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Breathtaking views along the Larapinta Trail.
Breathtaking views along the Larapinta Trail.
Natural splendour - water, rock and rich greenery.
Close and personal with the wildlife.

Larapinta Trail

Thursday, August 24, 2000
Let Sorrel take you down the Larapinta Trail, trekking through some of the most beautiful scenery in the Northern Territory.

The Larapinta Trail runs through the West MacDonnell National Park, along the backbone of the West MacDonnell Ranges.

This mountain range is the world's oldest. Eight hundred million years ago it was higher than the Himalayas. Over the centuries the wind and sun have taken their toll and the contours are worn and raw, but somehow you can still feel the old spirit.

There are two different grade treks - an eight-day moderate grade and a 14-day challenge. About half the trail is marked and a maximum of eight/minimum of five fellow hikers walk about six to eight hours a day.

A vehicle with a trailer carrying camping and cooking gear meets the group at the end of each day, so all you need to carry is a day pack. Accommodation is basic; you can choose between sleeping in a tent or in a swag, right under the stars.

The trail starts at the Old Telegraph Station just north of Alice Springs, close to the geographic centre of Australia. This historic stone building housed the first Europeans to live in central Australia.

The first section is pretty easy going, meandering over relatively flat, red ground, through mulga and witchetty bushes and granite boulders. This section of the trail follows the Aboriginal Dreaming track of the euro or hill kangaroo. Scattered through the Northern Territory, euros have adapted to the arid region by having a low water intake and short snout.

To see the view from the Ormiston rim you need to climb 1080 metres, then you get to see the magnificent sight of Mt Giles on Chewings Range, Mt Zeil, Mt Sonder and Mt Razorback, which is part of the West MacDonnells.

From Wallaby Gap to Simpson's Gap the walk is through tall shady blondwoods and ironwoods. Spend some time at Scorpion Pool for bird-watching and cooling off. On the way to Jay Creek, the walk is through grassy flats, low rocky hills and graceful ghost gums.

After Jay Creek you are on sacred land and the custodians ask that walking is done only in the creek bed. The track follows the ridgeline above the Finke River and goes under towering escarpments.

Mt Sonder is one of the trip's more memorable points - from its summit is a bird's-eye view over central Australia.

Palm Valley is home to 3000 cabbage palms, which usually need lots of water to flourish, so it is most unusual to find them growing in such quantity in one of the earth's most arid and inhospitable regions.

Water for personal use on the walk is limited and while there are some pit toilets along the way, mostly you need to dig a hole.


Thirty minutes west of Alice Springs.


World Expeditions has eight-day trek packages, including a guide, all meals and equipment, starting at $1419 per person.
Treks run from May to September.
Please note prices are valid at time of transmission and to the best of our knowledge are inclusive of GST.

More information

World Expeditions
441 Kent Street, Sydney 2000
Ph: (02) 9264 3366 Fax: (02) 9261 1974
Toll Free: 1300 720 000
Best Western: 13 1779
Qantas: 13 1313

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