The Larapinta Trail is one of the world's great bushwalks. It captures the essence of the Australian outback. The trail weaves its 223 km way through the starkly beautiful landscape of the West MacDonnell Ranges in Central Australia (a mere 2 hours plane trip from Adelaide in South Australia). Every step of the walk pays homage to the extraordinary and ancient geological forces that have shaped the landscape, which is given its cultural meaning by the stories of the local Arrente people.
World Expeditions runs a 6 day guided Classic Larapinta Trek that provides an authentic outback Australian experience with bush camping, a decent amount of walking (between 8 and 16 km per day), and plenty of highlights that include Simpsons Gap, Standley Chasm, Ormiston Gorge, Glen Helen Gorge, and the ochre pits of the Arrente people. A memorable experience was the glorious sunrise on the slow and strenuous night climb to the peak of the magnificent Mount Sonder (1380 m). Expect to see kangaroos, rock wallabies, dingos, flocks of budgerigars and beautiful desert foliage over the course of the trek although the spiritual solitude in the cathedral like chasms invites quiet contemplation. There is at times an odd juxtaposition between the ill-fated European endeavours on the ancient landscape, such as the failed Serpentine Chalet Gorge and its dam, and the more significant Aboriginal sites such as the ochre pits used by the Arrente people over thousands of years.
If our guides (Pete and Angela) are indicative of the guided experience, you can expect the utmost in professionalism, conviviality, affiliation with country and culture, and the best camp oven meals you've ever had. Fitness and bushwalking experience matters more than age - our tour group ranged in age from 13 years to 72 years yet the good level of fitness meant the group set a solid pace each day (up to 23 km) and not a single blister. Walking in June promises great walking weather with mild days and cold nights. The cloudless sub zero desert nights deliver a rich smorgasbord of stars every evening. Enjoy a glass of wine and recount the day's experiences as night falls ,while delicious meals that include roasted lamb shanks, grilled barramundi, spaghetti with kangaroo bolognaise, camel sausages and superb desserts are prepared by the WorldEX guides.
Accommodation is in semi-permanent campsites that offer environmentally sustainable shower and toilet facilities and the experience of sleeping in warm swags. Lunches are in sandy creek beds under ancient river gums. This can be one of those life-changing experiences. Expect to return to the mainstream fitter, stronger, more resilient - and in awe of the majesty of this ancient land.