Kings Canyon: Scenic Desert Royalty







Contributed By Gavin Wyatt

The harsh desert landscapes of the 'red centre' of Australia are as unforgiving and brutal as they are beautiful. Stretching as far as the eye can see are miles and miles of sunbaked earth, seemingly devoid of feature except for resilient shrubbery, large dunes and strange geological features. Yet desert regions are becoming increasingly popular with tourists for different reasons- their stark beauty; their vastness; and perhaps the feeling of complete detachment from modernity they provide. The Northern Territory of Australia, because of its amazing array of desert landscapes and the large number of attractions within them, is able to capitalise on this increasing interest. One place that has benefited, and rightly so, is the Watarrka National Park.

Situated on the Western edge of the George Gill Ranges, this park is a 310 kilometre drive west of Alice Springs. Its a very important conservation area, characterised by numerous rock holes and gorges, which together with their river system support over 600 species of plants and many animals. The main feature is the awe-inspiring Kings Canyon, a large chasm that cleaves the earth to a depth of 270 metres in some places. Its high walls protect thick forests of palms and cycads from the harsh sun, allowing them to flourish on the gorge floor and up its sides. A ranger station lies 20 kilometres away from the canyon and provides a worthwhile introduction to the flora and fauna of the Park, as well as to its history.

The only way to truly experience the beauty of the canyon is to go on either of the two walking tracks that take you away from the central viewing spots that can become rather crowded. This allows you to experience the solitude of the Australian outback first hand, and really appreciate the vegetation and the fauna likely to be encountered. There are signs along the way that highlight points of interest, one popular favourite being the Garden of Eden, a secluded valley where large clumps of palm trees surround a deep waterhole. Another central attraction is the 'Lost City', a series of beehive-like rock formations that resemble the ruins of an ancient city. The walls of the king Canyon are especially impressive when the sun is rising or setting, and the soft orange glow reflects off their steep sides.

A smaller gorge lying about 20 kilometres from Kings Canyon is Kathleen Gorge, at the head of which is a delightful waterhole called Kathleen Springs. This tranquil and spring fed waterhole is popular amongst walkers, who make use of the easy going demarcated trail that is suitable for children or the unfit or those with limited mobility. There are signs along the gorge that tell stories about the local Aboriginals and also the cattle industry of the region. The waterhole itself is a cool and moist place that provides a refreshing break after the walk and gentle relief from the hot sun.

A longer and more arduous walk is the Giles Track, which is a 22 kilometre trail running between Kings Canyon and Kathleen Gorge. This should not be attempted without planning and preparation, but along its length you will encounter stunning vistas, impressive natural wonders and the remains of ancient Aboriginal art and culture. Remember to take lots of water, and to register with the rangers before attempting the walk.

Another popular attraction for travellers here is the Kings Creek Station. This is a large camel and cattle ranch where you can stay in a shady camp ground with other tourists or book into the safari cabin set amongst the natural bush. A large swimming pool provides welcome relief from the heat, and you just have to try a Kings Creek Camel Burger, famous the world over! An easy stroll will get you to the George Gill lookout, from where you can see the whole range laid out before you. The owners here are friendly and welcoming in typical outback style, making it a great place to base yourself for your exploration of Watarrka Park.

So if its a holiday with a difference your after, one where you can re-establish your connections with nature and the environment and enjoy some genuine time on your own or with your family in beautiful settings, then look no further than the Watarrka National Park. The best way to get here is to fly into Alice Springs and pick up a hire car there and drive the rest of the distance to the park. You could always make a tour of it and include Uluru (Ayers Rock) on your travel itinerary, as that lies about 300 kilometres south. However you design your itinerary, no doubt you will be blown away by the spectacular desert scenery and the wide open spaces.

Gavin Wyatt is a journalist with a passion for travel. originally from Zambia he has traveled around the world to end up on the sunny shores of Australia. For more of his articles visit Northern Territory Car Rental







Similar Listings You May Be Interested In

Accommodations in Australia | View More...

Oasis at Palm Cove
From USD $
120AU
per Night/Room

Oasis at Palm Cove
Port Douglas, Australia Hotels & Resorts - WELCOME TO THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS - OASIS AT PALM COVE Oasis at Palm Cove apartments offer you the best of both worlds: an excellent location in an exclusive cul-de-sac just a genuine 200 metre walk to Palm Cove beach and village, and a quiet...

Eskdale Bed & Breakfast, Brisbane, Australia
From USD $
104
per Couple

Eskdale Bed & Breakfast, Brisbane, Australia
Brisbane, Australia Bed & Breakfasts - A traditional old Queenslander, close to the West End restaurant district, 2 km to the city center, 1 km to Southbank Parklands, the Cultural Centre and the Convention Centre. The house is a typical Federation-era Queensland house, built in 1907....

Malibu Holiday Apartments

Malibu Holiday Apartments
Mooloolaba, Australia Hotels & Resorts - Mooloolaba is one of the great locations of Australia. Here you can enjoy the mesmerizing locations, shimmering sands and glittering water with Malibu Resort Apartments. We provide uninterrupted ocean views and easily beach access from our fully furn...


Activities, Adventures & Tours in Watarrka National Park | View More...

Bikescape Motorcycle Tours & Rentals
From USD $
51
per Person

Bikescape Motorcycle Tours & Rentals
Sydney, Australia Motorcycle Tours - Self-ride motorcycle tours throughout Australia. Check out the One Way Specials! All sizes and styles of late model bikes. Chauffeured rides available! Scooters available!...

Coco Mooloolaba

Coco Mooloolaba
Mooloolaba, Australia Bike Tours - Looking for resort accommodation on the Sunshine Coast? Coco Mooloolaba holiday accommodation is the perfect choice for singles, couples and families. Apartments complete with generous balconies and provide facilities like heated pool, heated spa and...

Cycle Australia - Up the Centre and Around 2015
From USD $
1,300
per Person

Cycle Australia - Up the Centre and Around 2015
Mentone, Australia Bike Tours - Cycle around Australia starting down the Murray River and up to Ulurur and then across the top and dopwn the coast back to Melbourne. 5 legs in all from 1400 to 5500 kms. Mostly camping - small grp...


Nature & Wildlife in Australia | View More...

Gold Coast Whale Watching

Gold Coast Whale Watching
Gold Coast, Australia Whale Watching - Gold Coast Whale Watching with Whales in Paradise. Experience the best whale watching has to offer on Australia's beautiful Gold Coast. Cruise aboard our luxurious catamaran to whale alley where we secure the best position to get closest whales....

Escorted Self-drive Tours to Outback Australia
From USD $
200
per Night

Escorted Self-drive Tours to Outback Australia
Scarborough Beach, Australia Eco Tours - Discover remote and exciting destinations on our award-winning, professionally escorted, nature-based, soft-adventure, self-drive,small group tours through Outback Australia. Most adventures led by Tour Guide of the Year, Jeremy Perks....

Australian Wild Escapes
From USD $
200
per Person

Australian Wild Escapes
Sydney, Australia Eco Tours - This fantastic Ecotour begins at your hotel & the historical Rocks area of old Sydney. Heading westwards across the coastal plain we make our way to the Great Dividing Range of Australia. It is here we leave the ‘average’ Blue Mountains tourist b...


Personal Growth in Australia | View More...

Brewery Tour In Convertible Chevy (price per car)
From USD $
481
per Group

Brewery Tour In Convertible Chevy (price per car)
Melbourne, Australia Wine Tasting - We visit 4 Breweries. These are Buckleys, White Rabbit, Hargreaves Hill and Coldstream and travel at your pace through the Hinterland of Yarra Valley. We stop for Lunch at Hargreaves Hill Brewery. Breweries do NOT OPEN Mon, Tue and Wed....


Browse 2470 Other Listings in Australia





Advertise Your Accommodation or Travel Services


Create A ListingGreat Vacations & Exciting Destinations Listing
Add a full-page listing promoting your accommodations, tours or travel services to customers on our network of travel sites. Your listing page can have up to 26 images, unlimited text, interactive map, availability calendar, ecards, photo-gallery and more.
Rates From US $17 Per Month    » View Details

Search Vacation Ideas
Current Search






Disclaimer: Information provided through RealAdventures website, newsletters, emails or other services has been provided directly by the companies and/or individuals owning or offering the products/services. RealAdventures does not guarantee or warranty the accuracy of the information contained herein. It is the sole responsibility of the user to ensure the accuracy and clarity of any posted material and to determine the suitability of any service for their particular needs or requirements. Likewise, it is the responsibility of advertisers to determine the suitability and credit worthiness of potential customers prior to any transaction.


Listing # RA-1162206