Larapinta Trail snakes

So you're planning on hiking the Larapinta Trail and one of the first questions you keep getting asked is if you're ready for the snakes. It's not too surprising really - the Larapinta Trail is located in central Australia. And if there's one thing Australia's renowned for, it's deadly snakes. 

Should you be worried about snakes when hiking the Larapinta Trail?

We hiked the Larapinta Trail in August 2016 and lived to tell the tale. In fact - we didn't see any snakes at all. 

Our advice - don't waste your time worrying about snakes. 

While walking the Larapinta Trail we met several people who had to stop hiking for various reasons, including gear failure, dehydration and getting separated from hiking partners. No one we met had encountered a snake though.

The general rule of thumb with snakes in Australia is that they tend to be more scared of you than you are of them. Heavy human footsteps send vibrations through the earth which usually scare snakes off long before you make it to them. Also, the prime time for hiking the Larapinta Trail is in the June - August, the Australian winter. Which is also when snakes hibernate. 

That doesn't mean you shouldn't be aware of where you are. Snakes do live in this part of Australia. But the chance of you being bitten by one in winter is very low. The Larapinta Trail is a remote walk though - you could hike for several days at a time without seeing another person. As such, it's crucial you take precautionary safety measures, such as carrying a personal locator beacon (PLB) or sat phone with you, in case of emergency. Mobile phone reception is limited on the trail and shouldn't be relied on.

But what if you do get bitten by a snake?

Although extremely rare on the Larapinta Trail in winter, getting bitten by a snake could be life threatening if it occurred. If you suspected you had been bitten by a snake, you should call for emergency assistance immediately, either by detonating your PLB or calling emergency services from your sat phone. Due to the remoteness of the Larapinta Trail, it could take several hours for help to arrive. This advice sheet from St John Ambulance features detailed instructions on how to treat a snake bite in the mean time. 

More on planning your Larapinta Trail trip