The Larapinta Trail is located close to the town of Alice Springs on the sacred land of the Arrernte people, stretching across the West MacDonnell Ranges. The Larapinta trek, covering a distance of 223 km, is dotted with sacred indigenous sites and is home to native flora, fauna, high red rock ridgelines, gorges and spectacular views. Most travellers choose to complete the walk over seven days. However, shorter treks are available depending on the difficulty level and experience you seek.
The trail, often referred to as one of Australia’s top hiking treks, is full of wonders and magnificent experiences that give those that walk along it the chance to appreciate its beauty and uniqueness.
The Larapinta Trek takes you through the Ormiston and Serpentine Gorges and offers an opportunity to see Mount Sonder at sunrise. Hikers will be amazed by the dramatic colour changes in the rock formations at Glen Helen Gorge and Standley Chasm. This trek, which is of moderate difficulty, is one of the most spectacular outback experiences in Australia.
The trek is an experience of splendid isolation and remoteness of the most spectacular parts of the Larapinta Trail.
As you prepare to walk the Larapinta Trail, you may wonder what time of year will give you the best experience. We outline a guide on what you can expect throughout the year to provide you with the best opportunity to explore this sacred land.
Best weather conditions for walking the Larapinta Trail
The months of April to September are widely considered the best time of year to walk the Larapinta Trail. We have detailed below the estimated temperatures that can be expected in each season to help you prepare for your journey.
Autumn (March-May): Temperatures can vary from 8°C to 32°C. These months often have warm days and cooler evenings.
Winter (June-August): Temperatures range from a low of 4°C to a high of 22°C, with the possibility of sub-zero temperatures at night.
Spring (September-November): Temperatures can range from 10°C to 33°C, cooling during the evening.
Summer (December-February): Walking along the Larapinta Trail during this time is not recommended. Temperatures range from 20°C to 36°C, and can reach above 40°C, exposing hikers to many heat-related health risks.
The best time to sleep beneath the stars
One of the most magical experiences on offer along the Larapinta Trail is sleeping beneath the stars. If this is high up on your list of things to experience during your trip, it is important to research when conditions are likely to be clear with pleasant weather conditions.
While the winter nights along the trail can require hikers to rug up to deal with the low temperatures, they also provide some of the clearest night skies of the year. However, autumn has warmer nights and mainly clear night skies to look up at the Milky Way for those less inclined to camp in the cooler months.
Although we can recommend certain times of year that are likely to have favourable weather conditions, we cannot ensure that these will be the weather conditions during your visit. Check the local weather trends closer to your arrival date for a more accurate indication of what you may expect.
The quiet period of the year
Throughout your trek on the Larapinta Trail, no matter what time of year you visit, you will rarely cross paths with other hikers. The trail covers a large distance, creating space between yourself and other groups. In addition, this track requires training before you start and may only be ideal for some hikers, making this location quieter than other less strenuous trails. In addition, this track requires training before you start, which automatically excludes some trekkers, making this location quieter than other less strenuous trails.
It is essential to be mindful of peak tourism periods in Alice Springs as this may be where you arrive and depart from when you walk the Larapinta Trail. April, May, September, October, and November may well be the quietest times in the town, giving you a peaceful experience from start to finish.
The best time for swimming
Those who have had the pleasure of walking the Larapinta Trail will surely tell you the joy of finding those beautiful waterholes and rivers that line the way. After a long day of walking, soaking in fresh running water can refresh and rejuvenate you.
For those walking on the trail during the warmer autumn months, you may find that the water has a pleasant temperature and is refreshing than if you were walking through the winter months. Central Australia is well known for its warm weather throughout the year but hikers will likely have many opportunities throughout the year for experiencing cooler temperatures along the trek.
As the Larapinta Trail is a sacred site, you are not allowed to swim in certain areas. We recommend checking with your guides for where you can and cannot swim, discovering the safest swimming locations, practising safe behaviour in and around water, and always swimming with a friend.
Walk the Larapinta Trail with Auswalk
A walk of this calibre requires expert guidance to ensure you receive the most outstanding experience possible while exploring the Larapinta Trek. Auswalk has been a pioneer in walking holidays across Australia, including guided, self-guided and custom treks. When you choose us as your travel companion, we organise everything from accommodation to food and leave you to enjoy the journey.
By selecting our guided tour, hikers will be accompanied by two qualified guides who will lead the way with their in-depth knowledge of the trail and its history, safety training and years of experience. Our trips are more than getting you to your destination; it is about cherishing the path that takes you there.
Explore our Larapinta Trail and the many other spectacular Australian walking holiday destinations and see these hidden gems for yourself!