Larapinta Trail, S5: Birthday Waterhole to Hugh Gorge
Arrernte Country

9 h to 2 days

15.3 km
oneway

↑ 968 m
↓ -920 m

Very challenging
Starting from the Birthday Waterhole - Section 4/5 Junction (900m north of the actual waterhole), Burt Plain, this walk takes you to Hugh Gorge via the Larapinta Trail (Section 5), exploring Razorback Ridge along the way. This is the fifth section of the 223km long Larapinta Trail. Prepare for an arid journey that can surprise you with shady and even refreshing parts. Your effort will be rewarded with picturesque views and vast valleys with amazing scenery. Remember to pause and experience the feeling of remoteness and serenity as you make your way through the national park. You may find some shelter from the sun whilst hiking through Spencer Gorge. The designated campsite along Fringe Lilly Creek has tent pads, yet you’ll need to handle everything else yourself. You may need to cross bodies of water depending on the season and forecast. Keep in mind that you’ll need a 4WD vehicle with high clearance to access both trailheads. 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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Warning
This journey requires significant bushwalking experience, specialised equipment and navigation skills.
Please ensure you and your group well prepared and equiped for this journey.

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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 At the intersection of Larapinta Trail Section 4 & Larapinta Trail (-23.7185171,133.3481562)
Mode Car (Keep in mind that you’ll need a 4WD vehicle with high clearance to access both trailheads.)
DirectionsFrom Telegraph Terrace, 87
  • Turn on to 6 then drive for 25 m
  • Continue onto Larapinta Drive, 6 and drive for another 850 m
  • At roundabout, take exit 2 onto Larapinta Drive, 6 and drive for another 880 m
  • At roundabout, take exit 1 onto Larapinta Drive, 6 and drive for another 44.3 km
  • Turn right onto Namatjira Drive, 2 and drive for another 9.4 km
  • Keep right onto Larapinta Trail Access and drive for another 12.9 km
  • Turn right and drive for another 1.3 km
Finish (-23.7025859,133.2593399)
Mode (end) Car Shuttle   Car   (Keep in mind that you’ll need a 4WD vehicle with high clearance to access both trailheads.)
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Track Notes
Turn by turn instructions & maps
Getting started
From the Birthday Waterhole - Section 4/5 Junction (900m north of the actual waterhole), head along the dirt track following the signage for “Section 5”, moving away from the “Birthday Waterhole” sign. Keep right as you head northwest, then veer right following the marked track as it hugs the creek (bed) to continue along Larapinta Trail, S5: Birthday Waterhole to Hugh Gorge.....
Turn map Directions & comments
At the intersection of Larapinta Trail Section 4 & Larapinta Trail Start heading along Larapinta Trail Section 5 (a walking track).
Find the water tap at the start.
Find the shelter at the start.
Find the toilet at the start.
Find the Section 4/5 Junction at the start.
After another 240 m (at the intersection of Larapinta Trail Section 5 & Larapinta Trail) continue straight, to head along Larapinta Trail Section 5.
After another 4.2 km find the "Windy Saddle" (5 m on your left).
Windy Saddle
Windy Saddle

A great spot to take a break and take in the views.
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A great spot to take a break and take in the views.

After another 5.5 km find the "Rocky Saddle" (on your right).
Rocky Saddle
Rocky Saddle

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After another 1.6 km pass the "Hugh Junction".
After another 50 m find the "Fringe Lilly Creek Campsite" (on your left).
Fringe Lilly Creek Campsite
Fringe Lilly Creek Campsite

A basic campsite that has tent pads, yet it lacks water and toilet facilites. You may get lucky and find some water along the creek but make sure you treat the water well before drinking.
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A basic campsite that has tent pads, yet it lacks water and toilet facilites. You may get lucky and find some water along the creek but make sure you treat the water well before drinking.

After another 45 m cross the ford.
After another 150 m cross the ford.
After another 3.6 km pass the water tap (7 m on your right).
After another 10 m come to "Hugh Gorge Larapinta Trail Camp Site".
The end.
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Terrain
Know the Hills, grading & facilities

Larapinta Trail, S5: Birthday Waterhole to Hugh Gorge


Grading
Class 5/6
Very challenging
Length 15.3 km
Time 9 h to 2 days
Quality of track Formed track, with some branches and other obstacles (3/6)
Gradient Very steep (4/6)
Signage Directional signs along the way (3/6)
Infrastructure Limited facilities, not all cliffs are fenced (3/6)
Experience Required High level of bushwalking experience recommended (5/6)
Weather Storms may impact on navigation and safety (3/6)

Some facilities on route
Campsite: There are 2 on route, on average they are 5.1 km apart with the largest gap of 11.6 km.

Shelter: There are 2 on route, on average they are 5.1 km apart with the largest gap of 15.3 km.

Toilet: There is one 15 m from the start.


Order of key facilities on route
ItemFrom StartName & link to notes
Shelter
8 m[shelter]
Toilet
15 m[toilet]
Camp site
15 mSection 4/5 Junction
Campsite
11.6 kmFringe Lilly Creek Campsite
Shelter
15.4 kmHugh Gorge Larapinta Trail Camp Site
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Weather & Alerts
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