Kings Canyon & Watarrka National Park
Feel on top of the world as you walk along the towering red rock cliffs of Kings Canyon and take in views of the forest of palms below.
Watarrka National Park is only three hours’ drive from Uluru, and is home to the mighty Kings Canyon – a majestic destination featuring 300m high sandstone walls, palm-filled crevices, and views that stretch across the desert.
More than just a day trip destination, Watarrka National Park has a range of walking trails, 4x4 tracks, camel tours and accommodation options ranging from camping to resort-style rooms.
Lace up your walking boots and explore the iconic Kings Canyon Rim walk. The 6km circuit will take you down into the Garden of Eden, a beautiful rockhole surrounded by rare plants, before ascending to 360° panoramic views over the red sand dunes.
Suitable for relatively fit travellers, the first 500 steps of the Rim Walk is the most challenging, but the view from the top is what will really take your breath away.
Featuring iconic locations along the famous walk, like Priscilla’s Crack (made famous by the classic Australian movie Priscilla Queen of the Desert), the weathered domes of ‘The Lost City’, and the Garden of Eden, the Rim Walk will take 3–4 hours and is best tackled at sunrise before the temperature rises.
Be safe and make sure to stay at least five metres away from the edge at all times.
Things to see & do around Kings Canyon
Boasting some of the best views of the night sky you can only get in the Outback, enjoy a unique outback dining experience offered by Kings Canyon Resort – Under a Desert Moon. The iconic dinner experience features a world class, four-course dinner that focuses on using fresh locally sourced produce.
Now that you’ve explored Kings Canyon by foot, the next option is to take in the grandeur and true beauty by air! Kings Canyon Resort offers Helicopter Tours with transfers to and from the resort.
- Coach Parking
- Picnic Area
- Public Toilet
- Free Wifi
Disabled access available, contact operator for details.
How do I get to Kings Canyon & Watarrka National Park?
Kings Canyon lies between Alice Springs and Yulara. It’s a 3 hour (306km) drive from Yulara.
There are two routes from Alice Springs. You can take the Lasseter Highway in around 5 hours, or the Mereenie Loop – an unsealed 4WD-only track that takes around 4 hours and requires a permit.
There are also a number of tours that can take you to Kings Canyon from Uluru or Alice Springs.
When is the best time to visit Kings Canyon?
Kings Canyon is impressive at any time of the year. The most popular time to visit is from May to October when the weather is cooler. The temperature increases from October to April, so if you want to complete the Kings Canyon rim walk, make sure you start the climb in the early hours of the morning. The track closes from 9am during the hotter months.
Can Kings Canyon be done as a day trip?
While it’s possible to visit the region as a day trip from Yulara or Alice Springs, we recommend staying at least one night so that you can wake up early and complete the Kings Canyon rim walk for breathtaking views.
How do I get around Kings Canyon?
The two most popular walking trails are the Kings Creek walk, which takes you into the canyon, and the famous Kings Canyon rim walk. You can explore the trails yourself or via a guided tour. The rim walk requires a moderate level of fitness due to the sharp incline. The Kings Creek walk is suitable for all able travellers.
Be sure to stick to the designated tracks, both for your safety and to protect the environment. It’s also hard to beat seeing the canyon from a helicopter, with regular flights available throughout the day.
How far is Kings Canyon from Alice Springs and Uluru?
Kings Canyon is 5 hours’ drive from Alice Springs (474km) along the sealed Lasseter and Stuart Highways. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can take the 4WD-only Mereenie Loop, which takes approximately 4 hours depending on the road conditions (permit required). Kings Canyon is 3 hours’ drive (306km) from Uluru.
What are the major attractions at Kings Canyon?
The most popular way to explore Kings Canyon is to hike the 6km Kings Canyon rim walk. There are a number of shorter walks such as the Kings Creek hike, a 2.6 km trail filled with stunning scenery. Be sure to watch the sunset or sunrise from a high vantage point.
What should I bring with me to Kings Canyon?
If you’re taking the Mereenie Loop, bring extra fuel, a satellite phone and plenty of water, andtell someone where you’re going. When hiking the Kings Canyon rim walk, bring drinking water, a hat, camera, sturdy walking shoes and sunscreen.
Do I need any passes or permits to visit Kings Canyon & Watarrka National Park?
Entry into Watarrka National Park is free and doesn’t require a permit.
If you’re travelling via the Mereenie loop (4WD only) you’ll be travelling on Aboriginal Land Trusts and will need to purchase a permit. Permits cost $5 and can be purchased at Kings Canyon Resort, Hermannsburg store, or the Visitor Centre in Alice Springs.
Where should I go next from Kings Canyon?
If visiting from Uluru, continue on towards Alice Springs. Visit the West MacDonnell Ranges via the Mereenie Loop (you’ll need a 4WD) and stop at Hermannsburg and Glen Helen.
If you’ve come from Alice, then a visit to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is an absolute must!