Stunning 6 km Kings Canyon Walk

Kings Canyon Walk

We arrived at the Yulara caravan park in the early afternoon with plans to do the Kings Canyon walk the next day.

Yulara is a small town located in the Northern Territory of Australia, approximately 18 kilometers from the world-famous Uluru rock formation, also known as Ayers Rock. The town was specifically built to serve as a tourist hub for visitors to Uluru and the nearby Kata Tjuta National Park,.

Yulara offers a range of accommodations, including hotels, resorts, and camping sites, to cater to the needs of travelers with various budgets. The town also has several restaurants, cafes, and bars serving a variety of cuisines and beverages.

Apart from visiting the iconic Uluru and Kata Tjuta, visitors to Yulara can also explore the surrounding natural beauty by taking hikes or guided tours through the nearby national parks.

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The area is also known for its rich Indigenous culture and history, with opportunities to learn about the local Anangu people and their traditions.

The impressive Ayers Rock Resort also provides all essential services to visitors, including shops, art galleries, conference facilities, and an outdoor day spa.

Uluru still hidden behind the smoke

Uluru was still hidden behind the smoke so we drove to Kings Canyon
Uluru was still hidden behind the smoke so we drove to Kings Canyon

It turned out that the poor visibility we experienced was caused by the smoke from fires that had raged in the area a few weeks prior. As a result, Uluru did not have its characteristic red appearance, as the smoke spoiled the overall effect.

We decided to add Uluru to our bucket list and wait for a better opportunity to visit the area again in the future.

Kings Canyon Holiday Park

The following morning, we left Yulara and drove to Kings Canyon Holiday Park, which would serve as our base for the Kings Canyon walk the next day.

Halfway through our drive, we noticed a change in the weather. Although it was scorching hot at 42 degrees with no wind, we could see storm clouds looming in the distance. Soon enough, we found ourselves driving straight into the rain. As a result, our car and trailer got a thorough wash.

Kings Canyon Holiday Park
Kings Canyon Holiday Park

Kings Canyon Holiday Park is situated in a picturesque location at the foot of Watarrka National Park, surrounded by eucalyptus trees that emitted a stunning fragrance in the scorching heat. We were eager to go on a walk and explore the stunning views that were calling out to us.

However, our plans were changed by the storm that had followed us. The visibility dropped by almost half, and the ridges of the mountains we had been admiring before were now barely visible.

Neighbours from Sydney

Fortunately, our campsite was located next to a lovely couple from Sydney who were on their second lap of Australia. Interestingly, they had completed their first trip around the country 23 years ago, which gave us hope that we could do it too, but sooner.

We struck up a conversation, exchanged travel anecdotes, and shared some of our favorite places worth visiting. We even took out our photos, and they had an incredible picture of a big crocodile eating a smaller one.

Thanks to their company and shared interests, the evening passed in a pleasant atmosphere, despite the unfavorable weather outside.

Start of Kings Canyon Walk
Start of Kings Canyon Walk

Kings Canyon Walk

The following day, although the weather was not perfect, at least it wasn’t raining. With the morning temperature being relatively mild, we decided it was the perfect time to hit the track!

Our main destination for the day was the Kings Canyon walk, which was the main attraction in the region. The walk started from the car park, and at first glance, it did not seem very promising. The canyon was hidden by nearby rocks, so we had no idea what to expect. The initial part of the walk involved climbing 500 steep stone stairs.

The first part of Kings Canyon Walk was a steep hill
The first part of Kings Canyon Walk was a steep hill

Nell was complaining at first because over the last three weeks, we hadn’t done much walking, and she was beginning to feel out of practice. However, as we made our way up to the top, the walk became easier and more enjoyable.

I couldn’t resist taking hundreds of photos along the way since I had never seen such incredible views before. It was a pity that the sun wasn’t shining, as the rocks would have glowed a beautiful golden color in the sunlight. Nonetheless, the beige rocks still held a certain charm.

Kings Canyon is amazing
Kings Canyon is amazing

Wandering around the mountain peaks and domes was truly fascinating. Instead of a river flowing through the canyon, as it did millions of years ago, we now found a “river of trees” below.

As we hiked, we couldn’t help but feel as if we were in a prehistoric land. It seemed like at any moment, dinosaurs might come out from behind the rocks. Nell even started peeking around the bushes, hoping to catch a glimpse of a lurking dino.

Kings Canyon
Kings Canyon

The rocks among which we walked were once desert dunes. The wind had been moving the sand in different directions for a long time until everything eventually turned into rocks.

As we walked, we were able to appreciate the different rock formations. Before long, the gorge had revealed its magnificence, and the views were truly spectacular. The walls were high and straight with many abysses.

However, we had to be careful not to fall off the cliff since there were no protective rails.

Kings Canyon - Garden of Eden
Kings Canyon – Garden of Eden

Garden of Eden

During our Kings Canyon walk, we decided to take a small deviation down the gorge to a place called the ‘Garden of Eden’. This led us to a stunning waterhole where we enjoyed our lunch while being surrounded by the magnificent gorge.

One of the most memorable parts of the walk was climbing up on the wooden stairs to get to the other side of the canyon. The views from the top were truly breathtaking, and we were glad we took the time to experience it.

Kings Canyon - Garden of Eden
Kings Canyon – Garden of Eden

After reaching the top and admiring the walls from the other side, the path gradually descended. After about 4 hours, we finally reached the car park.

The Kings Canyon walk was approximately 6 km long, but with a few deviations from the main path, it took us some time to complete. Overall, it was an easy walk, except for the first part where we had to climb up.

Without a doubt, the experience was worth it, and we had a great time once again!

West MacDonnell

We set off early in the morning to explore the West MacDonnell Ranges. We decided to take the 177 km Mereenie Road, which is a dirt road leading through picturesque and less frequented areas.

Despite hearing that this loop road was badly corrugated and difficult to drive, we found the road to be in good condition and the drive actually exciting. As we drove through the mountainous country, we were able to witness some truly beautiful landscapes.

On the way to Western MacDonnells
On the way to West MacDonnell

As we drove, we had a stunning view of the mountains on our right and empty spaces on the left. Along the way, we were lucky to spot some wild horses.

The horses were absolutely beautiful, and seeing them grazing peacefully at the foot of the mountains felt almost surreal. I started to approach them, but one of the horses began to watch me closely, which made me hesitant to get too close to them.

Beautiful wild horses next to the road
Beautiful wild horses next to the road

Our plan was to spend the night in Hermannsburg, an Aboriginal town that used to be a former settlement of German missionaries.

However, upon arrival, we noticed that the town was not in its best shape, and it didn’t give us a good vibe, so we decided not to stop there for the night and instead headed directly to Alice Springs.

Standley Chasm

During our journey through the West MacDonnell Ranges, we made a stop at Standley Chasm. I was curious to see how it compared to Echidna Chasm in Bungle Bungles.

There was a short, 30-minute return walk to the chasm, and we were advised that the best time to view it was around noon when the sun shines on the walls, creating magnificent contrasts.

Standley Chasm
Standley Chasm

Unfortunately, we arrived at Standley Chasm around 3 pm, and by then, all the rocks were already in shade. The chasm was relatively short, measuring only around 50 metres. In comparison to Echidna Chasm, it was not as spectacular as we had anticipated.

While the chasm was still beautiful, it didn’t quite live up to our expectations.

Alice Springs again – this time a short stop

After completing the Kings Canyon walk the day before and driving a long distance through the Western MacDonnell Ranges, we were feeling quite tired. As a result, we decided to take a break and rest in Alice Springs.

During our stay, we experienced Alice Springs in a different way as the temperatures were over 30 degrees every day, making it quite hot. While resting, we also had the opportunity to get in touch with some guys from the Great Central Road who we had helped earlier.

Coincidentally, the following day was the Rugby World Cup final, and since the guys we helped were from New Zealand, Marius suggested that we watch it together.

Alice Springs - Celebrating the All Blacks win!
Alice Springs – Celebrating the All Blacks win!

So, the next night they went to the pub and had a ‘few’ beers while watching rugby. New Zealand won, so everyone was happy. It was a different experience for Marius as he had not been interested in this sport before, but now he was considering changing his mind.

On Sunday, we were served pancakes for breakfast by the caravan park staff. We also planned to go to Anzac Hill to see the sunset, but I think we were all too tired, so we ended up not going.

Additionally, the weather was hot, and we all felt very lazy. We lounged around and watched the birds. Nell socialised with whoever she came across, so by now, everyone knew her by name.

The next day, our plan was to continue our longest Australia shortcut and hit the dirt again. The Plenty Highway was that dirt road and the quickest way to get to Mount Isa, which was 830 km away. Our plan was to reach Mount Isa in two days. We checked on the internet and saw that the Plenty Highway was open, and although there had been severe fires two weeks ago, everything was already under control.

Beginning of Plenty Highway
Beginning of Plenty Highway

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4WD Equipment Checklist

GPS Navigator or compass

Maxtrax – if you get bogged, you can use it for additional traction

Tire Deflator – deflate tires quickly when going on dirt or 4WD

Air Compressor – inflate tires quickly after going back on bitumen (we use MM)

Tire Repair Kit – to fix the tire by yourself when you don’t have access to the tire shop (we use Oztrail)

UHF Radio – for communication with your mates and in emergency

Full Recovery Kit (with Dampener Blanket) – must-have if you are going on real off-road

High Lift Jack – useful if you do serious 4WD tracks

Shovel – useful if you get bogged, also good for campfire cooking

Fuel funnel with water filter – additional protection when fueling up in dodgy places

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