Kings Canyon (Northern Territory)
Kings Canyon is part of the Watarrka National Park in the Northern Territory, Australia. Sitting at the western end of the George Gill Range, it is 323 km southwest of Alice Springs and 1,316 km south of Darwin.
Three walks exist at Kings Canyon. The two km (return) and approximately one-hour Kings Creek Walk traces the bottom of the gorge. At the end of the walk is a platform, with views of the canyon walls above. The six km (loop) Kings Canyon Rim Walk traces the top of the canyon and takes three to four hours to complete. A steep climb at the beginning of the walk, which locals call "Heartbreak Hill" (or "Heart Attack Hill", due to its steepness), takes visitors up to the top, with spectacular views of the gorge below and of the surrounding landscape. About half way during the walk, a detour descends to Garden of Eden, a permanent waterhole surrounded by lush plant life. The last half of the walk passes through a large maze of weathered sandstone domes, reminiscent of the Bungle Bungle. A slow descent brings the visitor back to the starting point. The loop can also be done in reverse (anti-clockwise), but the National Park Rangers encourage visitors to walk in one direction. Access to the walk may be restricted during hot weather.
The 22 km Giles Track connects Kings Canyon to Kathleen Springs and is popular with more adventurous hikers.
The first European to see Kings Canyon was Ernest Giles. Upon exploring Kings Canyon during his 1872 expedition, he wrote "...could it be transported to any civilised land, its springs, glens, gorges, ferns, Zamias, and flowers, would charm the eyes and hearts of toil-worn men who are condemned to live and die in crowded towns"
- Louise Southerden (14 September 2009). "King's Canyon Rim Walk, NT". Australian Geographic. Retrieved 3 August 2014.
- "Watarrka National Park". Parks and Wildlife Commission NT. Northern Territory Government. Retrieved 3 August 2014.
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