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Kings Canyon

Photo © Aussie Mel

Travel Guide Oceania Australia Northern Territory Kings Canyon



Kings Canyon is part of the Watarrka National Park in the Northern Territory, Australia. Sitting at the western end of the George Gill Range, it is 323 kilometres southwest of Alice Springs and 1,316 kilometres south of Darwin.

The walls of Kings Canyon are over 100 metres high, with Kings Creek at the bottom. Part of the gorge is a sacred Aboriginal site and visitors are discouraged from walking off the walking tracks.



Opening Hours

Kings Canyon and the park are open year-round but avoid summer heat during the day from November til March.



Sights and Activities

Three walks exist at Kings Canyon. The two km (return) and approximately one hour Kings Creek Walk traces the bottom of the gorge. At the end of the walk is a platform, with views of the canyon walls above. The six km (loop) Kings Canyon Rim Walk traces the top of the canyon and takes three to four hours to complete. A steep climb at the beginning of the walk, which locals call "Heartbreak Hill" (or "Heart Attack Hill", due to its steepness), takes visitors up to the top, with spectacular views of the gorge below and of the surrounding landscape. About half way during the walk, a detour descends to Garden of Eden, a permanent waterhole surrounded by lush plant life. The last half of the walk passes through a large maze of weathered sandstone domes, reminiscent of the Bungle Bungle. A slow descent brings the visitor back to the starting point. The loop can also be done in reverse (anti-clockwise), but the National Park Rangers encourage visitors to walk in one direction. Access to the walk may be restricted during hot weather.

The 22 kilometre Giles Track connects Kings Canyon to Kathleen Springs and is popular with more adventurous hikers.



Getting There and Around

The best way to travel to Kings Canyon is via Alice Springs or Uluru (Ayers Rock), with direct flights on Qantas and Virgin Australia into both airports, from most major cities. Once there, reaching Watarrka National Park is an great drive through some of the most panoramic country in the outback.

Kings Canyon can be reached by tarred roads

  • Kings Canyon to Alice Springs via Stuart Highway – 461 kilometres (about 4.5-hour drive, travelling on a sealed road)
  • Kings Canyon to Alice Springs via Mereenie / Larapinta Loop Road – 320 kilometres (about 3.5-hour drive, unsealed road for 198 kilometres). A permit is required if travelling the Mereenie Loop Road and this can be obtained from Alice Springs Tourist Office or Kings Canyon Resort on the day that you are driving.
  • Kings Canyon to Alice Springs via Ernest Giles Road – 330 kilometres (about 3.5-hour drive, unsealed road for 70 kilometres)
  • Kings Canyon to Uluru – 306 kilometres (about 3-hour drive)
  • Uluru to Alice Springs - 465 kilometres (a 1-hour flight or 4.5-hour driving on sealed road)
  • Kings Canyon to Coober Pedy – 753 kilometres (about 8-hour drive)

AAT Kings provides daily coach services between Kings Canyon and both Uluru as well as Alice Springs.




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This is version 1. Last edited at 10:15 on Nov 23, 15 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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