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Kings Canyon / Watarrka National Park

Northern Territory, Australia Travel

Kings Canyon
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On The Mereenie Loop
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View our range of Alice Springs, Uluru, Kata Tjuta, the Olgas, Kings Canyon and other tours. Many of the tours commence from Alice Springs, Ayers Rock and Darwin.

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Kings Canyon / Watarrka National Park
Many visitors to Central Australia, include the big 3 in their itinerary: Uluru, Kata-Tjuta and Kings Canyon, often in that order, leaving the best to last.

The park is accessible all year round, with the cooler months from April to September. For those planning visiting during the warmer months, care should be taken, as summer temperatures can be extreme. For those planning the Kings Canyon Rim Walk, commencing your walk, just as the sun rises, should see you complete the walk before midday. Enough water should always be carried with you at all time.

Kings Canyon Attractions

Kings Canyon
440-360 million years ago the sandstone of the George Gill Range was deposited in the shallow Inland Sea which covered much of Central Australia.

Approximately 350 million years ago, major earth movements squeezed and cracked the sandstone.

These cracks known as joints, criss-cross the range at right angles, so the range has become a series of tight fitting blocks.

Elements such as wind and rain erode the edges of teh soft sandstone blocks, widening the joint lines and rounding the edges of the blocks to form domes.

Some of the joint lines have been eroded to form deep crevices, several metres wide, with Kings Canyon being the largest of them all.
The Lost City
After the initial climb comes the entry through a narrow opening into a bizarre basin of bare rock heaped up into domes of burnished red stone.

The ‘Lost City’, as it has been dubbed, is and feels baked hard, yet in the small cracks flowering plants haves established their roots. The track is well marked and will take you past many intriguing sights such as ‘Lilliput’ the miniature city within the ‘Lost City’.
The Garden of Eden
The sandstone of Kings Canyon is like a giant sponge that soaks up the rain. Moisture seeping from the rock has turned this deep gully into a lush oasis.

It’s a refuge for rare and relict plants that have survived from a time when central Australia was wetter and rivers ran regularly.

The canyon is made of two types of sandstone with a thin layer of impermeable shale in between.

Rain seeps down through the porous rock. The bottom of the Mereenie Sandstone is saturated with water.

The shale acts like a barrier stopping the water from going into the Carmichael Sandstone.

Source: Park signage along the Kings Canyon Walk - (Watarrka National Park - Parks & Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory)

 


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Kings Canyon Walks

There are a number of walks of varying lengths:
  • The Kings Creek Walk • 2.6 km loop — 1 hour return
    A reasonably gently walk that meanders up Kings Creek to a lookout point. The walk is suitable for families. There is wheelchair access for the first 700 metres only.
  • The Kings Canyon Rim Walk • 6 km loop — 3-4 hours
    Commencing with a steep climb, the walk offers spectacular views from the Canyon rim. You get to see the buttressed domes of the Lost City and descend into the Garden of Eden, a sheltered valley with permanent waterholes and lush vegetation.
  • Kathleen Springs Walk • 2.6 km — 1.5 hour return
    Leads to a spring-fed waterhole. This walk is suitable for families and accessible to wheelchairs.
  • The Giles Track • 22 km — 2 days
    The walk traverses the top of the range from Kathleen Springs to Kings Canyon with a halfway entrance/exit point at Reedy Creek/Lilla.

Walkers intending to do an overnight walk in any Northern Territory Park or Reserve are strongly advised for their own safety to register details of your walk by telephoning the Walker Registration Scheme.
 
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