The place to come for the Australian outback experience – jaw-dropping geological formations (including world-famous Uluru), sleeping out in swag bags, sampling bush tucker, and connecting with authentic Aborginal culture.
Travel bucket list idea:
Watarrka National Park, Northern Territory, Australia|
The 100m-deep Kings Canyon gorge epitomises the raw desert beauty of Central Australia. A dramatic sandstone rock formation, formed more than 400 million years ago, it has a long indigenous history, stretching back some 20,000 years. Located in the protected Watarrka National Park, it is also home to more than 600 species of native wildlife.
Most visitors come here to hike. There are two main trails to choose from. The 6km Kings Canyon Rim Walk along the top of the canyon takes 3-4 hours and includes a stop at the ‘garden of Eden’ waterhole. The shorter Kings Creek Walk is 2km (return) and takes about an hour, and tracks along the bottom of the gorge.
Other great ways to experience the area are camel rides, quad bike safaris and helicopter flights are also popular – as is dining under the stars.
While you’re there
If you’re stopping over at the Kings Canyon resort, book in for the ‘Desert under the Moon’ dining experience. A 5-course meal is served under the stars (over 18s only).
Getting there & doing it
The park is 300kms from Yulara by sealed road (about 3 hours’ drive). It’s better to come on an organised tour, with a guided walk.
You can do it in a (long) day trip from Yulara – there are many such tours – or if you have time stay overnight at the simple but pleasant Kings Canyon Resort.
If you are going independently, you can download a map with information from the NT government website.
When to do it
Winter (June to August) is the ideal time to be in the desert. Spring and autumn can work well too.
Desert summers (December to March) are too hot for hiking and any physical activity. It’s also the wet season, when the air is filled with relentless swarms of annoying flies. On the plus side, it’s less crowded.
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