Kings Canyon, Northern Territory

King's Canyon, Red Centre, NT. © Tourism Australia

Kings Canyon, Northern Territory

Kings Canyon is part of the Watarrka National Park in Australia’s Northern Territory. Sitting at the western end of the George Gill Range, Kings Canyon is approximately midway between Alice Springs and Uluru.

This ancient formation of tall red rock faces that soar above dense palm forests of palms is an important conservation area and refuge for more than 600 species of native plants and animals, many unique to the area.

The soaring sandstone walls of Kings Canyon were formed when small cracks eroded over millions of years. Derived from an Aboriginal word referring to the umbrella bush that thrives here, the Luritja Aboriginal people have called the Watarrka National Park area home for more than 20,000 years.

Climb to the top of the rim of Kings Canyon at sunrise or sunset. The challenging six kilometer Kings Canyon Rim Walk takes around 3-4 hours. There are spectacular views of the gorge below and of the surrounding landscape. Take a guided rim walk with an Aboriginal elder and learn about the significance of the area to its traditional owners.

Descend to the canyon to the Garden of Eden, a permanent waterhole surrounded by lush plant life. Explore the unusual weathered rock formations known as The Lost City. For the less energetic, the shorter and easier Kings Creek Walk at the Canyon base leads you through lush ferns and eucalypts to a platform with views of the sheer canyon walls above. The 22-kilometre Giles Track that connects Kings Canyon to Kathleen Springs is popular with more adventurous hikers.

You could also explore the landscape from the back of a camel on a camel safari or tour Kings Creek Station, a real working outback cattle station, by four-wheel quad bike. To appreciate the true beauty and grandeur of Kings Canyon see it from above on a scenic helicopter flight.

The Red Centre Way drive connects Alice Springs, Uluru and Kings Canyon. It can be explored on your own on a self-drive itinerary, but there are long distances between major towns and attractions.

A good option for covering all the major sights comfortably is on one of the many well organized coach or private tours. An added advantage is that you can take your time to relax and enjoy the outback scenery. Expert guides will help you better understand this extraordinary part of Australia.

An excellent base for exploring the wonders of Alice Springs, Uluru and Kings Canyon is Kings Canyon Resort. The resort offers accommodation ranging from deluxe hotel rooms to budget backpacker-style lodge rooms as well as caravan and camping facilities. Experience the authentic outback and stay at Kings Canyon Wilderness Lodge, part of Kings Creek Station.

Kings Canyon is located approximately 300 km north east of Uluru and 450 km south west of Alice Springs. Ayers Rock and Alice Springs airports are around a three-hour flight from Sydney and Cairns or a two-hour flight from Darwin or Adelaide. The most comfortable time to visit is the cooler winter months between May-September.

More Australian Ideas