Kings Canyon

Kings Canyon, in Australia's Red Centre in the Northern Territory, is a huge 270m high canyon at the western end of the George Gill Range. Its scenic landscape of rugged ranges, rockholes and gorges is contained within Watarrka National Park, to the south-west of Alice Springs. The Canyon acts as a refuge for many plants and animals, making the Park an important conservation area and major attraction of central Australia.

The most photographed feature of Kings Canyon are its ancient sandstone walls, sculptured by the elements, rising up 100m to a plateau of rocky domes. The best way to take in the grandeur of the place is to walk around the rim of the canyon. It can take 3-4 hours and should only be attempted early in the morning during the summer months, but is well worth the effort. On the walk visitors pass the tropical pools of the Garden of Eden, and the beehive rock formations called the Lost City.

Bush walks

There are actually two walking tracks at the Canyon, both offering visitors an opportunity to escape the crowds and experience first hand the beauty and solitude of the Australian bush. The Kings Canyon Rim Walk is a must-do for nature-lovers and trekking enthusiasts alike.

The Walk affords a spectacular outlook over the Canyon’s sheer red rock walls, as well as a death-defying view to the Canyon floor 300 metres below. The Kings Canyon walk has many steep sections and is recommended for reasonably fit and healthy walkers. Tracks are constructed to a suitable standard with stairs and boardwalks to make your walk safe and comfortable and to protect sensitive vegetation and waterholes. Information on other walking tracks in Watarrka is available from other Parks Service publications.

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Kathleen Springs Gorge

There is also a walking track at Kathleen Springs. This walk is recommended for families and visitors with limited mobility. Signs along the track tell the story of centuries of Aboriginal culture and the recent cattle industry. It leads to a delightful spring-fed waterhole at the head of Kathleen Gorge. This is a cool moist place to sit and enjoy the areas tranquillity.

How to get there

The Park is located about 450km south-west of Alice Springs and can be reached by 2WD vehicle via Luritja Road from Yulara and Lasseters Highway (sealed road). It can also be reached: via Larapinta Drive, through the West MacDonnell National Park, linking into the new gravel Mereenie Loop Road (4WD recommended); or via Ernest Giles Road (4WD essential) and Luritja Road. Careful driving techniques should be applied at all times to accommodate changing road conditions.

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