The Ultimate Guide to Hiking the Larapinta Trail

The Larapinta Trail is one of the most iconic and challenging hiking trails in Australia. This 223-kilometer trail runs through the West MacDonnell Ranges of Central Australia, offering breathtaking views of rugged landscapes, gorges, and waterholes. It is a must-do hike for anyone who loves nature and adventure. In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know about the Larapinta Trail, from how to prepare for the hike to what to expect along the way.

The Trail’s Highlights

The Larapinta Trail offers a variety of landscapes, from high ridges to deep gorges, waterfalls, and waterholes. Some of the highlights of the trail include:

Mount Sonder

Mount Sonder is the highest peak in the West MacDonnell Ranges and one of the most challenging parts of the Larapinta Trail. It offers a stunning panoramic view of the surrounding ranges, and it’s worth the effort to get there.

The Finke River

The Finke River is one of the oldest and most significant rivers in the world. It’s a great spot for a refreshing swim after a long hike, and it’s also home to a variety of wildlife, including birds, reptiles, and marsupials.

The Ochre Pits

The Ochre Pits are a sacred site for the local Aboriginal people, and they have been used for thousands of years for their red and yellow ochre pigment. The pits are a fascinating place to visit and learn about the local culture and history.

Preparing for the Hike

The Larapinta Trail is a challenging hike that requires careful preparation. Here are some tips to help you get ready:


You will need to be in good physical condition to tackle the Larapinta Trail. Start training well in advance of your hike, and make sure you’re comfortable carrying a heavy backpack for long distances.


Invest in good-quality hiking gear, including boots, a backpack, a tent, and a sleeping bag. Make sure you have enough food and water for the entire trip, as there are limited water sources along the trail.


The weather in Central Australia can be extreme, with temperatures reaching over 40 degrees Celsius in summer and dropping below freezing at night in winter. Check the weather forecast before you go and pack accordingly.


Hiking the Larapinta Trail is an unforgettable experience that will challenge you both physically and mentally. With stunning scenery, fascinating cultural sites, and the opportunity to disconnect from the modern world, it’s a true adventure. By following these tips and preparing well, you’ll be able to make the most of your hike and create memories that will last a lifetime.