Kings Canyon Australia

Kings Canyon Australia is a fantastic place to visit.

Watarrka National Park is one of the greatest national parks in the Northern Territory.


It's mostly known for Kings Canyon, but it covers 71,000 hectares of red rugged country and pockets of lush vegetation in gorges and rock holes south-west of Alice Springs in the outback Northern Territory.
Sheer Northern Wall of James Range, King's Canyon, Australia
Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to buy.

Easy way to visit:

TOURS TO WATARRKA FROM ALICE SPRINGS

TOURS TO  WATARRKA FROM AYERS ROCK












Geology

Watarrka National Park is part of George Hill Ranges and it’s much younger than the neighbouring West Macdonnell Ranges.  Watarrka’s sandstone was formed from sediments laid about 440 million years ago – about the time of the Cambrian Explosion, when a lot of species all “suddenly” (in geological terms) evolved and the first life appeared on land. Aboriginal people have lived here in 20,000 years and the first Europeans appeared in the area in the 1870s.

Kings Canyon National Park, Northern Territory, Australia, Pacific
Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to buy.

Plants and Animals in Watarrka National Park
The area was once covered by inland lakes and tropical woodlands, parts of which remain today in deeper gorges where there are native figs, eucalypts and cycads which have survived from the times of dinosaurs. There are about 600 other plant species in the area, including Spinifex grasses and some rare plants that are not found elsewhere in the area. Animals include wallabies and other smaller marsupials, and the most obvious birds are woodswallows and the spectacular Spinifex pigeons.
 
Spinifex Pigeon (Petrophassa Plumifera) Portrait, Australia
Spinifex pigeon. Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to buy.

How to get Here
You can access the Watarrka National Park both via the Lasseter Highway (the road to Uluru and Kata Tjuta National Park) in the south, and the smaller, unsealed Meereenee Loop Road from the West Macdonnell National Park in north. In the end of the Mereenie Loop Road is Kings Canyon Resort at the northern entrance to the national park. You can also get here by taking tours from Alice Springs and tours that start from Ayers Rock.

Mereenie Loop, the Road from Kings Canyon to Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia
Mereenie Loop Road. Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to buy.

Luritja Road and Kathleen Springs
If you enter from the south, via the sealed Lassetter Highway, you first come to Kathleen Springs, where there are picnic tables, gas barbeques, toilets and a 2.6km walking track that takes you to a cool waterhole. From Kathleen Springs, you can either drive north towards the Kings Canyon, or you can hike the Giles Track - a 22km bushwalking track that crosses the top of the range and goes all the way to Kings Canyon, although you can exit (or enter, of course) the track to Luritja Road half-way at Reedy Creek.

Kings Canyon National Park, Northern Territory, Australia, Pacific
Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to buy.

Kings Canyon Short Walk
Once at the canyon, there is a picnic area with gas barbeques, toilets and picnic tables, and not far from here are the starts of two walking tracks. The shorter one – the 2.6km Kings Creek Walk takes you along a gentle slope up to a lookout point.

Ghost Gum Tree, Watarrka National Park, Northern Territory, Australia, Pacific
Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to buy.

Kings Canyon Long Walk
The longer track, the 6km loop around the canyon rim, is a spectacular walk that starts with a steep climb to the canyon rim and then goes around the rim. The track has some good views over the canyon and opportunities for great photos.

Section of Kings Canyon, Watarrka National Park, Australia
Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to buy.

Lost City and Garden of Eden
Along the Canyon Walk there are the eroded pinnacles of the Lost City, and some lush riverine vegetation around the Garden of Eden – a cool swimming hole great for a dip on a hot day. To minimise erosion, this walk has to be made in clockwise direction, and in the end it descends to the car park.

Kings Canyon, Watarrka National Park, Northern Territory, Australia
Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to buy.

Kings Canyon Tours
There are free guided walks in Watarrka that start from the car park; and helicopter flights are available from Kings Creek Station Hotel and Voyages Resort. You can also join tours that take you here from Alice Springs and Ayers Rock.


Kings Canyon National Park, Northern Territory, Australia, Pacific
Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to buy.


Kings Canyon Accommodation
Camping in the bush is unfortunately not allowed in the Watarrka National Park, but the Voyages Resort offers both luxury accommodation and shady campsites with barbeques, and it also has a restaurant. There is also the Wilderness Lodge & Resort, and if you like a different kind of accommodation, try Kings Creek Station Hotel some 35km south of the canyon - it has good campsites, a shop, a pool, a kitchen, a barbeque area and a billy-tea-and-damper evening entertainment.

A Ghost Gum with an Exposed Root Thrives in Rocky Terrain at Kings Canyon, Australia
Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to buy.

Here's a map of Watarrka National Park, where I have tagged the places that I mentioned on this web page. You can click on the tags to see what places they are, and double-click anywhere on the map to zoom it in and see the places closer. Drag the map to move around, and if you want to see the satellite image with Google Earth, click on "Sat" in the top right hand corner.

 
View Larger Map









Been to Kings Canyon Watarrka National Park?

Been to Kings Canyon Watarrka National Park?

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