Introducing Kings Canyon & Watarrka National Park
The main attraction along this route is one of the most spectacular sights in central Australia − the yawning chasm of Kings Canyon in Watarrka National Park. The other ways to get here include the unsealed Ernest Giles Rd which heads west off the Stuart Highway 140km south of Alice Springs, and the sealed Luritja Rd which detours off the Lasseter Hwy on the way to Uluru. The latter is the longest route but easily the most popular and comfortable.
Whichever way you get here you will want to spend some time shaking off the road miles and taking in the scenery. Walkers are rewarded with awesome views on the Kings Canyon Rim Walk (6km loop, four hours), which many travellers rate as a highlight of their trip to the Centre. After a short but steep climb (the only 'difficult' part of the trail), the walk skirts the canyon's rim before descending down wooden stairs to the Garden of Eden: a lush pocket of ferns and prehistoric cycads around a tranquil pool. The next section of the trail winds through a swarm of giant beehive domes: weathered sandstone outcrops, which to the Luritja represent the men of the Kuniya Dreaming.
The Kings Creek Walk (2km return) is a short stroll along the rocky creek bed to a raised platform with views of the towering canyon rim.
About 10km east of the car park, the Kathleen Springs Walk (one hour, 2.6km return) is a pleasant wheelchair-accessible track leading to a waterhole at the head of a gorge.
The Giles Track (22km one way, overnight) is a marked track that meanders along the George Gill Range between Kathleen Springs and the canyon; before starting out register with the Overnight Walker Registration Scheme.