Larapinta Trail

The Larapinta trail could easily be seen as the bastion of wilderness trekking adventures in Australia, and even the world. The 223km stretch of hiking track just north of Alice Springs in Northern Territory explores expansive landscapes, which allow you to witness and admire all the miraculous shapes and forms that the Earth is made up of. Marvel at the delicate undulations of huge rock formations, be amazed by the vibrant splendour of Australia’s native flora, enjoy the vast, seemingly never-ending flood plains and revel in the unique isolation of this remote and untamed location.

Just some of the highlights dotting this ethereal track include Simpson’s Gap, Standley Chasm, Serpentine Gorge, Birthday Waterhole, Ochre Pits, Mount Sonder and Finke River. If these words mean nothing to you, simply trust that they offer some of the most beautiful and incredible sites this planet has to offer and will remain in your memory long after you depart it’s sweeping scenery. Or you could simply let the majestic photos speak for themselves. 

Larapinta isn’t for the faint-hearted hiker. With extreme temperatures, large distances, isolated locales and arduous hiking paths, you need to make sure you are organised and prepared before conquering the Larapinta trail. Although there are many driving or one-day walking options, in order to experience the true glory or this wilderness region, completing most or all of the Larapinta trail by foot is by far the favourable option. With a total of 12 sections, the walk can be conducted in whichever sections as slow or as quickly as you desire. There are campsites and water available at each of these 12 sections, with parking, toilets and shelter at most and showers, fire or other more luxurious facilities available at some sites. There are intermediate points at the halfway point of each section with certain facilities, as well as campsites at the beginning/end of the section. You will also see trailheads at the start of each section, detailing what you can expect ahead and providing you with helpful advice on how best to experience it.

Most areas along the trail are accessible by 2WD and have no restrictions when it comes to foot access. And best of all, most of the trails are free, with fees only for some campsites or particular sections of track. The area is recorded to have reached maximum temperatures of up to a sizzling 45ºC during the Summer, yet nights can also drop to near 0ºC. You need to keep in mind that the ares is dry and barren so ensure you prepare adequately to protect yourself from these harsh conditions. You also need to consider that there is limited food available on the journey so remember to bring light but plenty of nutritious foods to keep you going throughout the hike.

If you want to take the planning out of the journey, you can take advantage of tour operators running in the area. Australian Walking Holidays offers 3-14 day toured treks and have been running tours in Larapinta since 1996. World Expeditions also offer a 6 day tour that takes you on all the best parts of the walk and which will completely remove any stress from your shoulders.


About Sam Oldfield

Growing up in Santa Cruz, California, I was a keen surfer and beach junkie from early on. My first overseas trip was to the Caribbean, and I've been chasing the summer sun ever since. I wrapped up my media degree at uni, and decided to move to Australia. The land downunder is full of beaches, babes and brilliant adventures. I'm just hitch-hiking my way around this sunny paradise, one travel blog at a time.
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