Learnings and Laughter along the Larapinta Trail


During the month of April, a small group of Year 11 Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award students and four staff members set off to hike the Larapinta Trail. The trail, which starts just outside of Alice Springs, spans 223 kilometres. It has been one of Australia’s most popular hiking trails for nearly 30 years. The great sites along the Larrapinta Trail are sacred to the Arrernte (pronounced Ah-runda) people, who have permitted tourists and walkers to visit them.

We were all beyond excited to get there and start our challenging yet rewarding experience. The adventure really began when we drove from the airport straight to the start of the trail. We faced many challenges, both mentally and physically, over the course of 10 days. During the trek we visited significant cultural sites such as Simpson’s Gap, Jay Creek, Standley Chasm, Birthday Waterhole, Hugh Gorge, Ellery Creek, Serpentine Gorge, Serpentine Chalet Dam, Ormiston Gorge, Finke River and Redback Gorge. These are sites that tourists from around the world visit Australia to see!

Throughout the trip, the beautiful waterholes kept us cool and motivated, with the weather reaching scorching temperatures. Despite the heat, we all had a great time exploring the campsites and surroundings, and learning about the stories and species that connect with the West MacDonell Ranges. The atmosphere was wonderful, and the views, stunning.

Coming to the end of the trail, the teachers surprised us with a stay at Glen Helen Resort by the Finke River, which meant that we had access to a well-needed shower. During our stay, the weather dropped dramatically to around 12 degrees and and we experienced a tropical cyclone. So, with no driving or walking able to happen over the final couple of days, we kept ourselves busy by playing card games, we watched a movie, and ventured into Alice Springs to experience its museums and the beautiful Ochre Pits.

We came out with blisters, scratches, sore bodies, but what overrides these minor discomforts are so many good memories that we will cherish forever, closer connections with friends and teachers, and resilience. We became stronger, and we all agree that we would take the opportunity to do it all over again.

We would like to thank the amazing staff: Ms Louise Tunney, Ms Danielle Toubia and, Ms Julie Stephenson for, taking this journey with us, as it would have been impossible to complete without their care and support. We especially say a massive thank you to Mr Alan Brown for arranging the whole trip, keeping us entertained with his ‘Dad jokes’, and for saving the day, every day.

Written by Year 11 Larapinta Trail hikers 2023: Mya , Isabelle , Grace , Isabella , Abbey , Abbie & Alicia

Edited by Maddie Kelly
Marketing & Communications Team