekking with a full pack, cycling extended distances over multiple days or trekking at altitudes between 4000 and 5000m for up to seven hours a day. When a full pack is involved, it will weigh approximately 15 to 20kg. These trips require a strong level of fitness and health. In preparation of the trip, we recommend you engage in an hour of aerobic exercise three to four times a week, as well as extended walks with a pack on the weekends, for three months prior to departure. Training in variable weather is recommended.

When To Go

In the Red Centre, the four traditional seasons are more distinct and temperatures are extreme, plummeting below freezing on winter nights (June to August) and reaching 40°C on summer days (December to January). Trekking on winter days is often pleasant with mild daytime temperatures and light winds. The shoulder seasons of April to May and September are mild with warmer days. Night frosts occur most evenings from June to August, making it crucial that you are prepared for cold evenings during this time. Rain is not common in the desert although it does rain on occasion, so you should be prepared for wet and windy conditions at any time.

Trip Inclusions

  • 5 x breakfast, 6 x lunch, 5 x dinner
  • High quality gear including a backpack, backpack liner, tent, sleeping bag and bag liner, sleeping mat, wet weather jacket, stove and cookset, fuel and utensils
  • Off-road transport between Alice Springs and the start and end points of your trek
  • National park and camping fees
  • Emergency communications (EPIRB)
  • Full set of trail maps and route descriptions
  • Professional pre-trek briefing

Need help with flights?

Let one of our travel consultants know if you're interested in airfare or stopover ideas to Alice Springs and they'll send a detailed quote your way.

Detailed Itinerary

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.

Distance: 23km

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.

Distance: 24km

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.

Distance: 13km

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.

Distance: 17km

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.

Distance: 18km

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.

Distance: 31km

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.

Distance: 14km

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.

Distance: 19km

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.

Distance: 29km

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.

Distance: 13km

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.

Distance: 26km

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.

Distance: 16km


The itinerary should be seen as a guide only. This itinerary may change at any time due to inclement weather, forces of nature and other circumstances beyond our control. Prices are valid up to 30/9/2017. For trips departing after this date, the price will likely increase subject to local inflationary pressures on operational costs.

The Sweat Level

  • Moderate to Hardcore
Easy – these are pretty relaxed and are suitable for most fitness levels. Expect though to push a little outside of your comfort zone with the included activities, but they are not for lengthy durations.

Moderate - these will include cycling, walking, kayaking and other activities which will put a sweat on the brow. You should do some pre trip training like going to the gym, jogging, brisk walking or cycling at least 3 times weekly for months before you go to get your fitness level up.

Hardcore - these will include sustained walking or cycling over multiple days and that means you’ll need to get into a great fitness regime before your trip. The best preparation you can do is day walks or cycle trips one a fortnight that build your endurance fitness coupled with some hour long ‘cardio’ workouts up to 3 times a week, and continue this for 3 months before departure.

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