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The Larapinta trail weaves through the spectacular backbone of the West MacDonnell Ranges from Alice Springs to one of the highest peaks in Australia’s Red Centre, Mt Sonder.


Described by Australian Geographic as “one of the world’s best long-distance arid-zone walks”, the Larapinta trail weaves through the spectacular backbone of the West MacDonnell Ranges from Alice Springs to one of the highest peaks in Australia’s Red Centre, Mt Sonder.

This vast and spectacular section of the MacDonnell Ranges is an outstanding example of an ancient landscape sculptured over time by climatic extremes. High exposed ridge lines with exhilarating views, lush gorges, dry river valleys and secluded waterholes provide endless scenic pleasure. Our private campsite, located within the National Park is the perfect base from which to walk and explore this awe-inspiring country. We provide luxury fully enclosed swags with mattresses, underlays, cotton sheets, pillows and pillowcases or spacious touring tents offering privacy, two single beds, a rug on the floor and a small reading lamp. They are of standing room height and have space for your luggage. Our three bush showers, eco friendly toiletries and composting toilets are welcome comfort in this remote area. Our stylish safari style living and dining tent is a great place to relax with a book after a sensational day on the trail. Dinner is served either sitting around the open fire under the stars or in our safari tent at our custom-made dining table.

Every evening, our talented trail guides transform into exceptional cooks and food and wine hospitality experts to serve a delicious three course meal, which previous guests have praised as restaurant quality. A selection of boutique wines are served with dinner and non-alcoholic beverages are also available.

Walk carrying only a daypack with expert guides who can interpret and explain to you with their passion the history, geology, rare plants and stunning wildlife of the desert.

What Makes Our Larapinta Trail Tour Unique?

Right from the time you commence this journey with us the quality is evident.

  • Comfort and space in our Mercedes Sprinter bus or Toyota Landcruiser.
  • Sensational food using predominantly organic produce – home made cakes, soups, stocks and snacks. We use the freshest and best quality ingredients available.
  • A choice of premium wines from delicious flinty rieslings, to elegant chardonnays and pinot gris, earthy pinot noirs and rich dark cherry shiraz.
  • A nice cold beer, G&T or Campari and soda for sundowners.
  • Great coffee to get you going in the morning and a beautiful selection of Larson and Thomson teas.
  • Luxury fully enclosed swags with mattresses, underlays, cotton sheets, pillows and pillowcases.
  • The option of being in a tent offering both privacy and standing room with a rug on the floor, a bedside lamp and comfortable beds.
  • Luxury and comfort in our safari style dining and living tent.
  • Three stylish outback showers with eco friendly toiletries.
  • Two composting toilets.
  • Experienced guides who are adept at wearing many hats. They are your hosts, interpreters of the landscape, cooks, carers of blisters and friends for the journey. They may be environmental scientists, chefs or outdoor education specialists. Above all they’re fun – the kind of fun that makes you want to sit around the fire and chat with them or share a beer with at the end of a day on the trail. They are passionate about their work and the environment.
  • We genuinely love and care for the environment in which we are fortunate enough to work and make sure we recycle our bottles and cans, return all our vegetable and fruit scraps to hungry little chooks in Alice each week and all our human waste is removed from the site. At the end of the season we leave no trace of our presence and in fact we work to improve the site through things like our buffel grass eradication program.
  • As part of our arrangements with the Traditional Owners of the land on which we have our semi permanent camp, we pay an annual rental fee and a percentage of our annual turnover to the Traditional Owners.

*Contact us for exclusive use availability for your private group or family trip where we can design a tour specifically with your interests or celebration in mind.

TourDates

Tours depart every Sunday from 5 May 2019.

Availability for 2019:

5 May, 12 May (full), 19 May (limited availability), 26 May (full), 2 June (full), 9 June (full), 16 June, 23 June, 30 June, 7 July (limited availability), 14 July (full), 21 July (full), 28 July (limited availability), 4 August (full), 11 August (limited availability), 18 August, 25 August, 1 September.

Please note the status of availability is updated regularly, but may have changed by the time you enquire.

 

How itUnfolds

DAY Day 1: Standley Chasm - Chewings Range 3kms

After our briefing in Alice Springs on the first morning, we board the bus and head out towards the red ridges of the West MacDonnell Ranges to start our walking adventure at Standley Chasm. After a visit to the peaceful narrow gorges the guides will take you off the beaten track into a portion of section 3 of the Larapinta trail. This is our only opportunity to visit the rugged Chewings Range section of the trail, a less accessible part of the West MacDonnell Ranges.

We then descend to a shady creek bed for lunch before returning to the Chasm area for a Cultural Conversation with Deanella Mack, a local Arrernte woman who was born and raised in Alice Springs. Deanella offers a welcome to country and an insightful introduction to Arunda culture. We then transfer to our private and exclusive campsite for the next five nights.

DAY Day 2: Ormiston Gorge to the Finke River 14 kms

This morning we enjoy a leisurely breakfast before we depart camp and head back to Section 10 of the Larapinta trail. Ormiston Gorge to the Finke River offers a less demanding walk where you can move easily through the landscape at your own pace. Heading west from Ormiston Gorge we travel through the undulating foothills of the range. Views back towards Ormiston in the morning light are an absolute delight. Ahead you will be treated to views of the majestic Rwetyempe/Mt Sonder.

After a peaceful lunch in the shade of the red gums in the sandy riverbed, we follow the river on its western side, past a permanent waterhole with abundant bird life to the Rwetyempe/Mt Sonder lookout. A two-minute transfer takes us to the classic remote Central Australian ‘resort’ Glen Helen, where guests can choose to order a cold beer and enjoy the view across the waterhole to the conglomerate sandstone cliffs, or wander down to the gorge for a spectacular cooling swim beneath the cliff walls.

DAY Day 3: Serpentine Gorge - Counts Point - Serpentine Chalet Dam 16kms

This is another spectacular day of walking with exhilarating views in all directions. Today is one of the more challenging walks, as it offers a chance to climb up onto the range. You are rewarded with impressive views from the ridgeline across to the Chewings Range, and into a dramatic indented valley. After an initial climb the track levels out and runs along the high quartzite ridgetops that typify the West MacDonnell Ranges.

We walk along the ridge to Counts Point where panoramic views stretch across to Mt Zeil, the highest mountain in the Northern Territory. The afternoon takes us steeply off the range. We descend through old growth Mulga forest and through Lomandra Gully - named after this unique Irongrass species endemic to the eastern creek gullies of the West Macs. The final leg of the days walk is on a 4x4 trail, offering gentle walking to stretch out your legs. We then meet the vehicle for a short transfer back to camp.

DAY Day 4: Ochre Pits - Inarlanga Pass - Serpentine Bush Camp 9kms

Today we drive the short distance from our campsite to the Ochre Pits – the site of an Aboriginal quarry. We approach the Larapinta trail on the Arrernte (Aranda) Walk, meandering through the foothills just above creek lines filled with river red gums.

As we approach the range, a rocky pass comes into view. Named after the elusive nocturnal echidna, Inarlanga Pass is a spectacular narrow gorge through the Heavitree Range. We explore the length of this enchanting gorge and settle in under the twisted metamorphic rocks and ancient Cycads for lunch. From here we continue through the foothills of the range to Serpentine Bush Chalet ruins and the remains of the dam that served the 1950s chalet. We then meet our vehicle on the easier terrain of a scenic 4x4 track and drive back to the Epicurious campsite.

DAY Day 5: Redbank Gorge to Rwetyempe/Mount Sonder 16kms

Today is the most rewarding day of the trek as we climb to the peak of Mount Sonder. This morning is an early start, but it is worth it when you reach the summit and are greeted with some of the most spectacular views in the West MacDonnells.

The first 3kms climbs steeply, however once the ridge is gained the walking gets easier and the views continue to expand. The last leg to the summit is steeper, but offers a truly stunning vantage of Central Australia.

DAY Day 6: Ormiston Gorge - Ormiston Pound Walk 9kms

Today we take a relaxing walk through Ormiston Gorge and around the beautiful escarpment of Ormiston Pound. We start the walk at the mouth of the gorge and waterhole. The walk then takes us through the rolling spinifex covered hills and rocky floral gullies to the lip of Ormiston Pound where a lookout offers wonderful views of the remarkable formation below.

We enjoy lunch somewhere on the meandering Ormiston Creek before we make our way slowly through the rocky gorge. Towards the end of the gorge is a permanent pool of water that is sometimes deep enough to warrant wading through; a perfect way to refresh tired feet after a long walk. From here we gently climb the contours of the gorge wall along the aptly named Ghost Gum Walk, which offers stunning views back into the gorge.

Following a short break to recuperate, we climb into the bus for the last time and head back into Alice Springs. We get back into Alice around 4-5pm, and drop you off at your respective accommodations.

Meet your Guide:

Larapinta trail guides

Three of our talented guides from 2018 – Adrien Butler, Sam Bray and Elizabeth Chandler. Outstanding individuals with incredible diversity…

Meet more of our guides

Interested in thisJourney?

Contact us for bookings and enquiries.

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GuestStories

  • The Larapinta tour by Epicurious travel was exceptional value for money. The country is stunningly beautiful and the walks well organised and manageable (I am 70!). The young tour guides were very knowledgeable about the geology, history, Aboriginal stories and beliefs, the flora and fauna and bird life. I loved the campsite and having delicious meals around the fire at night before heading off to a comfy bed in my tent. The three guides were one of the highlights of our tour.

    Fiona Stanley – Larapinta trail

  • From the first day pick up to the final day drop off we thoroughly enjoyed this trip. The organisation was first class-we felt spoiled every day by our guides who were friendly, knowledgeable and great company.  After enjoyable daily walks, a hot shower, afternoon drinks and amazing evening meals and wine, who could ask for more!!

    John and Robyn McCambridge – Larapinta trail May 2018

  • I will always remember the mountain ranges and bluffs glowing red and purple in the sunshine. And the sky was so amazingly blue and the ghost gums brilliant white. The guides knew and loved the Larapinta trail. The food and booze were fabulous and the camp and hot shower at the end of the day just wonderful!

    Charles Barfield – Larapinta trail May 2018

  • This trip combines challenging walks with the comfort of a fantastic base camp with everything that is needed. The guides do a wonderful job.

    Lyn Valentine – Larapinta trail May 2018

  • What a wonderful way to see the highlights of the Larapinta trail! We enjoyed the spectacular scenery of the Western McDonnell Ranges with experienced and friendly guides, a comfortable campsite and fantastic food. Thanks!

    Wendy Lin – Larapinta trail May 2018

  • Great sights, exhilarating experience combined with excellent food and wine! True glamcamping for those who want the adventure but in a comfortable stay.

    Angelo Pietromonaco – Larapinta trail June 2018

  • This trip was stunning. The Larapinta is so spectacularly beautiful and EpiCurious made everything comfortable and easy. I have trekked in Nepal, Patagonia and Switzerland and this is up there with the best of those trips.
    Apart from the landscape, the standout was the extraordinary guidance and support of the staff on the trip. They were so capable, knowledgable and kind.

    Meredith Sussex Larapinta trail June 2018

  • The trip was well planned and led. It lived up to its promises with a good standard of camping and very good food, and well planned days. The tour guides were extremely attentive, making sure everything went as planned. They were also informative and understanding of different fitness levels in the group.

    Kevin Johnston – Larapinta trail June 2018

  • Thank you to our fabulous guides who, as well as being great cooks, the soul of patience and knowledgable about everything the trail made sure we had lots of laughs and had a great time. Lots of breathtaking scenery and a wonderful week.

    Jenny Firman – Larapinta trail tour

  • We all had a wonderful adventure and holiday on our recent trip. The campsite was beautifully set up and comfortable, the food was excellent and our guides and hosts Jen, Adrienne and Rosie were brilliant.

    Sue Hilder – Larapinta trail June 2018

  • Thank you Epicurious! We loved our Larapinta adventure – one of our best holidays ever. The landscapes, the walks and the food and wine were all awesome. Our three guides were also informative, excellent cooks and great fun.

    Melinda Hunt – Larapinta trail 2016

  • I had not been to central Australia before this trip and I had heard nothing but praise for Epicurious and the walk so my expectations were high.
    Everything was great – staff in the Melbourne office, the excellent guides, great camp set up, the walks schedules, the food and wine of course !! And the swags and the stars …..
    We were lucky as our group was terrific. We were lucky with the weather as it was neither too cold nor too hot. Absolute bonus – no phone calls, no news, no screens
    Best of all though is the West MacDonnell Range – better than anything I had imagined.
    Worst thing – I took my first selfie ( and probably last) which was extremely unkind……
    Thanks Epicurious – I hope we meet again.

    Barbara Murphy – Larapinta trail July 2017

  • I really enjoyed exploring parts of the Larapinta Trail through the eyes of EPiCURIOUS.
    Every hike was special in its own way – each day was different and catered for the range of hiking skills and stamina.
    The guides were helpful, skilled and friendly.
    Of course the food was really good and the campsite was lovely.

    Yvana Jones Larapinta trail July 2018