Join your Cougar mates for an exhilarating desert adventure!
Come along and be part of the exhilarating Larapinta Cougars Adventure into the heart of the Australian landscape.
Join us as we blaze our way through four beautiful sections of the Larapinta Trail in Tjoritja, the West MacDonnell Ranges and enjoy stunning natural beauty, expansive desert views, beautiful gorges and pristine waterholes with your Cougar mates.
- 3 nights camping under the stars at bush campsites on the Larapinta Trail
- 1 night at 4.5 star hotel Alice Springs (twin-share)
On the trail – 4 Lunches, 3 Dinners, 3 Breakfasts, hot drinks and snacks
We provide delicious, healthy fresh food and cater for all dietary requirements.
Alice Springs – Celebratory restaurant dinner, Hotel buffet breakfast.
- We will be transported to the start of the trail and picked up at the end by private Mini-bus
- A 4WD support vehicle will transport your gear between campsites, and be available for transport during the day if necessary.
This 5-day Larapinta Cougars Adventure is designed to give you:
- an invigorating and challenging trail run in a stunning Australian landscape
- a chance to connect with your teammates away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life
- a powerful fitness goal to inspire and motivate you towards better health
DAY 1 – ALICE SPRINGS TO SERPENTINE CHALET DAM
Run/hike: Section 8 – Serpentine Gorge Carpark to Serpentine Chalet Dam
Distance Day 1: 13 km
We’ll pick you up from Alice Springs Airport, have some lunch and drive to the start of our first hike/run which begins at Serpentine Chalet Dam. This is around 125 kms drive from Alice Springs. This is considered an ‘moderate – difficult’ section which winds heads steeply up to a plateau in the Heavitree Range with expansive views, then back down the other side. From the higher section of Counts Point Junction at 1140m, you will get superb 360 degree views.
You will descend a broad spur on the southern flank of the range, and into a verdant gully. From there, it’s fairly undulating to the days finish at Serpentine Chalet Dam. It’s very likely it will be getting dark at this time, so we will all need to take headtorches! At the finish, all our gear will be waiting for us and we can set up our tents while our delicious dinner is being cooked. You will enjoy the quiet sounds of the desert and catch a good look at the million stars above. LD
DAY 2 – SERPENTINE CHALET DAM TO ORMISTON GORGE
Run/hike: Section 9
Distance Day 2: 29 kms
Today is dramatic section with some incredible views but, unlike breakfast, it won’t be handed to you on a plate! It’ll be an early start to avoid the heat of the day. You’ll be following the ancient Inarlanga Pass through stands of Cycads that stand out in contrast to the glowing red of the gorge walls.
There are a few ups and downs through Mulga scrub and rocky spurs as you head along the trail towards Waterfall Gorge. The name is very misleading as there is unfortunately not usually much water here! The trail then zig-zags up a steep rocky slope to the ‘Lookout’ which is very much like it’s name. It’s spectacular along the ridge top here, which continues for about 4kms. After descending into the rolling limestone foothills, you will see the incredible view of Mt Sonder.
When you arrive in Ormiston Gorge, you can have a refreshing swim in the beautiful waterhole. You can even have a hot shower to warm up after your dip! We’ll prepare a delicious healthy meal for you, as you relax amongst the shady trees at the campsite. BLD
DAY 3 – ORMISTON GORGE TO GLEN HELEN HOMESTEAD
Run/hike: Section 10 + optional Ormiston Pound walk
Distance Day 3: 13.5 + 9 km
Another early start is in order to make the most of the cool air. You can do a pre-breakfast jog around Ormiston Gorge, ensuring that you have enough stops to enjoy the waterhole and admire the views. Alternatively, you can rest up between big days on the trail.
It’s a meandering trail with some incredible views between Ormiston Gorge and Glen Helen Lodge, and a great opportunity to see much of the unique plant life that inhabits this area. You may even spot an Echidna or a Long-nosed Dragon.
We’ll stop at Glen Helen Lodge for lunch, then head onwards to our campsite in Redbank Gorge at the base of Mt Sonder, so we’re ready for our early start the next morning. Redbank Gorge is another place you can swim, enjoying the cooling effects of the water on tired muscles. BLD
DAY 4 – REDBANK GORGE TO MT SONDER AND BEYOND
Hike/Run: Section 12 – Redbank Gorge to Mount Sonder return Grade: Medium, steep – 15.8 kms
Optional: Section 11- Redbank Gorge to Glen Helen Lodge Grade: Medium – 29.2 kms
Distance Day 4: 15.8 or 45 km
We will begin early yet again, to enjoy the sunrise from the summit of Rwetyepme Mt Sonder at 1379m. It will be a solid climb to the top from a start at 700m, and if that doesn’t take your breath away, the views certainly will! Enjoy a quiet moment at the top to reflect on the achievements of the previous few days.
It’s back down the same way, and if you are finishing here you will be able to take your time and enjoy the scenery. If you are doing the ‘extended route’, you will want to get moving to make the most of the cool air. From Redbank Gorge you’ll head along some undulating, open country at the foothills of Mt Sonder to Rocky Bar Gap. You’ll then head northwards along the creek bed of Rocky Bar Gap and up to Hilltop Lookout. There is a climb to get there as the name suggests! It’s a fairly steep descent on the other side, then across a flat red earth plain with mulga trees, and along further to low spinifex covered hills. You will then head south at Glen Helen Junction past some natural quartzite arches and semi-permanent waterholes to a feast at Glen Helen.
After our meal we will head on to the Crowne Plaza Hotel Alice Springs. Settle in, take a dip in the pool, or explore Alice township. After some well-deserved rest and relaxation, we will meet up for a celebratory dinner at a local restaurant. BLD
DAY 5 – ALICE SPRINGS AND ONWARDS
On our last day of the trip, we can arrange for you an exciting dawn balloon ride from Alice Springs (this is an optional extra and not included in the price). What a way to see the sunrise over the desert! We’ll have a sumptuous buffet breakfast, and you will have a chance to see some beautiful aboriginal art at one of the many galleries.
We will then transport you to the airport for a lunchtime flight, or you can continue on to explore more of incredible Central Australia. What an adventure you will have shared! B
GUIDES & SAFETY
WHAT TO TAKE
Central Australia experiences very hot days and cold nights. It is necessary to prepare for all conditions and to have good-quality outdoor clothing. Jeans and cotton clothing are not suitable for hiking or trail running.Essential Items
- trail runners
- duffel bag
- day pack/running pack
- 3-4 season sleeping bag
- waterproof raincoat (Gore-tex or similar)
- warm fleece/wool jersey/down jacket (not cotton)
- hiking/running shirt (quick dry material)
- hiking/running pants
- polypro/thermals – top & long-johns
- 2 pairs of hiking/running socks – preferably wool
- warm beanie
- sun hat/cap
- sunscreen and sunglasses
- hydration pack & extra drink bottles (minimum 3 litres)
- head torch & spare batteries
- insect repellent
- spare set of clothes
Optional items: travel towel, swimmers, inflatable pillow, runners or thongs (for around camp), binoculars, earplugs, trekking poles, camera.
We supply: inflatable mattresses, tents, cooking equipment, plates/cutlery, first aid kit, safety equipment and maps.
Includes 5-day guided adventure, 3 nights camping accommodation , 1 night 4.5-star hotel accommodation, transport by private minibus between Alice Springs and the trail heads, all meals as stated above together with healthy snacks, restaurant dinner, hotel buffet breakfast, National Parks Permits, first aid kit, safety equipment and cooking equipment.
Excludes sleeping bags, travel insurance (compulsory) and flights
HOT AIR BALLOONING
You can choose to go hot air ballooning on Day 5. You will be picked up from the hotel at around 5.30am, and transported back to the hotel at around 9.30am. It is an additional $395pp for 1 hour flight, or $305pp for 30 min flight. You will need to let Primal Adventures know at least 2 weeks prior to the trip. You pay the Hot Air Balloon operator directly.
Hot air ballooning is weather dependent, and may be cancelled due to adverse weather conditions. You will not be charged if cancelled.
Full payment is required 8 weeks before the date of your trek.
20 to 10 days prior to departure – 50% refund of full ticket price
Less than 10 days prior to departure – NO REFUND
Deposits are not refunded.
With any outdoor activity, there is an element of risk. Primal Adventures operates in remote and mountainous areas. Risks in undertaking this activity could include hypo/hyperthermia due to adverse weather conditions, personal injury, or property damage from hiking/running over rugged and uneven terrain.
Please see Booking Conditions at the footer of this page for further info