Grading descriptions for each section are based on a good level of fitness, fit people with extensive previous trail running and bushwalking experience:

  • Medium: a narrow track which may be rough in places, with some climbing and descending
  • Hard: a rough and narrow track with some steep and/or long climbs and descents
  • Very hard: a rugged track or marked route with frequent steep and long climbs and descents

 

Day 1—Sun 23 July

Day overview

Runners arrive Alice Springs
Transfer McDonnell Ranges Caravan Park (pre booked group accommodation).
Sort gear, pack trailer.
Visit Anzac Hill.
Group meeting and dinner at Uncle’s Tavern.

Logistics—runners

Runners organise own flight bookings.
Runners arrive in Alice Springs and make their own way to Caravan Park.
Group shopping for food for the trip.

Accom/Meals

Big 4 MacDonnell Ranges Caravan Park, camp sites booked by Running Wild
Pre run dinner and briefing at Uncle’s Tavern

Day 2—Mon 24 July

Day overview

07:00 Breakfast
07:30 Drive to Telegraph Station
8:00 Run to Simpsons Gap
Meet vehicle, lunch, sightseeing, set up camp
Afternoon at leisure
Group cooking

Grading and comments

Section 1—EASY
23.8 km to Simpsons Gap
Water at Wallaby Gap (14 km)
About 4.5 hrs easy running to Simpsons Gap (lunch—water and toilet)

Accom/Meals

Overnight at Simpsons Gap—bush camp, toilet, no showers or camp fire
Lunch
Dinner: group cooking

Day 3—Tue 25 July

Day overview

06:00 Departure
Run from Simpsons Gap to Jay Creek and on to Standley Chasm

Grading and comments

Section 2—LONG, EASY
25.1 km 5 hrs easy running
Section 3—HARD
14.6 km 4.5 hrs strenuous running
Stunning gorges, great climbs
Total 38.7 km—9.5 hours

Water available at:
14 km at Mulga Camp
24 km at Jay Creek
Possible water at Fig Springs
Low route to Millers Flat
Water/Kiosk Standley Chasm

Accom/Meals

Overnight at Standly Chasm
2 course dinner in restaurant
Camping on grass, camp fire, toilets, shower

Day 4—Wed 26 July

Day overview

06:30 Departure
Standley Chasm to Birthday Waterhole

Grading and comments

Section 4—VERY HARD

Steep and hard sections
400 m climb - breathtaking views
Brinkley Bluff has a long uphill (400 m) and a steep downhill, unsafe in heavy rain.
Possible water at Suart Pass
Total 17.7 km—5.5 hours

Accom/Meals

Camp at Birthday Creek Waterhole
Swimming, Camp fire, bush camp,
Lunch
Dinner: group cooking

Day 5—Thu 27 July

Day overview

07:00 Drive from Birthday Waterhole to Hugh Gorge
08:00 Run back to Birthday Creek

Grading and comments

Section 5—HARD

17.8 km 5.5 hrs strenuous jogging, walking, scrambling over boulders, steep and hard
Difficult navigation, great gorges
Water at Hugh Gorge
Track passes through waterholes—wet feet!
Possible water at Fringe Lily Gully 8.7 km

Accom/Meals

Camp at Birthday Creek Waterhole
Swimming, Camp fire, bush camp
Lunch
Dinner: group cooking

Day 6—Fri 28 July

Day overview

06:45 Drive from Birthday Creek to Serpentine Gorge
08:30 Run Serpentine Gorge to Serpentine Dam Chalet

Grading and comments

Drive in to Serpentine Gorge—1.45 hours 4WD

Section 8—EASY run
Run free day, mobile phone service at Contes Peak
Easy run to locked gate
18 km 4 hours
Total car/walk—6 hours

Accom/Meals

Camp at Ormiston Gorge
Swimming, bush camp, toilets, showers
Lunch
Dinner: group cooking

Day 7—Sat 29 July

Day overview

07:00 Run Serpentine Chalet Dam to Ormiston Gorge

Grading and comments

Section 9—HARD
31 kms 7 hrs including 500 m climb and very steep descent
Some very steep downhill walking
No water along this section
Fantastic views

Accom/Meals

Camp at Ormiston Gorge
Late Lunch
Dinner at Ormiston Gorge—Pizza and salad

Day 8—Sun 30 July

Day overview

06:00 Ormiston Gorge to Red Bank Gorge

Grading and comments

First 18 km flat easy running—1 water crossing
Section 10—EASY
9.1 km 1.5 hrs easy running
Section 11—MEDIUM
27 km
Finke River 3.5 km—Easy
Redbank Gorge 22.5 km 6.0 hours
Good views from hilltop lookout
Water at Finke River
Wet river crossing
Easy running before climb to hilltop lookout
Water at Rocky Bar gap 14.2 km
Water at Redbank Gorge 26 km

Accom/Meals

Woodland camping area
Camp at Red Bank Gorge
Camp fire, bush camp, toilets
Lunch
Dinner: group cooking

Day 9—Mon 31 July

Day overview

Rise 04:00
Drive to start of walking track
Start 04:30 Redbank Gorge to Mt Sonder and back
Sunrise viewing

Grading and comments

Section 12—MEDIUM
15.8 kms, 4 - 5 hrs
2.5 hours to ascend
1.5 hours to descend
Can be VERY cold and windy
Climax of trip
Run/walk up Mt Sonder (1379 m) and back
Breakfast
Drive to Glen Helen—lunch/afternoon at leisure

Accom/Meals

Glen Helen Resort—Camp, showers/toilet
Lunch
Celebratory Dinner—Glen Helen Resort

Day 10—Tue 01 Aug

Day overview

07:30 Breakfast
09:00 Pack up and drive to Alice Springs
11:00 Tour finishes at Alice Springs
Own arrangements

Accom/Meals

Own arrangements after breakfast