It’s not that Ayers Rock isn’t magnificent in its own individual right, but if you happen to traipse out to the center of Australia you would be doing yourself a disservice to stop at simply the Rock and be on your way.
Kings Canyon is within easy driving distance of Ayers Rock and boosts its own beauty, wonder and good hiking workout as the more commonly visited Rock. Kings Canyon is nearly 1000 feet tall with views for miles and tales of Aboriginal history. If you are visiting be sure to stick to the set walking path as not to disturb the historical and cultural site.
Kings Canyon accommodates the hard core hiker as well as those who prefer strolling. The first walk is a just over 1 ½ miles and leads to a waterhole for walkers to cool of near in the moist air. The trail is complete with stories of aboriginal history as well as some facts about today’s cattle industry.
However, if you are coming for the spectacular views you had better fill up your water bottle and head off for King Canyon’s rim walk. This walk is just less than 4 miles and takes you along the rim of the canyon. You do have to work a bit for your reward at the top. The first leg of the hike is called “heart attack hill” in honor of its steepness. The views however are indescribable and will increase your respect for the wilderness of the Outback.
The King Canyon rim walk will lead you to a permanent waterhole, a welcome sight in the midst of dense desert. The waterhole if known as the Garden of Eden and is surrounded by lush foliage, pools and fresh cool air. After leaving the watering hole and climbing through the sandstone domes take a moment to put your ear to a tree to hear the water far beneath the land.
King’s Canyon is about 200 miles from Alice Springs but there are many different guides and agencies ready to drive you out and take you on the hiking adventure. The guides are known for their stories and add much to the walk and are well worth their fee. However there is always the option of renting a car and heading out on the adventure guide free. It is however always recommended to travel with a buddy, bring lots of water and sunscreen and don’t forget your camera.
The bush ethics apply while spending time at King’s Canyon. This code includes things such as leaving the plants and foliage alone, not removing anything from its original site and littering is simply unacceptable. Safety should always be a priority and you must prepare yourself for a nice hot hike. Avoiding the hottest parts of the day for hiking is always advised. Remember if you are coming from the Northern hemisphere that the hottest months of the year at Kings Canyon are in fact Sept-May.
The canyon is part of Watarrka National park which offers facilities including BBQ, car parking, first aid equipment, guides, and interpretive center, kiosk, toilets, shop and visitor information center.
Article by: Carly Hilios