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The Larapinta Trail winds through the West MacDonnell Ranges west of Alice Springs in central Australia. Its total length is over 200km, but it's quite feasible to walk selected parts of it as there's road access at several points along its length. In my opinion it rivals Karijini as the most scenic walk in Australia.
A few points to note (updated July 2019):
- A substantial fraction of the trail was burnt by wildfires in early 2019. I'd guess around 50% of the trail from Ellery Creek to Redbank Gorge was affected. The sections just east and west of Ormiston Gorge seemed particularly badly hit, but the fires didn't have much impact on the gorge itself. I'm told the area around Standley Chasm was also badly burnt. No doubt the vegetation will recover given time and rainfall.
- The trail infrastructure is quite reasonable, and includes serviced water tanks at all the trailheads, and substantial steel shelters at many, some with solar-powered USB charging stations. At Orimiston Gorge you may be able to get rainwater from the tanks near the kiosk. Ask at the kiosk.
- There are storage rooms for food drops at Ellery Creek and Ormiston Gorge. You need to carry a key with you to access these, which you can rent from the Alice Springs visitors' centre. Standley Chasm has a kiosk and you can also put in a food drop there for a few dollars.
- June to early August is probably the best time to go. Do not go in summer!
- You can probably get most of your supplies in Alice Springs. It has two large supermarkets, a decent outdoor equipment shop and a number of tourism operators who can provide transport.
- Flies are sometimes a problem, so take a head-net. In 2019 there were heaps of flies, but I don't recall them being a problem on the previous three trips. They disappear after sunset.
See the official Larapinta Trail website for more information. I highly recommend getting the official Larapinta Trail Package.
- Western half 21 Jul 2019. Walked the western half of the Larapinta Trail from Ellery Creek to Redbank Gorge
- Larapinta 2016 10 Oct 2016. I walked the eastern half of the Larapinta Trail again in June 2016, but I didn't come back with many images this time. This one was worth keeping though. It was a great trip, even if things didn't exactly go to plan.
- 2003 25 Sep 2011. I've finished re-scanning and re-processing the 2003 Larapinta Trail images. These were taken on 35mm slide film — Kodak Elite Chrome 200 I think.
- Eastern half 05 Sep 2010. Walked the eastern half of the Larapinta Trail from Ellery Creek to Alice Springs