The Namatjira Stage Descriptions

AUGUST 2022 Namatjira Stages – Short Course Summary:

Entries to the August event have SOLD OUT – entry wait list enacted.

August event incorporates a stay at the Glen Helen Outback Lodge for Day 3 and 4

  • Stage 1: 12km around Alice Springs > to the Old Telegraph Station.
  • Stage 2: 22km from The Old Hamilton Downs Station > to Standley Chasm.
  • Stage 322km Glen Helen > to Ormiston Gorge (stay at Glen Helen)
  • Stage 4: 31km Redbank Gorge > to Glen Helen (stay at Glen Helen)


Run Larapinta GPS course downloads to import into your phone – there are separate files for each stage, provided in 2 different file types. INSTRUCTIONS: on Phone – press and hold the link to download the file. on Computer: right click the link and ‘save link as’.

  1. Namatjira Stage 1: KML file and GPX file here 
  2. Namatjira Stage 2: KML file and GPX file here 
  3. Namatjira Stage 3: KML file and GPX file here 
  4. Namatjira Stage 4: KML file and GPX file here 

All competitors MUST have the map for ALL 4 STAGES loaded into a mapping app on their phone. We recommend either Maps.ME or GuruMaps (preferred) both of which are free and work when offline and use the .KML files. We have provided 2 different file types as some other mapping aps require GPX.

INSTRUCTIONS to access the files:

  • Phone – press and hold the link to download the file. on
  • Computer: right click the link and ‘save link as’.

CLICK HERE for instructions how to download this to your phone and use it on the free mapping app MapsMe – our recommended app!).

The Namatjira – STAGE 1

Date:Friday 12 August, 2022
Start location: 3km north of Crowne Plaza in Alice Springs
Finish location:Old Telegraph Station in Alice Springs
Length:12km. Elevation: 130m up and 130m down
Start time:6:00pm
Water point:Approx 6.5km pt
Cut off times:Start Time + 1hr30 at the water point (~6.5km pt)
Difficulty rating:Easy/Medium

Runners start just before sunset and then run through twilight and into darkness for the unique experience of running through the desert at night time, under a universe of stars and the outback world around you. All runners must start with a head torch that you can turn on when darkness descends (at 6:15pm).

The course follows a scenic route around the perimeter of Alice Springs on some of the running and MTB trails that surround the town and finishes in the grass parklands of the Old Telegraph Station where the finish chute it lined by hisoric Ghost Gums.

These trails are not overly technical (with the exception of a couple of short sections), but they do have a great sense of ‘flow’ and will provide a terrific introduction to the Central Australian terrain you’ll enjoy over days to come.

The Telegraph Station is just 5km from the centre of Alice Springs making for an easy transfer back to your hotel (warm down jog?).

The first race of the event takes place on the running and mountain biking trails that surround Alice Springs and follows a scenic route past many of the town’s landmarks. These trails are not overly technical(with the exception of a couple of short sections), have a great sense of flow and will provide a terrific introduction to the Central Australian terrain you’ll enjoy over days to come.


  • Alternate Stage 1 Map View in JPEG – Click Here

Please note, Stage 1 of the Malbunka and the Namatjira are not on much of the actual Larapinta Trail but alternative trails that provide a terrific introduction close to Alice Springs. 

The Namatjira – STAGE 2 

NOTE: We have been forced to make a late change to the Namatjira stage 2 course due to the extensive damage caused by the flooding rains in January – February. (The stage originally started at The Hamilton Downs Station on the northern side of the ranges but the road to the station is still inaccessible so we will approach the range from the south. The vast majority of the course is still the same, it is just ~5.5km longer than originally planned).

Stage 2 is a very challenging but incredibly scenic run that takes runners across some challenging (but spectacular) terrain.

Date:Saturday 13 August, 2022
Start location:Standley Chasm Rd – 40min drive from Alice Springs
Finish location:Standley Chasm – 45mins drive from Alice Springs.
Length:~25.6km. Elevation: 600m up and 525m down
Start time:7:00am
Water point:WP1: 7.5km point on Fish Hole Road. Runners must depart with a minimum of 3lt water with you. 
Cut off times:Start Time + 1hr40 at the Fish Hole Rd water point
Difficulty rating:Hard – steep and technical terrain

Runners will start at the junction of Standley Chasm Rd and the Fish Hole 4WD track. Once under way you’ll run 7.5km along the Fish Hole 4WD track to WP1, and then carry on along the Fish Hole 4WD track as it criss-crosses a dry, erroded river valley with some long sandy sections mixed with good running on a rough 4WD track.

Approx 11.5km after starting runners join the Larapinta Trail just south of the Fish Hole Gorge (joining the Malbunka course at their 28km pt.) From here on the trail is a lot harder with some very technical running over rough and very rocky ground as the course climbs to the top of the Chewings Range ridge line – providing some incredible views across Central Australia and the MacDonnell Ranges.

Descending into valley the trail continues to undulate and remains very rocky as you run, walk and scramble along the valley that ultimately leads to the finish at the Standley Chasm café.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Competitors please note this is the hardest stage of the event with long rocky sections providing slow going and many climbs and ascents that can proove tough in the heat – so please come prepared to embrace all elements the course throws at you.

This stage uses Larapinta Trail section number 3:


The Namatjira – STAGE 3

Stage 3 is a little longer than Stage 2 but easier on the knees and the ankles as the trail is generally less technical..

Competitors are bused to the Start Line. The race moves HQ to Glen Helen.

Date:Sunday 14 August, 2022
Start location:Glen Helen outback lodge – 1hr 20mins drive from Alice Springs
Finish location: Ormiston Gorge car park – 10mins from Glen Helen or 1hr 25mins drive from Alice Springs
Length:22km. Elevation: 530m up and 490m down
Start time:08:15am
Water point:WP1 at Ormiston Gorge (13.4km pt)
Runners must start with min 750ml hydration.
Cut off times:NA
Difficulty rating:Medium

The August Stage 3 course is very different to the Malbunka course and is described below. Both the Namatjira and the Malbunka share the same finish line at the Ormiston Gorge Visitor Centre.

Starting from the Glen Helen Lodge runners commence up the sealed side road, turn left onto the Namatjira Drive for 500m and then turn right to start on the single track just after the river crossing. Follow the marked trail until it joins the Larapinta Trail at Glen Helen Junction and turn right, crossing over the Finke River and continuing on the single track to the Ormiston Gorge car park and water point at the 13km mark (this is the same location as the finish line).

After refilling at the water point Namatjira runners must be careful to follow the Rapid Ascent course markings to commence the Ormiston Pound loop walk in an anti-clockwise direction. This track is one of the most popular walks for tourists visiting the West MacDonnell Ranges and as it takes you over the ridge and then into the astounding Ormiston Pound – a water catchment that appears to have no exit. The Ormiston Pound Loop Walk is marked with similar National Parks style track markings (different colour).

The trail through the pound is very well marked and considerably rockier and more technical than the first 13km as you climb up and then descend into the gorge itself. As runners approach the gorge proper, runners keep right to climb a short steep route to the Ghost Gum lookout before a nice gradual descent to the finish line back in the Ormiston Gorge Car Park.


  • Alternate Stage 3 August Map View in JPEG – Map A – Click Here
  • Alternate Stage 3 August Map View in JPEG – Map B – Click Here

The Namatjira  STAGE 4

The final stage is the longest of all the stages and includes a terrific sense of journey as you race along the range and across
the flats to finish at the Glen Helen outback lodge in the mighty Finke River

Date:Monday 15 August, 2022
Start location:Redbank Gorge – 25mins from Glen Helen or 1hr 45mins drive from Alice Springs
Finish location:Glen Helen outback lodge – 1h 20mins drive from Alice Springs
Length:31km. Elevation: 600m up and 660m down
Water point:13km pt at Rocky Bar Gap
Race start:07:00
Cut off times:Start time + 4hrs45 at Rocky Bar Gap at 13km water pt
Difficulty rating: Medium

August Stage 4 runners commence in an easterly direction along the Larapinta Trail. The trail skirts the south flank of Mt Sonder and makes for good running through to WP2 at Rocky Bar Gap (13km pt) where we will have a marshal, water and vehicle. Approximately 3km after WP1 is a sharp climb up to ‘Hilltop Lookout’ for views of the spectacular surroundings. After the summit is a steep switch-back descent back to the plains along a pretty flat and sometimes sandy trail heading south east.

At the Glen Helen Junction at the 26km point runners turn right to follow the marked trail to the sealed Namatjira Drive and then follow the Rapid Ascent course arrows down the sealed road to Glen Helen and then around the front of the lodges to the finish line in front of the Glen Helen homestead on the banks of the Finke River.

Cross the finish line and collapse after an incredible 4 days of running or head to the water hole for a swim or to the bar for very well earned drink! Either way, you’ve just completed the August 2022 Run Larapinta Stage Race – CONGRATULATIONS!


  • Alternate Stage 4 August Map View in JPEG – Click Here

ITRA pts  /  UTMB qualifying race

2022: The Run Larapinta – Malbunka stage race is registered with the International Trail Running Association (ITRA) and will provide successful runners with ITRA points (to help runners qualify for large international races), and UTMB points as an official qualifying race for this iconic event::

Malbunka – 4 stage finisher receives:

  • ITRA rating: 3 Endurance Points, 3 Mountain Points and Finisher Rating of 250.
  • UTMB points: 3 Points (new system).

For further information on what the ITRA points mean click here and for more information on the UTMB (Ultra Trail Du Mont Blanc) click here.