Traveller stories: My experience walking the Larapinta Trail in Central Australia

Ridge views on the Larapinta Trail | Latonia Crockett
Ridge views on the Larapinta Trail | Latonia Crockett

The Larapinta Trail leaves an impression on travellers long after they've returned back home. From sweeping views of across the sunburnt landscape to water gorges that refresh just when you need it most; and sunrises which bathe the sky in vibrant hues of pink, orange and deep purple, it's an experience like no other.

One of Australia's most iconic walks that spans 223 kilometres across from east to west of Alice Springs across the West MacDonnell Rangers, the Larapinta Trail will take you on a journey through some of the most incredible ancient landscapes in the heart Australia. The trail is broken up into 12 sections, each with a unique array of sights and highlights to experience as you journey along this rewarding trail.

Traveller, Latonia Crocket, who completed the full Larapinta Trail trek in Alice Springs, shares her adventure tales.

What inspired you walk the full 223km Larapinta Trail? Is it something you always wanted to tackle?

I have always wanted to go to the Australian outback but had never heard of the Larapinta Trail. 

I've done the Mera and Island Peak expedition in Nepal with World Expeditions. We climbed to 6500 metres and it was one of the most thrilling and challenging things I have ever done. The team that took us were just awesome – very organised and professional, so I looked at what else World Expeditions had to offer that was challenging but not as extreme. 

As soon as I saw the Larapinta End to End trip I knew it was my next challenge.

Day 3 - The whole team take a snap amid a stunning landscape

How did you find it being “disconnected” to the outside world? Was it a welcomed break?

I would spend all day on my email or phone for work, so I loved having my phone off. It's a feeling of freedom. 

We don't usually get opportunities to just be in the 'now' and I think having no phone makes it possible. You start focusing on what's around you and maybe what's for dinner!

Verdant outback landscape on the Larapinta Trail |  <i>Latonia Crockett</i>

What were your top 3 highlights of the trip?

1. Sleeping under the stars in a swag. I had never done that. So peaceful.
2. Climbing the large rocks in the river beds. Everything was so large and old, felt like we were on a Jurassic Park movie set and a raptor might run past.
3. River crossing up to my chest in water to then find out it wasn't necessary – brilliant. It had me laughing for the day.


What kind of camera did you use and can you share any photography tips?

My camera is an Olympus M10, Mark 2. I am still learning the camera, but it is fantastic. I can rave about it for hours.

My tip would be: take the photo. There are a few times I saw a photo opportunity but didn't want to stop and later wished I had. You can always catch up to the team and it's worth stopping for a moment of two. Oh, and take lots of batteries, as there are minimal charging opportunities.

Ridge walking along the Larapinta Trail |  <i>Latonia Crockett</i>

How many people were in your group and what was the group dynamic like?

Our trip had three males and three females. Everyone was relaxed and a lot of fun and were great to have a laugh with – or at me being a New Zealander! I'm not sure what they were talking about, I don't have an accent?!

Everyone seemed to know what they were in for and enjoyed it!

I think this kind of trip attracts like-minded people and so we had no one unhappy or complaining. 

A team photo on the Larapinta Trail |  <i>Latonia Crockett</i>

What was the food like?

I loved the food. The guides were great cooks. I ate a lamb shank the size of my head – it was truly awesome! In saying that, we had a vegetarian on the trip and she was still a part of all the BBQs, but just a tofu option. 

The lunches were so tasty even though it was all carried in parts and put together on the track. Pasta salads with everything in them. I was very impressed by the food. 

One of the guides would always pull out a sneaky chocolate bar just when you needed it.

Dinner preparation at camp |  <i>Latonia Crockett</i> Butter chicken & rice with naan bread |  <i>Ayla Rowe</i> Guides prepare fresh meals each day The guide team includes experience and local knowledge |  <i>Mark Bennic</i> Beautiful little lunch spot along the Larapinta Trail |  <i>Linda Murden</i>

What are 3 gear essentials you couldn’t have lived without on the Larapinta Trail?

Sun block, deep heat and wet wipes.

Welcoming spectacular scenery on Day 8 of the trail

What are 3 pieces of gear you wished you had brought with you?

I have been thinking about this for awhile and I actually can't think of anything. The gear list was pretty accurate. Maybe some cold beer!

Enjoying a refreshing dip

What were your campsites like? Did you sleep under the bright stars at all?

What I liked most about the campsites is that they were really private and we were the only ones there. So they were quiet at night. And yes, I slept under the stars, but also a few nights in a tent. The option is there for what ever you feel like on the night!

What were your guides like?

Wonderful. Very different to each other but the combination of the two worked perfectly. The one thing they did have in common was that they were very passionate about what they did. They had a lot of knowledge and the great part was they were enjoying the journey as much as us.

One of our guides, Alice.

What advice would you give to someone considering taking on the full Larapinta End to End?

Be prepared to lose luxuries for the two weeks and not care. When you realise it doesn't matter that you haven't seen what you look like for a week and that your crazy hairstyle probably isn't offending anyone, it's very relaxing. 

Have an open mind to being part of nature, like sleeping under the stars. 

I would also suggest overnight trekking experience prior as the overall day lengths are not hard, but getting up everyday even when your body/feet are a bit tired and doing it again and again is tough.

Day 14 - Enjoying the sunrise at the top of Mount Sonder

Larapinta Trail, Northern Territory, Australian walks, Trekking, Outback, Central Australia, Red Centre

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