The Kings Canyon

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The Watarrka National Park, the traditional lands of the Matutjara people, was not exactly on our list, but we had heard nothing but good things about it. From Uluru, we thought of next going to Kings Canyon, a “short” four-hour drive over sealed roads. Even though it was a long drive, we decided to go for it, and it was the best decision because the Canyon was mind-blowing, and one of the biggest and most unexpected surprises for us!

Treasures at the Kings Canyon
Treasures at The Watarrka National Park and Kings Canyon

Located southwest of Alice Springs, you can reach the Watarrka National Park also via the Stuart Highway, with Lasseter Highway and Luritja Road being all sealed.

Tip: If you choose the Red Center Way, driving from Alice Springs to West MacDonnell National Park via the Mereenie Loop to Kings Canyon, a permit is required, and it is 4WD only!

Happy us at the Rim Walk
Happy us at the Rim Walk The Watarrka National Park and Kings Canyon

Walks in the Kings Canyon

There are several walks to choose from at Watarrka National Park, and even though we only did the Rim Walk, we are sure the other walks won’t disappoint.

The breathtaking views at Kings Canyon
The breathtaking views at Kings Canyon

The Kings Creek Walk: 2,6 km 1-hour return, gentle slope to Kings Creek, suitable for families, and wheelchair access for the first 700 meters.

The Kings Canyon Rim Walk: 6 km, 3-4 hours, steep climb at the beginning, spectacular views from the Canyon Rim, weathered domes of the “Lost City” and lush vegetation of the “Garden of Eden” (no swimming), suitable for fit and experienced walkers.

Map of the Kings Canyon Rim Walk
Map of the Kings Canyon Rim Walk

South Wall return Walk: 4,8 km, 2-hours return, steep climb to the south wall of Kings Canyon, suitable for fit and experienced walkers.

Kathleen Springs Walk: 2,6 km, 1,5-hours return, spring-fed waterhole (no swimming), suitable for families.

The Giles Track: 22 km, 2-days, top of the range from Kathleen Springs to Kings Canyon, with a halfway entrance/exit point at Reddy Creek/Lilla.

TipKings Canyon doesn’t allow overnight camping and is most pleasant from April until September. It is often recommended to do the walk before 11 am as they close the Canyon when it gets too hot in summer.

Passing water holes at Kings Canyon
Passing water holes at Kings Canyon

The Kings Canyon Rim Walk

We love hikes and nature and were extremely curious to find out what the Kings Canyon Rim Walk hype was all about. It is labeled as moderate to difficult, but we knew that families with little children can do this walk relatively easily. So we were hoping that we could do it too!

Ready for the Kings Canyon Rim Walk
Ready for the Kings Canyon Rim Walk

Once we arrived at the free parking area, it was a short stroll to the start of the walk. In front of us was a very steep stony way which we tackled without hesitation. But within a few minutes, we were sweating and gasping for air. It was hot and the climb was as steep as it looked from the bottom. We took several breaks, pretending each one was because of the amazing views! And once we made it to the top, and rested our jelly legs one more time, we were happy as kids in a candy store. We had made it and were rewarded by unending views of the great plains that stretched out as far as our eyes could see.

View down from the start of the Kings Canyon Rim Walk
View down from the start of the Kings Canyon Rim Walk

Continuing, we walked along the spectacular cliffs, quickly finding ourselves in-between glowing red rock formations.

Kings Canyon
The Watarrka National Park
What an awesome day at the Rim Walk
What an awesome day at the Rim Walk

Not having expected the dramatic landscape, we are in absolute awe. And the further we walked, the better it got.

One of the Top Highlights in the Northern Territory - Kings Canyon
One of the Top Highlights in the Northern Territory – Kings Canyon

Tip: Be aware that there are no barriers, and you can walk right to the edge of the cliffs. So, be sure to mind your step, and don’t get too close to the rim.

Admiring ancient rocks and soaking in the views
Admiring ancient rocks and soaking in the views

The Ancient Sand Dunes

After seeing the dizzying 200-meter-high cliffs, we continued our walk. We could have stared at the rock wall for so much longer, but knowing that it would get extremely hot soon, we wanted to see more of the canyon.

Two hundred meter high cliffs at the Creek
Two hundred meter high cliffs at the Creek
Kings Canyon is so incredibly beautiful
Kings Canyon is so incredibly beautiful

We followed the markers and came through scraggy rocks, building into large walls on both sides of us. It was amazing, and we couldn’t help but touch these ancient stones.

The Rim Walk was more than we expected
The Rim Walk was more than we expected

On our way, we read a sign that explained that this area was formed by the cross-bedding of wind and sand over millions of years. The sand accumulated and formed domes that were then inundated by silica-rich water which cemented the sand grains together. Parts of the land collapsed under the weight of the rocks.

Endless views over the Kings Canyon
Endless views over the Kings Canyon
Walking on the edge
Walking on the edge

Just a few steps further, another wonder was waiting. We found an ancient riverbed!! How incredible is that!

Ancient Riverbed
Ancient Riverbed
Feeling the history of Kings Canyon
Feeling the history of Kings Canyon

The Garden of Eden

When you do the Rim Walk, there are not only rocks and dried trees but also a very impressive, lush area, rightly called The Garden of Eden.

Descending into the Garden of Eden
Descending into the Garden of Eden
Nature at Kings Canyon
Nature at Kings Canyon
Bridge over the Garden of Eden
Bridge over the Garden of Eden

Over bridges and staircases, we finally arrived at a gate, which marked the end of the South Wall Return Walk, and was unfortunately also the turn to our way back to the parking lot.

Continuing our Rim Walk
Continuing our Rim Walk
View over the Canyon
View over the Canyon

We took our time looking over the astonishing sand domes. We still couldn’t believe how amazing this place is!

Climbing up those steep rocks at Kings Canyon
Climbing up those steep rocks

As the day started to get hotter and hotter, we had to drag ourselves away and begin our way back.

Approaching the South Wall Return Walk
Approaching the South Wall Return Walk
Fauna of Kings Canyon
Fauna of the Watarrka National Park

We think that the Kings Canyon is an absolute Must See and one of the most beautiful things in the Northern Territory!

South Wall Return Walk
South Wall Return Walk
Thank you Kings Canyon for an unforgettable day!
Thank you Kings Canyon for an unforgettable day!

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