Larapinta Trail, S1: Telegraph Station to Simpsons Gap
Arrernte Country

8 h to 2 days

24.5 km
oneway

↑ 651 m
↓ -631 m

Hard track
Starting from Herbert Heritage Drive, Stuart, this walk takes you to Simpsons Gap via the Larapinta Trail (Section 1), visiting Hat Hill Saddle and Wallaby Gap along the way. This is the first section of the 223km long Larapinta Trail. Embark on a scenic journey in the arid land of Tjoritja / West MacDonnell National Park and feel like you’re back in the wild west. A chance to scorpions, creek crossings, picturesque rock formations and views for a lifetime await you on this journey. The Euro Ridge offers you great views of Alice Springs which become increasingly beautiful as the sun goes down/up. If you’re lucky, you can see a train making its way on the railway line as well. There are multiple campsites (official/unofficial) that offer you great views in lovely settings, so don’t hesitate on making this an overnight walk if you’re thinking about it. Both ends of the journey are accessible by vehicles and don’t require 4WD drive. Keep in mind that the Telegraph Station Car Park is open from 8AM to 9PM. Carry a PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) or a SAT Phone (especially if you’re tackling the whole Larapinta) instead of emergencies. Let us begin by acknowledging the Arrernte people, Traditional Custodians of the land on which we travel today, and pay our respects to their Elders past and present. 
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Safer Bushwalks
Tips on staying safe on track
Before you start any bushwalk ensure you;
• Tell someone you trust where you are going and what to do if you are overdue
• Have adequate equipment, supplies, skills & knowledge for the whole journey
• Consider the impact of weather forecasts, park/track closures & fire dangers
• Can respond to emergencies & call for help at any point
• Are healthy and fit enough for this journey
If not, change plans and stay safe. It is okay to delay and ask people for help.
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Getting There
Transport options and directions
Full Journey Larapinta Trail
Start (-23.6717846,133.8850785)
Mode Car
DirectionsFrom Stuart Highway, 87
  • Turn on to then drive for 10 m
  • Continue onto Herbert Heritage Drive and drive for another 1.3 km
  • Turn right and drive for another 290 m
  • Turn right and drive for another 260 m
Finish (-23.6785843,133.7176157)
Mode (end) Car Shuttle   Car  
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Track Notes
Turn by turn instructions & maps
Getting started
From the car park at the end of Herbert Heritage Drive (1.17km northeast of Stuart Highway), head towards the sheltered trailhead marked by the “Larapinta Trail Information” sign along the narrow paved cycleway. Cross the road, go through the said shelter and join the wide dirt track as you pass by a brown signpost to your left. Stay on the designated track as you follow the blue triangular markers to continue along Larapinta Trail, S1: Telegraph Station to Simpsons Gap.....
Turn map Directions & comments
Start.
There is a car park (about 7 m back from the start).
After another 90 m continue straight.
After another 15 m veer left.
After another 9 m veer right, to head along Cemetery Walk.
After another 25 m pass the "Larapinta Trail Information" (5 m on your left).
After another 370 m pass the cemetery (on your left).
After another 85 m (at the intersection of Cemetery Walk & Larapinta Trail Section 1) continue straight, to head along Larapinta Trail Section 1.
After another 1.5 km continue straight, to head along Larapinta Trail Section 1.
After another 2.2 km cross the ford.
After another 440 m (at the intersection of Larapinta Trail Section 1 & Wigley Waterhole track) continue straight, to head along Larapinta Trail Section 1 (a vehicle track).
After another 65 m (at the intersection of Larapinta Trail Section 1 & Wigley Waterhole track) continue straight, to head along Larapinta Trail Section 1 (a walking track).
Keep left and cross the road.
After another 1.7 km continue straight, to head along Larapinta Trail Section 1.
After another 1.7 km (at the intersection of West MacDonell MTB Track & Larapinta Trail Section 1) continue straight, to head along Larapinta Trail Section 1.
After another 3 km continue straight, to head along Larapinta Trail Section 1.
After another 380 m continue straight, to head along Larapinta Trail Section 1.
After another 2.4 km pass the toilet (25 m on your left).
Then come to the "Wallaby Gap" (6 m on your left).
The starting point of an optional sidetrip. This optional side trip takes you to the Wallaby Gap along the creek bed. Expect 10 minutes of moving time out & back. To start this optional side trip turn right here. On returning from this side trip error >360 when you get back to this intersection. Details below.
After another 15 m continue straight, to head along Larapinta Trail Section 1.
After another 90 m cross the ford.
After another 1 km cross the ford.
After another 550 m cross the ford.
After another 1.9 km cross the ford.
After another 115 m continue straight, to head along Larapinta Trail Section 1.
The starting point of an optional sidetrip. This little side trip takes you to the Scorpion Pool where you can see some scorpions --hence the name-- and spot some birdlife as well. Expect 10-15 minutes of moving time out & back. To start this optional side trip turn right here. On returning from this side trip error >360 when you get back to this intersection. Details below.
After another 60 m continue straight, to head along Larapinta Trail Section 1.
After another 50 m cross the ford.
After another 860 m continue straight, to head along Larapinta Trail Section 1.
After another 1.5 km veer right, to head along Larapinta Trail Section 1.
After another 2.4 km find the "Hat Hill Saddle" (6 m on your right).
Hat Hill Saddle
Hat Hill Saddle

This scenic point offer you great southerly views over the surrounding land, especially around sunrise/sunset.
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This scenic point offer you great southerly views over the surrounding land, especially around sunrise/sunset.

Then find the "Hat Hill Saddle Campsite" (5 m on your right).
Hat Hill Saddle Campsite
Hat Hill Saddle Campsite

This campsite is often used by people hiking the Larapinta Trail even though it is not a designated campsite and has no water & facilites. The exceptional views over the hill makes for great sunsets/sunrises though.
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This campsite is often used by people hiking the Larapinta Trail even though it is not a designated campsite and has no water & facilites. The exceptional views over the hill makes for great sunsets/sunrises though.

After another 1.7 km cross the ford (about 50 m long)
After another 165 m cross the ford (about 30 m long)
After another 30 m come to the "Larapinta Walkers Campsite" (130 m on your left).
The starting point of an optional sidetrip. This optional side trip takes you to the permanent waterhole along Roe Creek at Simpsons Gap. You can't swim in the waterhole, but the possibility of seeing a black-footed rock wallaby in this peaceful place can make the 25-30 minutes you'll spend worthwhile. To start this optional side trip turn right here. On returning from this side trip turn right when you get back to this intersection. Details below.
After another 105 m (at the intersection of Larapinta Trail Section 1 & Darken Drive) continue straight.
After another 30 m to find the "Larapinta Trail Information".
About 25 m past the end is a toilet.
The end.

This optional side trip takes you to the permanent waterhole along Roe Creek at Simpsons Gap. You can't swim in the waterhole, but the possibility of seeing a black-footed rock wallaby in this peaceful place can make the 25-30 minutes you'll spend worthwhile.
Turn map Directions & comments
At the intersection of Darken Drive & Larapinta Trail Section 1 Start (a service road).
After 40 m pass the toilet (60 m on your left).
After another 40 m to find the "Simpsons Gap".
Continue straight.
After another 55 m pass the "Simpsons Gap" (10 m on your right).
Then pass the "Simpsons Gap" (10 m on your right).
After another 350 m come to "Simpsons Gap Waterhole".
Simpsons Gap Waterhole
Simpsons Gap Waterhole

This permanent waterhole is home to black-footed rock wallabies along with other wildlife. Unfortunately, you can not swim in the waterhole.
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This permanent waterhole is home to black-footed rock wallabies along with other wildlife. Unfortunately, you can not swim in the waterhole.

The end.
Turn around and retrace your steps back the 480 m to the main route.

This little side trip takes you to the Scorpion Pool where you can see some scorpions --hence the name-- and spot some birdlife as well. Expect 10-15 minutes of moving time out & back.
Turn map Directions & comments
Start.
After another 290 m come to "Scorpion Pool".
Scorpion Pool
Scorpion Pool

This shaded waterhole surrounded by red rocks is known for its scorpions --hence the name-- but it can surprise you with some lovely bird species such as the Diamond Firetail and even a falcon.
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This shaded waterhole surrounded by red rocks is known for its scorpions --hence the name-- but it can surprise you with some lovely bird species such as the Diamond Firetail and even a falcon.

The end.
Turn around and retrace your steps back the 290 m to the main route.

This optional side trip takes you to the Wallaby Gap along the creek bed. Expect 10 minutes of moving time out & back.
Turn map Directions & comments
Start.
After another 285 m come to the end.
Turn around and retrace your steps back the 285 m to the main route.
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Terrain
Know the Hills, grading & facilities

Larapinta Trail, S1: Telegraph Station to Simpsons Gap


Grading
Class 4/6
Hard track
Length 24.5 km
Time 8 h to 2 days
Quality of track Formed track, with some branches and other obstacles (3/6)
Gradient Very steep (4/6)
Signage Clearly signposted (2/6)
Infrastructure Generally useful facilities (such as fenced cliffs and seats) (2/6)
Experience Required Moderate level of bushwalking experience recommended (4/6)
Weather Weather generally has little impact on safety (2/6)

Some facilities on route
Camp site: There are 3 on route, on average they are 6.1 km apart with the largest gap of 13.9 km.

Shelter: There are 3 on route, on average they are 6.2 km apart with the largest gap of 24.4 km.

Toilet: There are 2 on route, on average they are 8.2 km apart with the largest gap of 13.9 km.


Order of key facilities on route
ItemFrom StartName & link to notes
Shelter
130 mLarapinta Trail Information
Camp site
13.9 kmWallaby Gap
Toilet
13.9 km[toilet]
Campsite
22.4 kmHat Hill Saddle Campsite
Camp site
24.3 kmLarapinta Walkers Campsite
Shelter
24.4 kmSimpsons Gap
Shelter
24.5 kmLarapinta Trail Information
Toilet
24.5 km[toilet]
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