7 Reasons to do the Kings Canyon Rim Walk

7 Reasons to do the Kings Canyon Rim Walk

A unique characteristic of Uluru/Ayers Rock, as a natural wonder, is its remoteness. It is sitting in the middle of the Red Centre of Australia, and its visitors travel by road or by air. Is it worth travelling this far? Absolutely! I can think of 7 reasons to go beyond Uluru and do the Kings Canyon Rim Walk.

The Road Trip from Uluru to Kings Canyon

Kings Canyon is part of Watarrka National Park and is 320 kms from Uluru, about 4 hrs drive. The road there is very good, with beautiful scenery. It’s a great opportunity to experience the Australian Outback without extensive distances.

The best is to drive to the Kings Canyon Rim Walk
Drive to Kings Canyon

Things to take in consideration when driving are the high cost of petrol and the fact that rental car insurance won’t provide cover if the accident involves an animal, so don’t drive at night. Also, be extremely cautious at dusk and dawn.

If driving is not an option, there are tours available from Uluru

The Sights on the Way

There is plenty to see on the way from Uluru to the Kings Canyon Rim Walk. The scenery evolves and the colours change, the wildlife is active and plentiful. Indeed, the road trip is part of this unique experience.

Mount Conner

Mount Conner is a flat-topped, horseshoe-shaped mountain, thought to be part of the same rocky mass as Uluru and Kings Canyon. It’s visible from the road between Uluru and Kings Canyon. There is a viewpoint on the side of the road, it’s worth a stop.

Mount Conner is on the way to the Kings Canyon Rim Walk
Mount Conner

The Curtin Springs Station

The Curtin Springs Station is a perfect example of life facilities in the Outback! Visit the pub, the shower block, it’s the real deal!

Curtis Springs is an entertaining stop on the way to the Kings Canyon Rim Walk

Photo Thierry Mignon
This shower block is a very Australian detail on the way to the Kings Canyon Rim Walk
Curtin Springs Station

Kings Canyon

Kings Canyon is incredibly scenic, a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It’s an adventurous destination, for those with interests in bushwalking, bird-watching, nature and photography. The climate conditions are harsh, the place is dry, isolated and in summer, temperatures easily reach 40 degrees. If you need some additional inspiration, do watch Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, where the beauty of the Kings Canyon Rim Walk holds a leading role.

Kings Canyon Resort

Kings Canyon Resort is the only place to stay. It offers a range of accommodation, from camping and holiday park to air-conditioned hotel rooms. It also has a limited number of dining options. One thing to bear in mind, there is no phone or internet signal. However, a Wi-Fi is available in the reception office for a fee.

The Kings Canyon Rim Walk

The Kings Canyon Rim Walk is a 6 km loop round trip. It is a demanding hike, starting with a steep climb of rocky and uneven “steps”, known as “Heartbreak Hill” locally. I prefer the more romantic name of “Stairway to Heaven”. Don’t worry, it’s the hardest part of the hike. Once you get over the 500 steps, you will be rewarded with the most incredible views over the canyon. After that, it’s a lot easier, with no major climb.

At the start of the Kings Canyon Rim Walk, you have to climb Heartbreak Hill
Heartbreak Hill

The Kings Canyon Rim Walk will take you through stunning and varied scenery.

The Kings Canyon Rim Walk will give you some beautiful photos
The Rim Walk

The Lost City

The Lost City is about half way through the walk and offers an amazing scenery of sandstone domes, reminiscent of the Bungle Bungles in Western Australia. There is a peaceful feel, walking through the sandstone domes.

The Lost City is a stage of the Kings Canyon Rim Walk
The Lost City

Cotterill’s Lookout

Cotterills Lookout is a place to stop on the Kings Canyon Rim Walk
Cotterill’s Lookout

The Garden of Eden

Descending from the Rim Walk, the Garden of Eden is a waterhole surrounded by lush plant life. It’s a very different environment than the sandstone domes of the top of the canyon.

The Descent

The descent back to the starting point is a slow one, with diverse views. The Rim Walk can be done anti-clockwise but the rangers recommend to do the walk in one direction only.

Other Bush Walks

The area around the Kings Canyon Rim Walk offers other walks, of various difficulty levels and lengths.

There are other bush walks to do aside from the Kings Canyon Rim Walk
Around Kings Canyon

Kings Creek Walk

The Kings Creek walk is quite easy, only 2 km return (1 hr)  and traces the bottom of the canyon. You arrive at a viewing platform to admire the 100 m walls of the canyon.

Giles Track

The Giles Track is 22 km long and connects Kings Canyon to Kathleen Gorge. It is for more adventurous hikers.

Kathleen Springs

Kathleen Springs is an easy and pleasant walk leading to a spring-fed waterhole. There are signs of past cattle industry and Aboriginal settlement.

Kathleen Springs is 22 kms from the Kings Canyon Resort. The walk is 2.4 km and is wheelchair accessible.

This walk is suitable for families and visitors with limited mobility (wheelchair access available). Signs along the track tell stories of Aboriginal Culture and the recent cattle industry. It leads to a spring-fed waterhole at the head of Kathleen Gorge. This is a cool moist place to sit and enjoy the area’s tranquillity.

The Bird Life

As part of the 7 Reasons to do the Kings Canyon Rim Walk, there is a very lively one: All over Uluru and Kings Canyon, you will see wildlife in their natural habitat. Birds are especially obvious as they tend to gather where water is available. In this dry land, a lot of these places are where humans gather. They are widely visible around water sources such as streams and swimming pools.

The Kings Canyon Rim Walk has an incredible bird life

Photo Thierry Mignon

Birds are funny characters, and their colours and shapes vary a great deal.

A little black bird on the Kings Canyon Rim Walk

Photo Thierry Mignon

What to bring

The Red Centre of Australia is a harsh place, especially in the dry season and the Kings Canyon Rim Walk is no exception. From October to April, the temperatures easily reach 40 degrees, so it’s important to rise early to get as much coolness as possible. In January, the temperature reaches 30 degrees by 7 am.

You need to be properly equipped:

Carry plenty of water wherever you go. The general recommendation is a litre per hour. I strongly recommend insulated bottles, they are really good at keeping water cool and in such a heat, it’s a blessing.

Take a wide-brimmed hat and net. Dehydration can happen very quickly so a good protective hat is required. A net to keep the flies off is also necessary. I’m not a fan of those, I preferred to experiment with a Moroccan shesh. Mine is a little bulky as I had a very long piece of fabric, but it was very good in protecting me from the heat. Furthermore, I had a length of fabric to hide my face from the flies.

Sunscreen is required. The sun kicks. Seriously. This is Australia.

Good footwear is paramount. This is very much a personal choice but it’s important to have quality footwear in order to deal with difficult terrain.

Take some snacks. Due to the heat, any walk will require a lot of energy. Even though the Rim Walk is only 6 km, it’s a significant effort, so come prepared. There are no shops out there!

Finally, bring a camera. Any kind works but make sure you have one. The views are so breathtaking, you will certainly want to take them with you.

Now, tell me, are there more than 7 reasons to go beyond Uluru do the Kings Canyon Rim Walk? Please share them!

12 Comments

  1. Dominique| Perchance to Cook

    June 27, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    Beautiful photos! I’ve never seen anything quite like Mount Conner. Your photos of the birds are amazing! It’s almost like I am there!

    1. Delphine

      June 27, 2017 at 1:00 pm

      Hi Dominique, this whole area of Australia is absolutely amazing, there is nothing like it. It’s so strange how Mount Conner stands in the middle of nothing… A bit like Ayers Rock… And the birds are everywhere. They hang out near water, so they are quite easy to spot and you get all different kinds, it’s really special!

  2. Cindy's Travel Diaries

    June 27, 2017 at 9:59 pm

    I miss Australia so much, and I wanted to go back to see Uluru… So it’s really nice that I’ve found your great article, now I have another place on my bucket list 😉

    1. Delphine

      June 28, 2017 at 7:42 am

      Thank you Cindy, I went to Uluru twice and I included Kings Canyon the second time, it’s absolutely gorgeous. Hopefully you’ll be back soon!

  3. This is Us... Living

    June 27, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    your photos are absolutely stunning, reminds me so much of my home country. I would love to hike in Australia after seeing this great post!

    1. Delphine

      June 28, 2017 at 7:41 am

      I’m so glad you like the photos, my Dad took them. Hiking in Australia is fantastic, but the Red Centre is very hot, so you have to start early…

  4. farahzia

    June 28, 2017 at 3:23 am

    Wow, this place looks amazing! You did a great job explaining it and i love the pics 🙂

    1. Delphine

      June 28, 2017 at 7:38 am

      Thanks Farazia, yes Kings Canyon is amazing. It’s quite remote but the colours are sensational. I’m so pleased you like the photos!

  5. Leah

    June 28, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    Your photos are sensational! But I bet the scenery is even more breath-taking in real life! I really need to stop reading your posts because I now have a list as long as my arm of places in Australia I need to visit! haha

    1. Delphine

      June 28, 2017 at 2:49 pm

      Leah, please don’t stop reading my posts, it’s so nice to have your company and commentary! I’m so happy that my posts are inspiring you to travel!

  6. Julie I Aloha Lovely

    June 30, 2017 at 1:33 am

    Wow, what a gorgeous landscape! I need to get to Australia ASAP!

    1. Delphine

      June 30, 2017 at 8:15 am

      Hi Julie, thank you for your comment. I agree that the centre of Australia has very spectacular scenery. It’s very hot there but definitely worth visiting! I hope you get a chance to visit some day.

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