Posted by: Gideon | July 13, 2011

Australia with Kids: The Outback Part 2: Kings Canyon

Can you see Daniel there?

The drive from Alice Springs to Kings Canyon took about 4 hours. A good road, with nothing to see really. What amazed us was that the desert seemed to be very green. Later, we learned that there had been a lot of rain – something very unusual for these parts, resulting in all the greenery. It also meant that we were left alone by the infamous flies that we  had been dreading, since they could find water everywhere.

We reached the Watarrka National Park, home to Kings Canyon in the later afternoon. We had prebooked a couple of room at the resort. Simple motel rooms at an inflated price, but that seems to be the norm in the outback. There was a decent looking cafeteria where w ate dinner, and a fancy restaurant, which we left alone.

The main reason for coming here is the Canyon itself, which you can’t see from the resort. In fact, it’s a short drive and then a hike of about 3 hours to see it in its full glory.

We were up very early, around 5am, and by 6am we were heading out of the canyon car park. The only difficult part of the hike is right at the beginning, where you have to ascend a steep set of stairs. Once you are at the top its relatively easy-going and the kids had no problem.

Sign of recent rain

The scenery is mind blowing – red rock everywhere, and we had neverending views to the horizon of a desert that had turned green. It was incredible.

A fellow hiker, high above us on the other side of the canyon.

The hike was one of the best we have ever done. Long enough and spectacular enough to be memorable, but not so long that the kids started complaining. We hiked through different scenery – hoodoo type rock formations that formed mazes, pools with water, fern filled chasms, and then we came to the lip of the canyon itself – two huge red walls on either side – the hikers on the opposite side of us looked like ants, and the patterns in the canyon walls looked like ancient writing. It was remarkable.

There was a pool that one could swim in, but we didn’t – it looked kind of murky.

Finally, the six kilometer hike was over. We rode back to the resort, swam in the pool, and just took it easy. A wonderful day!

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