This region of Australia captures the true essence of the Outback, and there is no greater opportunity to see this for yourself than by taking one the country's most stunning and diverse walks - The Larapinta Trail.
For those of you unfamiliar with this walk, it was named as one of seven 'Great Walks of Australia' and ranked by National Geographic in the top 20 trekking experiences to be had on the planet.
The route extends 223 kilometres along the spine of the rugged West MacDonnell Ranges from the quintessential outback town of Alice Springs to Mt Sonder. The trail meanders through an outstanding ensemble of rich colours and culture, scenic waterholes, and rocky outcrops descending into narrow canyons and spectacular gorges. There are different options depending on how long you have available to explore this dramatic scenery, with the entire trail taking around two weeks but shorter sections of the walk taking anything from one to seven days.
The trail culminates at the highest point, Mt Sonder (1380m), rewarding those who climb it with uninterrupted panoramic views that put into perspective the sheer scale of this ancient land. Visitors can cool off in one of the many picturesque swimming holes that are found along the Trail such as Simpsons Gap which offers a permanent pool and is home to native rock wallabies that inhabit the Gap's rocky ridges.
Last year independent travel company World Expeditions,who have been operating on the Larapinta Trail since 1995, opened two new semi-permanent campsites on the trail. These are provided exclusively to World Expeditions customers and are designed to offer maximum convenience to walkers without detracting from the natural beauty of the surroundings. In addition to the environmentally sympathetic aesthetics of the structures, sustainable technologies including solar lighting systems and water-free composting toilets have been adopted. The two camps are located in discreet locations near the Larapinta Trail, about 30km and 130km west of Alice Springs.
Photo credit: Tourism NT
Best of the rest
If you�re after spectacular scenery, but can�t spare the full two weeks, then tackle the Kings Canyon Rim Walk for phenomenal views and lush waterholes (about three hours) or embark on the 22km Giles Track, a 2 day walk from Kings Canyon to Kathleen Springs.
Alice Springs is a �must� on every Australian itinerary, and is a great base from which to explore its surrounding natural wonders, including the awe-inspiring icons of Uluru (Ayers Rock), Kings Canyon and Kata Tjuta (The Olgas). One of the most famous day walks in the whole of Australia is the 9.4km base walk around Uluru (click HERE for more information), which is a great way to not only discover on foot one of Australia�s greatest natural wonders, but also for learning about Aboriginal Culture.
If you want to learn more about Aboriginal Culture, then the Jatbula Trail (click HERE for more information) is a five-day guided (or independent) walk in Nitmiluk National Park, home to one of the world's largest collections of Aboriginal rock art. For more information visit www.parksandwildlife.nt.gov.au/parks/find/nitmiluk
Take the path less travelled with World Expeditions who offers a 6-day Classic Larapinta Trek from �1,350 per person, based on twin share. The tour departs weekly and includes exclusive semi-permanent wilderness camps, 5 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 5 dinners, professional guide and support staff, all camping equipment, fees to Aboriginal Traditional owners, National Park and camping fees and transport from Alice Springs. The package does not include international flights or accommodation pre and post in Alice Springs.
World Expeditions operates two other adventures along the trail - TheLarapinta End To End (14 day trek) and Larapinta Experience (3 day trek).
Book before 31 March and receive a 10% discount for all World Expeditions Larapinta Trail trek departures in 2014. For full details and T&Cs visit: www.worldexpeditions.com/uk/index.php?section=deals&id=1842844
For more information visit www.australiasoutback.co.uk.
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