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Always carry enough water. DO NOT rely on natural sources for water
Water will be one of the most important considerations for many people planning to walk the Larapinta Trail. With the exception of the Parks maintained water tanks and facilities, there are very few, if any, natural water sources along the entire length of the trail. It is highly likely that most walkers will be entirely dependent on the Parks maintained tanks to re-supply their water. This will also significantly influence the walk/camping schedule for many hikers.
Key Points
Point There are water tanks at each trailhead and at intermediate points
Point NTPWS (Park Rangers) maintain trailhead water tanks
Point DO NOT use trailhead water for washing clothes!!
Point Treat any water you source along the trail including tank water
Point There are natural water sources but they are very unreliable
Point Carry a minimum of 6litres of water per day
Point Rehydrate your body each night/morning at the trailheads
Section 5/6 Tralhead Birthday Waterhole
Section Trailhead Tanks
Water Tanks can be found along all 12 trailhead's along the trail as well as at the intermediate points in some sections (see table below). Park Rangers regularly fill these tanks with water throughout the year. The majority of the tank water is from a bore (you will notice the calcium taste). The water is OK to drink directly from the tanks but it is recommended that the water is treated (i.e. boiled or puritab treated) to kill off any bacteria that may be sitting in the tanks.
Water Tank Matrix
Water Tank at Redbank Gorge Camping Area
Telegraph Station
Wallaby Gap
Simpson's Gap
Mulga Camp
Jay Creek
Standley Chasm
Birthday Waterhole
Hugh Gorge
Ellery Creek
Rocky Gully
Serpentine Gorge Car Park
Serpentine Chalet Dam
Ormiston Gorge
Finke River
Rocky Bar Gap
Redbank Gorge Car Park
Main Visitor Area Water Supplies
Popular tourist locations like Ormiston Gorge, Ellery Creek, Simpsons Gap and Telegraph Station all have significant water supply infrastructure to meet the needs of day visitors and/or 2WD campers. Most of the water at these locations is from rainwater tanks and/or bore water.
Natural water sources along the Larapinta Trail are infrequent. Relying on natural water sources is a very high risk decision and is NOT recommended. Please remember that this is Central Australia, a dry arid region. Most natural water sources or areas in the West MacDonnell Ranges National Park are very unreliable particularly on high ground and in
open country. Many of the gorges, waterholes, rivers and creek lines are dry, and if any water does exist, they are normally stagnant. Some are putrid. Some well know spots that contain medium to large quantities of semi permanent water include Ellery Creek Big Hole, Serpentine Gorge, Finke River and Davenport Creek.

If you choose to re-supply your water from natural sources, it is imperative that all water is treated very carefully.
See our blog for more information on natural water sources along the Larapinta Trail.

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