Imagine a journey that takes you right into the heart of Australia, across the vast and ancient landscape of the Red Centre.
The Larapinta Trail is regarded as one of Australia’s premier walking tracks. From the old Alice Springs Telegraph Station to the peak of Mount Sonder, the trail stretches 223 kilometres along the backbone of the West MacDonnell Ranges.
As part of this incredible – yet challenging – adventure, you will stand on ancient escarpments and gaze out upon the ochre-coloured landscapes of Central Australia. You will follow Aboriginal Dreaming tracks and trek beside one of the world’s oldest river systems.
By day, you will challenge yourself as you trek across the Red Centre, experiencing the diversity of desert habitats and learn the unique history of Australia’s Indigenous peoples. At night, you will fall asleep to the sounds of native wildlife under a blanket of stars.
Best of all, you will be raising vital funds for Chris O’Brien Lifehouse to transform cancer treatment for Australians through discovery, research and uncompromising care.
By taking part in this inspiring adventure, you will be raising the funds to treat and care for young Australians living with sarcoma. Sarcomas are a group of cancers that start in the bones or the soft tissues, such as muscle and fibrous tissues.
The major challenge for youth living with the disease is how to get the best treatment for their age-specific requirements.
We need your help to further enhance our capacity to deliver our current services in treating and caring for young patients at Lifehouse who have this devastating cancer.
- Day 1 - Monday, May 7
- Day 2 - Tuesday, May 8
- Day 3 - Wednesday, May 9
- Day 4 - Thursday, May 10
- Day 5 - Friday, May 11
- Day 6 - Saturday, May 12
And we’ve arrived!!
The team touched down in Alice Springs today, ready to start their adventure of a lifetime.
After having a look around the town, it was time for the team briefing from our head guide Joe. It’s starting to feel real now!
Following the briefing, we headed to Olive Pink Botanic Gardens for the Welcome to Country Ceremony. We were greeted by Doris and Craig who spoke to the team about their culture and families, the traditional custodians of the region.
Soon it was time for the first team dinner (after a Pitt stop at the bar) where we were treated to some delicious food. The team wished superstar fundraiser, Eamon and a very happy birthday and chatted in anticipation for the challenge that awaits!
Tomorrow, the trekking begins!
The first day of trekking is upon us!
It was an early start for the team this morning with a 6am breakfast then we were off to the start line! The start of the trek eased us into the day as it was fairly flat but that soon changed. We spotted a kangaroo, but luckily no snakes!
The vast expanse of red rocks, rugged bush and yellow scrub was an awesome sight and set the tone for the day. The rest of the days trekking was undulating with steep climbs but the team were treated to the panoramic views when they reached the top of Euro ridge.
After only 24 hours together the team have bonded as they supported each other to get to the end. It was a tough trek but everyone made it!
Tonight we will experience the real outback experience as we set up camp in the Bush and sleep under the stars.
After a good nights sleep the team were ready and raring to get going! We drove out to the bottom of Serpentine Gorge and started the 14km hike. The start of the hike was a steep uphill climb over rocky paths and stone steps.
By 9am the sun was already beating down and the heat was rising! After an hours climb, we reached the top and started to walk along the ridge. The views all around were breathtaking. We stopped for morning tea and refuelled before tackling the rest of the trek to the lookout point for lunch.
The trek back down to the end was a mixture of scenery including dense bush, woodland and rock gardens. It was a big push from everyone to get to the end but we all made it!
We finished the day with a well deserved cold drink and shower at Glen Helen!
After breakfast in the dark, we set off for a 13km trek. The team are getting used to camping out in swags under the stars so we’re all feeling rested.
Our hike started a short drive from the camp and after a failed attempt at a Mexican wave, we were on our way! In the distance, we spotted Mount Sonder towering above the plains, a little insight of what’s in store for tomorrow morning!
We came across a huge rock ridge with a hole in the middle which made a great backdrop for some photos! The team picked up a good pace as we made our way further into the bush. The landscape was really diverse today as we passed through sandy river beds, grasslands and woodlands. We walked across the Finke river bed, one of the oldest river systems in the world.
Following morning tea we headed off for the remaining 9km of the trek. It got a little more challenging with steeper Hill climbs to tackle but it was worth it when we reached the top and got to see the incredible views out to Mount Sonder and Ormiston Gorge.
We finished up at Ormiston Gorge and went for a quick swim before it was time for our BBQ lunch at Glen Helen.
Tonight’s an early one as we are waking up at 1.30am to start our climb to the top of mount Sonder!
Today was the day we’ve all been waiting for, the Mount Sonder Climb!!!
The team woke up at 2am in preparation for the 8km climb up to the top of the mountain, hoping to make it in time for sunrise. Trekking in the middle of the night with only head torches for light provided a new level of challenge for the group. The terrain was really tough too with rocky steps, and loose gravel to contend with.
As we climbed higher the wind really picked up and tested the teams balance! Eventually, we reached the summit and waited for the sun to rise. It was freezing cold so the group tried to warm up with soup and coffee. It was worth the wait when the sun finally popped out behind the mountain and turned the sky purple, pink and orange. After a few quick snaps, the team wanted to get down the mountain as quickly as possible to warm up!
On the walk back down we could see how far we had climbed and were treated to the most magnificent views yet. Jane even danced all the way down!
Everyone was relieved to make it to the bottom. It was an awesome achievement and all before 10 am!
The rest of the day is for a well-earned rest before the final day of trekking!
How is it the last day if the adventure already?
Just one last trek to go! Everyone mucked in to get the camp packed up then it was off to the start point at Ormiston Gorge.
With a few sore knees and tired legs, the team strapped on their walking boots for the last time and headed off for the pound walk around Ormiston Gorge.
The first lookout was breathtaking and set the tone for the scenery we would encounter on today’s hike. As we meandered along the winding paths we gradually headed into the gorge. For the first time, we were completely surrounded by the bright Orca coloured walls of the gorge. The terrain presented a new challenge today as we scrambled across large boulders at the bottom of the gorge.
The team enjoyed the last few kilometres of trekking, taking in all of the incredible views for the last time.
And just like that, it was over. 5 days of trekking the Larapinta trail, witnessing unbelievable views and ever-changing scenery. It’s been tough, there have been tears, blisters and bad backs but together team Lifehouse conquered the challenge together. The laughter never stopped and the supportive, kind-hearted and open-mindedness of the team brought everyone together and made the adventure an unforgettable experience.
Well done team Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, each and every one of you is an inspiration.
YOU DID IT!!