9 Day Larapinta Trail Trek

Tjoritja National Park, Northern Territory


Beginning our trek near the eastern end of the trail and ending on the summit of Mt Sonder, the 9 day Larapinta Trail trek is a selection of highlights along the trail, allowing you to enjoy some of the most spectacular views from ridges, gorges, mountain peaks and within Ormiston Pound. The trail around Standley Chasm offers stunning rugged landscapes that only a privileged few are able to explore with permission from the traditional owners.

Tourism Central Australia logo

The 9 day trek will appeal to the active day pack walker that has the extra time to explore some of the more challenging and spectacular parts of the Larapinta Trail, in addition to what is experienced on the 6 day trek. The trek involves moderate to challenging walking of between 5 to 8 hours each day, across uneven terrain with some steep ascents and descents.

For each day’s hike on this rugged world class track, you carry just a day pack. We create these trips to be an informative experience as well as a walk through the unique terrain, as we seek to share our knowledge of the place and provide all you need to have an active yet comfortable holiday. You walk with a guide for the day’s trek, with the support guide collecting and transferring you to camp each day, where you can relax while Trek Larapinta caters for your needs.

Being a small, boutique business, we remain keenly aware that we rely on the health of our environment. It sustains us and we, in turn, seek to sustain it. On the 9 day trek two beautiful private eco-bushcamps are your home for the trek – the first two nights are spent near Standley Chasm, and on day 3 you move to our camp in the Ormiston Gorge region. Both camps offer comfortable accommodation in secluded pristine natural settings with spacious tents, covered kitchen and communal area, washing area, waterless composting toilets, campfires, and solar generated water heating, lighting and food refrigeration. We know it’s a privilege for us to be here. We seek to tend our camps as best we can with minimal impact practices and share these ways with you.

Itinerary Summary

Day 1 : Pick up Alice Springs, explore section 3 and Standley Chasm | 8-10kms
Day 2 : Hike section 4 from Standley Chasm to Brinkley Bluff and return | 20kms
Day 3 : Hike section 7 from Ellery Creek to Serpentine Gorge | 14kms
Day 4 : Trek section 8 Serpentine Gorge to Serpentine Chalet Dam, including Counts Point | 15kms
Day 5 : Explore the Ochre Pits, walk part of section 9 including Inarlanga Pass | 12-14kms
Day 6 : Hike section 11a from Rocky Bar Gap to Finke River | 15kms
Day 7 : Walk section 10 Ormiston Gorge to Finke River | 11kms
Day 8 : Summit Mt Sonder | 16kms
Day 9 : Walk Ormiston Pound and Gorge, return to Alice Springs | 8kms


Travelling with us, you know you’re coming with a boutique business that specialises in the Larapinta Trail. The experience of being in this ancient landscape can be powerful and refreshing. By offering fully-supported camping and interpretive guiding, Trek Larapinta aims to facilitate this experience for you. All the organisation, transport, food preparation, camping and catering equipment and other logistics are taken care of for you, so you can connect with this landscape in a calm, relaxed way and get the most out of your holiday in this amazing part of Australia.

  • All camping equipment including sleeping bag, swag, pillow, bed linen and top of the range spacious tent.
  • All catering equipment.
  • 8 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 8 dinners.
  • All delicious snacks on the trail.
  • Hotel pick up and drop off.
  • Transportation provided in commercially registered, expertly maintained tour vehicles.
  • All camping, traditional owner and national park fees.
  • Group first aid and emergency communication facilities.
  • Private wilderness eco-campsite.
  • 2 Trek Larapinta professional wilderness guides.
  • Travelling with a culturally and environmentally responsible business.
  • Small group with a maximum of 10 participants.

Tours do not include pre or post trip airfares or accommodation.

Detailed maps of the Larapinta Trail are also available for purchase.



After collecting you from your hotel in Alice Springs at 7.30am, we transfer to Standley Chasm for a comprehensive trek briefing from your guides. Section 3 is one of the trails most spectacular sections and one of our favourites! Today’s walk is one of the most challenging yet scenically rewarding sections of the Larapinta Trail. Made up of deep sheltered gorges, exposed saddles and steep climbs, we are dwarfed by massive quartzite ridges and treated to magnificent views of the surrounding Chewings Range. Our walk finishes with us exploring the iconic Standley Chasm. We stay tonight at our private ecofriendly bush camp at Standley Chasm.

6-8km/4-5 hr walk Meals: Lunch, Dinner


Climbing up an open valley in the cool morning air, surrounded by giant orange quartzite peaks, is a sign of things to come on this very scenic section of the Larapinta Trail. As we rise above the landscape along the high ridge of Brinkley Bluff, we become some of the privileged few to behold this truly stunning view. The views from the summit of Brinkley Bluff confirm again why the Larapinta Trail is considered one of the most spectacular walking experiences in the world. We return to our private bush camp at Standley Chasm where we enjoy another delicious meal around the campfire.

20km/8-10hr walk Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Our walk today begins from the iconic Ellery Creek Big Hole – historically a vital water source for the Arrernte people. Scenically section 7 has some impressive views of diverse geological formations, combined with a rich array of typical Central Australian colours. Keep a look out for Mistletoebirds, especially the distinctive males with their red and white breasts, Spinifex Pigeons and the playful Zebra Finches. Completing section 7 at Serpentine Gorge we transfer to our private eco-camp near Ormiston Gorge. r

14km/6hr walk Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Today we are high on the ridge of the Heavitree Range hiking to one of the most iconic views of the trail – Counts Point. A challenging hike rewards us with sweeping panoramic vistas of high quartzite ridge lines, including Haast Bluff and Mt Zeil to the west. An exhilerating descent is followed by some easier walking through the beautiful Serpentine Gorge and the old Serpentine Chalet. After the walk we transfer back to our private camp in the Ormiston Gorge region. We enjoy another delicious camp fire meal in gorgeous surroundings before a vey deep and relaxing sleep under the stars.

15km/8hr walk Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Our morning starts at the Ochre Pits, an ochre deposit that is still used by the local Arrernte people for decoration and painting. The Ochre Pits area is a convergence of a variety of plant habitats so it is a beautiful place to see a wide variety of the plants of the West Macs. Exploring further along section 9 we take in what many believe are some of the most spectacular views of the Larapinta Trail. Returning to Inarlanga Pass we have lunch and rest amongst the shade of a lush cycad garden. Our trek today concludes at Serpentine Chalet. Return to our private ecocamp near Ormiston Gorge.

12-14km/6-7hr walk Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Leaving from the Finke River we set off towards Mt Sonder, with every kilometre walked revealing closer views of this elegant desert peak. A challenging climb brings us to Hill Top Lookout. From here we can fully appreciate our final challenge that awaits in just a couple of days. After descending we make our way to Rocky Bar Gap. We return to our eco camp after another spectacular days’ walking.

15km/7hr walk Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Today we walk section 10 of the Larapinta Trail, taking us from Ormiston Gorge to the historic Glen Helen homestead, situated on the mighty Finke River. The Finke is one of the oldest watercourses on our planet and is dotted with massive River Red Gums and is home to a splendid array of birdlife. Wildflowers often bloom through this section,and keep an eye out for the birdlife. At the end of the day we have the chance to go for a swim in Glen Helen Gorge or the Finke River. We sleep tonight at our Ormiston region eco-camp.

11km/4-5hr walk Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


A short transfer from our camp to Redbank, where our challenging ascent of Mt Sonder begins. At 1,380 metres, it is the fourth highest peak in the Northern Territory. The hike to the summit this morning for an unforgettable sunrise (weather/group dependent) takes about 3 hours with numerous stops along the way. A challenging (but rewarding!) 16km round trip delivers world class views of this stunning Central Australian range and memories that will last a lifetime. As we approach the top of our climb the sense of achievement hits home, a vast 360 degree panorama of Central Australia surrounds us, rugged and yet from up here so very peaceful. Remote desert peaks stretch as far as the eye can see. The view north looks 100km into the Tanami Desert, and to the east we see the majority of the Western MacDonnell Ranges. To the south is the meteor crater of Gosse Bluff and to the west Mount Zeil, the Northern Territory’s highest mountain. Return to camp with time in the afternoon to rest in surrounds, visit Glen Helen Gorge or peruse the Trek Larapinta library.

16km/7hr walk Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


The Ormiston Pound loop walk, is a must do for anyone that comes to Central Australia. It takes us up to the high escarpment overlooking this natural impoundment, before descending into the pound itself. We finish the loop by walking down the gorgeous Ormiston Gorge. Heading back to Alice Springs, our final stop is Simpsons Gap. We usually arrive in town between 4-5pm.

8km/4hr walk Meals: Breakfast, Lunch


The 9 day trek requires a moderate to high level of bushwalking/walking and general fitness. As the Larapinta Trail becomes more popular the perception of its difficulty decreases. This however is not the case. The trail remains unrelentingly rocky and hard underfoot and weather extremes can be experienced at any time of year, so the more prepared you are the more you will enjoy the experience. Days vary between 5 and 8 hours of easy to moderate to challenging walking, depending on the section. The climb up and down Mt Sonder is a challenging 16km return with a 750m rise in elevation.

Trail notes


9 days out in the bush and on the trail is a great experience. Be sure that your boots are broken in and your personal equipment is in good shape and you are competent with using all your gear. Although we come together as individuals, we share the experience as a group. This is a group holiday. There is always time for personal space, but by helping each other out and showing consideration for your fellow walkers, we can ensure a rewarding experience for all. Your guides are always available to talk to whilst on tour to help manage the wellbeing of you and the group. For fundamental safety, group members need to be aware of each other’s location whilst walking, remembering the old bush walking rule of ‘keeping an eye on the person behind you’. This may require walkers to adjust their pace to the group. Faster walkers soon adjust to the joys of pausing in the shade, taking time to listen to the interpretive guide and absorbing the wonders of the trail.


Minimal weight: Because you have two guides—one on the trail to carry safety equipment and one back at camp organising the logistics of the tour—you only carry a day pack for your walk. In your pack: Most of the weight will be water to sustain you while walking in the Central Australian climate, which (apart from the rare splashes of rain) is generally sunny and dry even on cold days. We recommend you carry at least 3 litres of water each day. In addition to water, you carry whatever snacks you’d like for the day, a windproof/ rainproof jacket, warm layer and any personal items (such as camera and binoculars) you’d like with you on the trail.


Keeping yourself hydrated is even more important than keeping your feet blister free. Drinking enough water while walking will help you with the stamina and clear thinking you need to walk the trail. Please bring reusable water bottles or a bladder such as a Camelback to carry a minimum of 3 litres for the day walks. Even in the cooler months, the dry air can cause you to drink more than you realise. We can’t stress enough the importance of keeping your fluid intake up.


You need to have a high level of health and fitness for the 9 day trek. The more physically ready you are the less likely you are to sustain an injury. Please talk to us if you have any health issues or other injuries which may affect your time with us, and don’t be afraid to see your GP for advice on participating in this trip before you confirm your booking. The Larapinta Trail is physically hard and just because you are on a guided trek doesn’t mean it gets any easier! So, be as ready as you can be. Engage in aerobic activity 3-4 times a week for at least 1 to 2 hours each session during the 3 months prior to your trip; this might include walking, cycling, swimming etc. Start to do some long bush walks as regularly as you can and do some full day bush walks with your pack weighing around 5-6kg to get you body used to walking with a load, starting at least 2 months in advance of the trek. The Larapinta Trail is known for its unevenness and hardness under foot so make sure you do some walking over rough terrain (if you can find it). Feel free to talk to the Trek Larapinta staff about being prepared.’


With sustaining food for breakfast, fresh & tasty meals for lunch, quality camp-cooked food for dinner and plenty of snacks for the trail, you are bound to enjoy your meals with Trek Larapinta. We provide plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, real coffee and tea. We pride ourselves on our fresh and healthy food.

With notice, we can cater for vegetarians and meet most medical/allergy dietary requirements. For non-medical dietary preferences, please get in touch with us. We like to do what we can to cater for your needs, but because we’re in remote areas this may not always be possible. We appreciate your consideration and understanding of these limits.


Our insurance restricts us from supplying or selling alcohol, so please purchase your requirements in Alice Springs the day prior to your departure. If you are purchasing beer try to find cans as they travel better and cool down quicker. Fresh food takes priority in our fridges, however we can keep some of your beverages cold each day.


The surface on much of the trail is hard and rocky, with sharp quartzite rock. It is very tough on boots and feet and sometimes older footwear can crack, break or fall apart. It’s good to get the balance of boots that are worn-in but not worn-out. If the boots are “worn-in”, it will reduce the chances that you’ll get blisters. But if the boots are “wornout”, they are likely to fall apart on the tough surfaces of the trail. So it helps to check your shoes well in advance of the walk. If they don’t look certain to make the distance, it’s helpful to buy a new pair at least a few months in advance and break them in properly prior to the trip. Retailers in quality outdoor-gear should also be able to give you good advice on buying new shoes. Your feet are likely to get hot rather than cold. Simple, good-quality breathable leather or synthetic trekking boots or good-quality, low-cut walking shoes are fine. It also helps to have good quality socks to fit your footwear. We wear well-padded thinner style of Merino wool sock or a synthetic moisture-wicking sock. Another thing to consider is packing a spare pair of alternative lightweight shoes or boots which you would be able to use in case of damage or blisters. Comfortable footwear for around camp such as sneakers or sandals are great. We like to wear Ugg boots during the cool evenings!


Temperatures do vary during the year (INSERT TEMP link!!!) You will know your preferred walking attire, but, as a guide, always bring clothing that can protect you from the sun during your day’s walk, like a long sleeve shirt with a collar, a hat and some sunglasses. Long pants are good to have on cooler days, but shorts are very handy for most of the year (we don’t recommend cotton or denim). Warm, lightweight jumpers for walking and a good rain coat are essential items. Ankle gaiters can help keep grass seeds and sand out off your shoes but are not essential (we wear the cotton ankle/sock protectors). Thermal layers are also very handy as they are light and warm. Think about the layering system when choosing your clothes. For after the day’s walk, casual clothing is all you need, plus some warm layers— including a beanie and gloves— for the chilly drop-off in temperature at night.


The temperature within your boots and also the hard and uneven terrain can quickly cause blisters or exacerbate other foot problems. Before a walk like this, have any corns, calluses etc. seen to, and make sure problem nails are trimmed and all nails cut. Come prepared with some form of blister prevention and, if you are prone to blisters, always tape up before the days walk “prevention is the cure”. Your feet will be very valuable to you during this tour, and a little preparation can go a long way.


On the 9 day trek we have two different camping sites. The first two nights are spent at our private eco-camp at Standley Chasm. On day 3 we move to our private ecocamp in the Ormiston Gorge region from where you will be based for the remainder of the trek and transfer to the trail heads each day. A lot of changes are happening to the way the park is being managed as far as campsite locations for commercial operators are concerned. We have been granted private use of sections in the beautiful Ormiston Gorge area. We have bush camps and adhere to Parks and Wildlife’s and our own strict minimal impact policies, which we have learnt through experience and observation of our interaction with these areas. It’s a privilege to be in these areas so we want to look after them. Our eco-camps are set in pristine natural areas with no permanent structures, so anything we take in is taken out, either at the end of each trip, or the end of the season. The 1300 133 278 #treklarapinta camps include erected spacious tents, covered kitchen/ communal area and toilet/washing areas. There is also a total fire ban on the Larapinta Trail, so we use camp sites away from the trail where, by permit, we are able to enjoy the delights of a camp fire.


At camp, we set up a composting toilet at the start of the season. We then remove it and all the composted waste at the end of each Larapinta Trail season. Our composting toilet is simple yet comfortable, clean and private, with no smell! On the trail, responsible and minimal impact bush toilet protocol is to ensure that you toilet at least 100m from any trail or watercourse (including the sandy banks of ephemeral rivers in these regions) and dig at least 15cm down to make sure that it can be covered in such a way to avoid visual pollution or its discovery by fossicking animals.


The trail is arid and somewhat remote, so whatever water we wish to use we need to bring in ourselves. We have a simple bush showering area where you can strip off and pour warm water over you at the end of each day Balinese style! Hot water is provided. Make sure you bring a towel and natural biodegradable soaps, if used


Swags and the sky: Whether you’ve slept in a swag hundreds of times or never before, we think you’ll enjoy this part of being out on the trail. A swag is a foam mattress protected by canvas, we supply bedding (sleeping bag, linen and pillow) that’s clean, cosy and warm. We also provide you with a tent, so you can sleep inside or out under a ceiling of stars. Sleeping bags rated to minus 8 degrees are provided.


We can swim in some of the waterholes we come to. As part of responsible and minimal impact travel, we can’t wash in them, and it’s good to have a bit of a “bird bath” or “wipe off” beforehand, to remove sunscreens so we can avoid polluting these valuable drinking sources for animals in this desert land. The water can be a bit chilly, but it can be refreshing to take a plunge after walking for a day, so bring along some bathers as well as your towel.


Apart for some of the high ridgelines there is no mobile phone reception for the duration of your trip. There is a pay phone at Glen Helen which we can access at certain times during the tour. We carry a satellite communications on all of our tours for use in emergencies.


We are able to charge most camera batteries via your own charger plugged into our sine wave inverter. We are also able to charge electronic devices via USB connections Don’t forget spare memory cards and other camera accessories you may need.


You’ll need a good quality day-pack with a comfortable harness for walking and another, larger bag to hold all your other things back at camp. Large backpacks or other soft bags (Duffel bags) are easier for us to fit in the trailer than suitcases and also tend to be better suited to camping. We have limited space so the smaller your luggage bag the better. Enquire about leaving excess luggage at your hotel.


We don’t have any facilities for vehicle storage. If driving to Alice Springs please arrange to leave your car at your hotel or other storage facility such as the airport.


Please arrange your flights into Alice Springs at least one day before the trek starts and arrange your departure flights from Alice Springs at least one day after the trek finishes. At the start and end of our walking season (April and September) you might want to consider a couple of days in Alice Springs pre tour to acclimatise to Central Australia prior to your trek


Trek Larapinta has secured discounted accommodation at Alice Springs hotels. For further information about the hotels and to
book please check out our website at :


Winter weather in Central Australia is near-perfect for walking. You predominantly enjoy sunny blue skies, but with the moderate temperatures of winter rather than the baking heat of summer. But when night falls, the temperature drops fast! So come prepared for warm days and chilly nights. The Larapinta can experience heavy rainfall periods so make sure you have a good working raincoat with you.

Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep
Av. Max 28 23 20 20 22 26
Av. Min 12 8 5 4 6 10
Rainy Days 2 3 3 3 2 2


Trek Larapinta recommends all travellers have adequate insurance/cover for their trip. We highly recommend insurance cover that covers any loss which may be suffered due to cancellation.



Detailed Trip Notes for the 9 Day Larapinta Trail Trek

Download (pdf, 511.8 KB)

Detailed Gear List for the 9 Day Larapinta Trail Trek

Download (pdf, 352.5 KB)

Adventure Curated App

Want to document your trip with Trek Tours Australia and get organised for your trekking adventure, check out this awesome app by our friends at Adventure Curated!

Visit the website


A group of 8 friends recently took part in the 9 day 8 night Larapinta trek. The trek was fantastic because of our wonderful guides Kate ( Browny) and Johnny and the spectacular scenery. We had 2 tents per couple which was excellent for getting dressed in and storing our gear. The tents were spread out and set in beautiful scenery. Our guides were so much fun to be with as well as being awesome cooks. They tended to our blisters and taught us about the fauna and flora. I can highly recommend this company and trek. Thank you Browny and Johnny.

Stephanie on TripAdvisor September 2022

From the moment we booked our trip to the time we said goodbye, the planning and implementation of our 9 day trek went pretty much stress free with Trek Larapinta. In the hands of Ash and Matt, our generous, caring and entertaining guides/hosts, we were introduced to 9 days of very big skies, amazing scenery, millenia of history, both natural and cultural (with a sense of deep respect for our first nation) and some amazing food. The camp sites were both wonderful, with views and fantastic sunset/sunrises. It was also wonderful at the end of a hot days walking to come back to our half bucket of warm water shower and then to sit around our campfire to get to know the rest of our small group, all very special people whose life stories added to the break from a hurried pace of life. The walking highlight was the trip up Mt. Sonder, arriving to a brilliant red/purple/orange horizon and settling in to greet the sun at the top, with Ash and Matt our guides having fresh brewed coffee and camp made banana cake ("You dont get this with any other trek company"). Can only highly recommend Trek Larapinta, and Ash and Matt - a great team which allowed us to experience just a small part of our vast country.

Matt on TripAdvisor August 2022

The 9 day trek offers a variety of spectacular scenery from the mountain ridges to amazing gorges. The eco camps are wonderful and the food is amazing. The guides are experienced and knowledgeable. Totally loved the experience even getting up super early for the Mount Sonder climb.

Kate G on TripAdvisor June 2021

We did the 9 day trip and truly LOVED it! The group was great company, nice and small too :-) The walks and scenery were amazing but what stood out most was the guides (Sanja & Nick/Ryan) who were great in every possible way! One of the highlights was sunrise on top of Mt Sonder. Now thinking of doing the Tarkine next..

Hans on TripAdvisor August 2019

Nick & Naomi were great. Professional, knowledgeable, passionate about their role & the country they were taking us through - and amazing cooks! They are both an asset to your company. Pre tour information was comprehensive and communication was clear. Exceeded my expectations - camps were terrific. Food - Great - certainly didn’t lose weight 🙂

Tanya on the 9 Day Larapinta Trail Trek (July 2019)

Tripadvisor testimonials

Additional Info


The Larapinta Trail is an extended bushwalking trail running west from Alice Springs (Telegraph Station) to Mount Sonder (Rwetyepme), along the spine of the West MacDonnell Ranges. It was completed in 2002, and its 223 kilometres are fast gaining a reputation for offering one of the finest walking experiences in the world.

The steep red slopes of the West MacDonnell Ranges rise dramatically from the Central Australian desert. They typify the rugged landscapes of the Red Centre with the changing hues of their mountain peaks, rolling hills and dry river valleys made famous in the paintings of Albert Namatjira.

The Macdonnell Ranges are quite high by Australian standards, and the Larapinta Trail rises above 1,000 metres 7 times along its length, from a base altitude of 600m. Mt. Sonder is 1,380m high. Many sections rise from the gorges to the ridgetops and back. This is reflected in the kilometres per day recommended. Do not underestimate the trail or the time needed to complete all or any of the individual 12 sections.

Trek Larapinta provides an unequalled opportunity to experience this living desert landscape and take in its special wild and remote places. The Larapinta Trail crosses a variety of terrain, from high ridgelines to sheltered gorges and is home to many of the arid zone’s rare plants. It also links the well known visitor attractions along the ranges of the West MacDonnell National Park (Tjoritja) where walkers can join or leave the trail.


Trek Larapinta wishes to acknowledge the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the Central and Western Arrernte Country for allowing us the opportunity to share this magnificent place – the Larapinta Trail and Western MacDonnell region.

We thank the traditional Arrernte owners for partnering with us to enable our guests to experience one of the most special and unique places on earth.

The Arrernte (pronounced Arunda) people of central Australia are the traditional owners of the country we walk on, sleep on, talk on and journey through. These ancient peoples have been connected to country for a very long time and belong to some of the longest continuing cultures on the planet. Some of the very first indigenous Australian dreaming stories ever recorded were those stories about beetles, caterpillars and travelling ancestral beings told by Arrernte people of Central Australia. Arrernte people continue to practice their culture in and around Alice Springs, ensuring that their language and customs are maintained.

The Map of Indigenous Australia is a useful representation of the language, social and national groups of Aboriginal Australia.

Trek Larapinta believes that creating an understanding of the cultural past, present and future to be a crucial part of the walking journey on country. We are passionate about being part of cultural awareness and actively incorporate this in all our journeys on the Larapinta Trail.

If you would like to know more about the Arrernte people have a look at:

Araluen Arts Centre
Cultural Connections
Alice Springs Indigenous Population


Standley Chasm cuts through tough quartzite to form a picturesque natural alleyway formed from flood waters over thousands of years. This beautiful site is at its most impressive in the middle of a sunny day when the light displays magnificent colours and forms. The reliable trickle of water in the Chasm ensures the gully floor is lush with delicate ferns to tall gum trees and cycad palms.

Standley Chasm is located in a private flora and fauna reserve owned by the Iwupataka Land Trust and is operated by Aboriginal family members that are direct descendants from Aboriginal people that have lived in this area for thousands of years.

At an altitude of 1,140 metres, Counts Point is one of the highest points on the Heavitree Range, From the summit the ground falls away abruptly into gracefully arched valleys reaching towards the west. The view from Counts point is arguably one of the best elevated vistas along the entire Larapinta Trail. Counts Point can be undertaken as a day walk along section 8 of the trail and is rated a hard walk.

Ormiston Gorge showcases the spectacular geology and landforms of the West MacDonnell Ranges. The gorge has a waterhole that is there year round and is great for swimming, especially in warmer months. The popular three to four hour circuit Ormiston Pound Walk follows the rocky slope into the flat expanse of the pound and back along the gorge by the main waterhole. Sections 9 and 10 of the Larapinta Trail pass through the Ormiston Gorge area.

Mt Sonder is the fourth highest mountain in the Northern Territory at 1,380 metres. It is the final point on the Larapinta Trail at the end of Section 12. A vast 360 degree panorama greats you at the summit. Remote desert peaks stretch as far as the eye can see. The view north looks 100km into the Tanami Desert, and to the east we see the majority of the Western MacDonnell Ranges. To the south is the meteor crater of Gosse Bluff (Tnorala) and to the west Mount Zeil (Urlatherrke), the Northern Territory’s highest mountain.


The Larapinta Trail is divided into 12 sections that each take one or two days to walk. Each section of the Larapinta Trail has been rated by level of difficulty according to the Australian Walking Track Grading System as seen in the summary below. The Australian Walking Track Grading System is a national standard to help you work out if a walk will suit your level of fitness and experience.

As the Larapinta Trail becomes more popular the perception of its difficulty decreases. This however is not the case. The trail remains unrelentingly rocky and hard underfoot and weather extremes can be experienced at any time of the year. The more prepared you are the more you will enjoy the experience.

A Grade 3 (moderate) walk is suitable for most ages and fitness levels with some bushwalking experience recommended. Tracks may have short steep hill sections, a rough surface and many steps. Grade 4 (moderate to difficult) walks require a good level of bushwalking experience along tracks that may be long, rough and very steep. Further information about the walking track grading system can be found here.

  • Section 1 : Telegraph Station to Simpsons Gap – Grade 3 Moderate
  • Section 2 : Simpsons Gap to Jay Creek – Grade 3 Moderate
  • Section 3 : Jay Creek to Standley Chasm – Grade 4 Moderate to Difficult
  • Section 4 : Standley Chasm to Birthday Waterhole – Grade 4 Moderate to Difficult
  • Section 5 : Birthday Waterhole to Hugh Gorge – Grade 4 Moderate to Difficult
  • Section 6 : Hugh Gorge to Ellery Creek – Grade 3 Moderate
  • Section 7 : Ellery Creek to Serpentine Gorge – Grade 4 Moderate to Difficult
  • Section 8 : Serpentine Gorge to Serpentine Chalet Dam – Grade 4 Moderate to Difficult
  • Section 9 : Serpentine Chalet Dam to Ormiston Gorge – Grade 4 Moderate to Difficult
  • Section 10 : Ormiston Gorge to Finke River – Grade 3 Moderate
  • Section 11 : Finke River to Redbank Gorge – Grade 4 Moderate to Difficult
  • Section 12 : Redbank Gorge to Mt Sonder return – Grade 4 Moderate to Difficult
    Trek Larapinta supplies basic trail maps as part of their fully-supported Larapinta Trail tours. Detailed Larapinta Trail maps can also be purchased.


Due to large bushfires caused by mismanagement of campfires by walkers and non-walkers, there is a total fire ban on the Larapinta Trail. Please adhere to the total fire ban, as this will help with regeneration of affected areas, provide a good balance of natural habitat and promote the future well-being of the Park.

Trek Larapinta camps in areas where fires are permitted by permit, and our firewood is sourced from outside the park. We also work at keeping our use of firewood to a minimum.

Water is generally available at most trailheads, where water tanks are installed and maintained by National Parks. Parks recommend that all water, including tank water, be treated before use. Please check with NT Parks and Wildlife for up-to date information on water and other trail facilities

Mobile phone reception is very limited along the trail, so a working emergency communication option is highly recommended (satellite phone or personal locator beacon).


Larapinta (NT) weather