Watarrka National Park
Watarrka National Park
5
National ParksNature & Wildlife AreasHiking Trails
About
This national park whose name, Watarrka, comes from the Aboriginal word for the umbrella bush, is best known for the spectacular sheer walls of Kings Canyon. This scenic landscape of rugged ranges, cliffs, rockholes and gorges and is a must see attraction of central Australia. Please note that in hot weather forcast to be 36 degrees celsius and above, there are access restrictions to some walks.
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3 within 6 miles

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5.0
5.0 of 5 bubbles81 reviews
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Aussie Traveller
Brisbane, Australia374 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Couples
Enjoyed the walk which was easy and interesting, and well worth a visit for a leisurely stroll, compared to the Ridge walk. Adequate parking available with toilet facility and appears to be not as popular as the other walks. It is around 21km from the Resort and is well signed.
Written March 31, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

1TraveltheWorld
Alice Springs, Australia12,254 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2016 • Couples
Living in the centre, provides great opportunities to visit places like this spectacular location over several occasions.

Watarrka National Park incorporates the much visited and Spectacular, Kings Canyon at the western end of the George Gill Range, Petermann Pound and also Kathleen Springs, located further along Luritja road, towards Kings Creek station at the southern end of the park.

Unless you are driving along the 4WD only, Mereenie Loop road, (which is the shortest route and only 300km back to Alice Springs), there are no fees. You can purchase a pass at the Alice Springs tourist info for a couple of dollars, or up to $6 from Kings Canyon resort for the trip back.

If you do decide to take the Mereenie loop road back to Alice Springs, there is a spectacular view of the back of Kings Canyon, which is approximately 30km from Kings Canyon resort itself.

You will be driving on a winding dirt road up a small escarpment and look for the rest stop on your right hand side.

Kings Canyon is a 6 km drive from Kings Canyon resort or approximately 35km from Kings Creek station if that is where you are staying.

There are approximately 500 steps to get to the top for the rim walk.

It is a difficult climb, but take your time a there are plenty of rest stops along the way and I have walked this with a 70 year old couple.

Once at the top, it becomes a lot easier and the only other main stairs are before/after the Garden of Eden. You can even still see some fossilised remnants of ancient sea beds

A 6km and an average 3.5 hours return, includes an 800 metre detour to visit the Garden of Eden which has a lovely swimming hole surrounded by some steep cliff and cycads.

If you love photography, you will have to do this walk more than once.
Morning light, is spectacular over the Rim and the distant domes.

Also Carmichael Crag and the Lost city.

After 3pm, no sunlight penetrates into the Garden of Eden, although the pictures of the south wall are stunning from then on, to late afternoon.

Be aware, the rangers do close the Rim walk from around 9am on hot days, reaching above 36C.

This mainly starts within the hotter months from October to March or so depending on
seasonal weather.

The Kings Creek walk through the middle of the Canyon, is a shorter 1 hour return walk.

Although not as spectacular, it does give you a different perspective from below ending up on a viewing platform.

For an ultimate experience, you can book a helicopter flight with Professional Helicopter Services at Kings Canyon. I know the boys alternate their flying agendas between the Canyon and Yulara on a rotational basis.

They are specialized experts in their field, and from personal experience, will give you a spectacular sight-seeing flight.

You can book at reception and they will pick you up from your accommodation.
Kings Creek Station also do helicopter flights and I have been told from a few associates that they are also very good.

I have not flown with them, so is only purely a "pass on" recommendation.
Written January 15, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

victabug
Melbourne, Australia125 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2019
Luke from Kings Canyon Resort was wonderful. He drove us to the rim where we spent 41/2 hrs walking the rim. It was a beautiful walk. Lots to see and we stopped to take many Photos. Luke from the Resort picked us up after our walk. It was a wonderful day, sensational views. We certainly thought it was the most beautiful place in the NT.
Written September 15, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

CliveT64
Ashford, UK355 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2015 • Couples
Watarrka National Park is home to King Canyon, a chasm cleaving the earth to a depth of some 270 metres. It is situated on the western edge of the George Gill Ranges, 300km to the north east of Uluru/Kata Tjuta National Park and 310km west of Alice Springs. Kings Canyon soars over 100 metres dense forests of palms, ferns and cycads. It is a place overlooked by many making their way from Alice Springs to Uluru and vice versa but was inserted in our itinerary by our tour agent and how glad we were that they did so.

My wife and I left our room in the Kings Canyon Resort at about 6am and arrived at Kings Canyon by 6.15am to do the canyon rim walk which is 6.5 km and which the guide books say takes three to three and a half hours to complete. We in fact did it in just over 2 hours by the time we reached the car park again. Doing it early means you avoid the heat of the day and we were advised to start early and finish by 8am. This was very good advice because even by then it was hot. The route we took was arduous in parts and I would say a good degree of fitness is required to take the route where you have to clamber up the side of the mountain to get to the top to do the rim walk. There is an easier, shorter route on the other side where the ascent is stepped and it was on this path that we alighted down from the mountain, after completing the rim walk, into the car park. This is the Kings Creek walk and leads into the centre of the Canyon but you do not get the views that you will on the rim walk.

All along the rim walk, there are markers pointing you in the right direction and posters are displayed strategically with information on the geology, history, wild life, fauna and flora and generally explaining the natural history. The views from the rim are breathtaking taking in the weathered buttress domes of the “Lost City” and the “Garden of Eden”, a sheltered valley with permanent waterholes and lush vegetation

The approach to the rim walk is daunting because it is a steep climb to the top over rocks, although some are strategically placed to make life a little easier. After that it is mainly plain sailing as the terrain opens out over the plateau of the mountain so it is perfectly safe with lots of greenery and spectacular sights across the landscape. There are plenty of photo opportunities and places to sit and stare and to rest up to take in the amazing scenery. There are some cliff edge manoeuvrings and walks across wooden bridges and up and down wooden stairways which make it a bit hairy at times. The terrain is rocky so you do find yourself hopping up and down rocks from time to time. There are sheer cliff faces and the drops are big but these are for looking at and not for climbing! It is very windy at the top where the views are great but in the main it is reasonably cooling, so comfortable. Plenty of water is needed.

The descent is pretty easy and leads to the car park. We were very glad that we made this detour from Uluru on our way to Alice Springs.

On our way out of Kings Canyon we stopped off at Catherine Springs about 30 kilometres away and which is clearly sign posted. This attraction has historic connotations as it was an important water hole in a remote location and upon which the indigenous people were heavily reliant. It is a walk of 2.5km to the water hole from the car park. This area was used by the aboriginal people thousands of years ago and more recently (but no longer) by aboriginal stockmen to water their cattle.

There are still remnants of a stockade where horses and cattle would have been kept but has long been deserted. It is surrounded on three sides by the mountains and eventually as you near the pool you can see traces of water life simply by the abundance of greenery, rushes, bushes, trees, in contrast to the approach from the car park which is rugged. An enclosed pool greets you which surprisingly is plentiful. It is a natural spring and there is a lot of insect life buzzing around and dragon flies in particular skim around the water and seemed to guide us out when we were leaving. We saw zebra sparrows swirling from tree to tree screeching loudly.

It was about 11am by then and getting hot so we made our way back to the car. We realised as we arrived back in the car park that we had been the only people in the world there at that particular time. How spooky!
Written March 9, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Oldjack
Greater Melbourne, Australia28,853 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2022
Although the Watarrka National Park covers Kings Canyon and beyond, and has been reviewed separately the easy short walk in Kathleen Springs had its own beauty and was very worthwile doing. Pretty scenery as you enter the gorge and end up at the water hole at the end.Not to be missed.
Written June 5, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Briantravel
Diamond Beach, Australia215 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2019 • Couples
The 6 Km Kings Canyon Rim walk starts off with a steep and difficult climb up 'many' steps formed in the rocks, but then evens out to a spectacular walk around the canyon rim.

Despite the many flies and sometimes uneven terrain, it was a most enjoyable and scenic experience with some amazing colours and views. Walking down into the "Garden of Eden" was a must, although the prevailng drought had left vegetation looking 'sad' !

The day was hot (expected max 35C) , so we set off early (8.00 AM) and did the walk at a leisurely pace in just on 3 hours.
Written April 30, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Thom S
Canton of Zurich, Switzerland208 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2018 • Couples
We decided for the Kings Canyon Rim Walk, 6 km loop, ideal time was for 3 to 4 hours, moderate to difficult grade. We started at 7.03. This is the official description of the walk: The Rim Walk allows walkers to gain spectacular panoramic views of Kings Canyon, tranquil surroundings at the Garden of Eden. This walk begins with a steep climb to the top of the Canyon then generally follows the canyon plateau before descending to the carpark. It is advisable to wear a shady hat, wear sensible footwear and clothing, use sunblock, carry and drink plenty of water, avoid strenuous activity. There is a wifi at the entrance to our surprise. The park is well maintained with visible general signage and safety signage. It was not crowded. The first 20 minutes of the walk were the most challenging. It has a lot of stairs and boardwalks. Highlights were ancient sand dune which are now cross bedding in the beehive like domes on top of the range, The Garden of Eden which is a lush oasis, The Rock Domes which are beehive domes that make the plateau look like a lost city, they are the result of erosion of vertical cracks in the sandstone. The different sides of the Canyon showcases unique landscape, flora and fauna, each side very instagramable and simply master planned by nature. It was all worth it staying overnight at the lodge and walking up early for this one wildly beautiful walk. We ended the walk at 9.57 am. Social Media time at the entrance.
Written November 7, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

C...
Victoria, Australia82,684 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2018 • Friends
Rugged ranges, rockholes and moist gorges make up this park and it's amazing to be able to walk through and enjoy it. We managed the Kings Creek Walk before altering our perspective and heading in to do a helicopter trip over it.

What I can tell you is that during the 2.6 kilometre walk... I stopped to watch birds, look at the fauna … and just take in what I was seeing over and over again. The walk is meant to take an hour... and with the stopping and just enjoying it, I believe I was out there for an hour and a half. The park is truly stunning.

I will say it's a long way to get here... but when you are there... it's very worth it. You will undoubtedly see wild camels on your way and dingoes. And then there's the kangaroos. It's so very beautiful.
Written July 8, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Les B
New South Wales, Australia990 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2016 • Couples
Location Isolated as it is much further from Alice Springs then most people think but it is outback Australia so you expect the isolation.
Service 5/5 We found all the people associated with the park etc to be friendly
Value 5/5 Free
Atmosphere 5/5 Majestic and inspiring. A must see! Put on bucket list very near the top. This is a most spectacular place to see. Be warned the Rim walk is strenuous for the first ¾ km of so to get to the top. After that it is relatively easy but you still need to be fair agile. There are some stairs and these are steep. The walk back down the Southern wall is not as strenuous. The overall walk with side tracks is about 6 km and will take 4 hours or so. The path(?) is sometime a bit hard to see as you are walking over rock platforms, etc so keep an eye out for the blue arrows on posts to find you way. STAY WELL AWAY FROM THE CLIFF EDGES!!! For the less agile there is a creek walk and this is also recommended for those doing the Rim walk as well. As at May 2016 the viewing platform on the creek walk is closed after boulder fall.
Overall 5/5 It is a long way to get here but well worth the trip especially if you see the other things in the area. Take the time to look and learn.

Watarraka National Park (Kathleen Springs)
Location On the road to Kings Canyon and worth the stop.
Service N/a
Value 5/5 Free
Atmosphere 5/5 Majestic and inspiring. A 2.6 km return walk to a waterhole that is spring feed. The path is wheelchair friendly but probably need someone to push a manual chair. Passes through a gorge to a small waterfall at the end with a big pool of water (no swimming allowed). We saw with water in the creek however normally a dry creek bed.
Overall 5/5 It is a long way to get here but well worth the trip especially if you see the other things in the area. Take the time to look and learn.
Written June 4, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

dschens
Heidelberg, Germany70 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2014 • Couples
If you travel to Outback visiting Ayers Rock and the Olgas you should not miss the Kings Canyon in Watarrka National Park. Located about 300 kilometers north of Ayers Rock it is really worth a visit. The street is in a very good condition and you can easily make the route within 3 hours. Enjoy the beautiful landscape with the fascinating Canyon and the oasis-like Garden of Eden. Tipp: To fuel up. go to the Kings Canyon Resort instead of the Kings Creek station, fuel is cheaper over there!
Written August 2, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Watarrka National Park - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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