The University of Newcastle, Australia

News from the Larapinta Trail

Friday, 11 August 2017

Twenty-seven volunteer champions from our alumni, community members, students and staff are trekking 65km of the Larapinta Trail in Central Australia this month. Follow their journey as they aim to raise over $130,000 to support Indigenous students and research into Indigenous community health initiatives. Find out how you can help.

Be sure to return to this page regularly to keep up-to-date with our trekkers.

The day before

In the early hours of Monday morning our Larapinta Trail Challenge trekkers headed toward Alice Springs to begin their five-day trek along the Larapinta Trail, raising funds for Indigenous education and health research.

On the flight into Alice Springs our trekkers could see from the air the beauty and sheer scale of the challenging landscape ahead of them. Steep ridges rise from vast flat spaces with trees dotted and undergrown with spinifex, all carved by dried sandy river beds. We wish them well as they begin their adventure!

Day Two

Day two of our Larapinta Trail Challenge started in Alice Springs as the group took to the road to be welcomed to country in the magnificent Standley Chasm. The Trekkers also received an insightful and inspirational cultural awareness experience from Deanella Mack of Cultural Connections NT. Deanella gave a wonderful insight into the rich history and culture of her people. Trekkers left with a much better  understanding of the people, the land and the culture and stories connecting the two.

Trekkers were then treated to a beautiful lunch prepared by Aboriginal bush food expert, Rayleen Brown of Kungkas Can Cook. Rayleen is a renowned bush food expert, deeply passionate about bush foods and their potential to bring people back to their lands and improve Indigenous health. Lunch included kangaroo, rich chutneys, native jam and dukkha spice mix which utilise wild harvest bush foods from the central desert region.

After the cool beauty of Standley Chasm, our trekkers then took to the main activity for the day, a 10km walk through Ormiston Gorge and Pound Walk. Trekkers enjoyed a beautiful and spectacular walk up to the high escarpment over-looking the pound and then descended into the pound past its magnificent cliff faces and many watering holes.

Day Three

Today our challenge trekkers undertook a trek to the top of Mt Sonder, possibly the most difficult trek of the five day challenge. The mountain, first made famous by Aboriginal artist Albert Namatjira, offers magnificent 360 degree views and put our trekkers to the test with a 16km steep trek to the top of the mountain and back. Trekkers also had the rare pleasure of adding heir name to the mountain’s visitor book.

While our main group of trekkers made their way to the highest point of the Larapinta Trail, William Tan made his way  through other sections of the Larapinta Trail. William started the day by overcoming dry, salty, sandy riverbeds to reach the Glen Helen George. Following that, William headed to a section of the Larapinta track called Rocky Bar Gap, one of the final sections of the Larapinta Trail. William overcame many difficult terrain types along the Rocky Gap trail to Mt Sonder and pushed the boundaries of what could be done in a wheel chair. The narrow, rocky trail proved very difficult. William powered on through the terrain, over many rocks, through riverbeds and spinifex. In the end, William returned home to find and repair two flat tires caused by spinifex needles.

Related news