Larapinta Trail, S12: Mount Sonder
Arrernte Country

5 h to 7 h

15.1 km
return

↑ 909 m
↓ -909 m

Hard track
Starting from Redbank Gorge Carpark, Mount Zeil, this walk takes you to Mount Sonder and back via the Larapinta Trail (Section 12), optionally visiting Redbank Gorge along the way. This is the twelfth and final section of the 223km long Larapinta Trail. A worthy finish for an epic hike, Mount Sonder offers you some of the best views in the whole Macdonnell Range. And you don’t even need to get to the top to get these looks as the track has 360-degree views throughout. The permanent waterhole in the gorge is worth a visit, especially on a warmer day as the waters of Davenport Creek stay cool no matter how hot it is outside. The campsite near the trailhead has toilets and water, requiring a fee of $5 per person. The Redbank Gorge Carpark is accessible with a conventional vehicle, but a high clearance is recommended nonetheless. Wear a hat and sunscreen as there’s almost no shade along the track. 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 (-23.5774963,132.5187757)
Mode Car (The Redbank Gorge Carpark is accessible with a conventional vehicle, but a high clearance is recommended nonetheless.)
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 104.9 km
  • Turn right and drive for another 3.6 km
  • Turn left and drive for another 1.1 km
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Track Notes
Turn by turn instructions & maps
Getting started
From Redbank Gorge Carpark, head towards the sheltered trailhead that is marked by a brown “Redbank Gorge | 2 km” sign along the dirt path. Pass through the said shelter and join the dirt walking track, moving directly away from the car park. Keep right when you come to the fork (following the signage for Larapinta Trail Section 11 and 12) to continue along Larapinta Trail, S12: Mount Sonder.....
Turn map Directions & comments
Start heading along Larapinta Trail Section 11 to 12.
Redbank Gorge (about 20 m back from the start).
Find the toilet at the start.
Find the shelter at the start.
The starting point of an optional sidetrip. This side trip takes you you to the permanent waterhole in Redbank Gorge, where you can swim in the cool waters of Davenport Creek and spot some wildlife as well. Expect 35-40 minutes of moving time (out&back) added to your hike. To start this optional side trip continue straight here. On returning from this side trip turn sharp left when you get back to this intersection. Details below.
After another 40 m (at the intersection of Redbank Gorge Walk & Larapinta Trail Section 11-12) continue straight, to head along Larapinta Trail Section 11-12.
After another 115 m come to the "Larapinta Trail Camping" (35 m on your right).
Then pass the "Larapinta Trail Water" (35 m on your right).
Veer left, to head along Larapinta Trail Section 11-12.
After another 80 m cross the ford.
After another 270 m pass the sign.
At the intersection of Larapinta Trail Section 11 & Larapinta Trail Section 11-12 veer left, to head along Larapinta Trail Section 12.
After another 2.1 km come to the "Mount Sonder Lookout" (on your right).
After another 2.7 km come to the camp site (on your right).
After another 2.3 km come to a sign.
Turn around here and retrace the main route for 7.6 km to get back to the start.

This side trip takes you you to the permanent waterhole in Redbank Gorge, where you can swim in the cool waters of Davenport Creek and spot some wildlife as well. Expect 35-40 minutes of moving time (out&back) added to your hike.
Turn map Directions & comments
At the intersection of Redbank Gorge Walk & Larapinta Trail Section 11-12 Start heading along Redbank Gorge Walk (a walking track).
Continue another 1.2 km to find Redbank Gorge at the end.
Turn around and retrace your steps back the 1.2 km to the main route.
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Terrain
Know the Hills, grading & facilities

Larapinta Trail, S12: Mount Sonder


Grading
Class 4/6
Hard track
Length 15.1 km
Time 5 h to 7 h
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 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 2 on route, on average they are 5 km apart with the largest gap of 9.8 km.

Shelter: There is one 35 m from the start.

Toilet: There is one 8 m from the start.


Order of key facilities on route
ItemFrom StartName & link to notes
Toilet
8 m[toilet]
Shelter
35 m[shelter]
Camp site
190 mLarapinta Trail Camping
Camp site
5.3 km[camp site]
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