Kings Canyon is a must-visit destination on any Red Centre adventure. But when exactly is the best time to visit?

When's the best time to visit Kings Canyon?

Similar to Uluru, Kings Canyon is located in a semi-arid desert climate zone. Although it's a year-round destination, the best time to visit is generally during the cooler months between late spring and early autumn (May–September). The days are warm and sunny, but not too hot for hiking the Kings Canyon Rim. Summer in the Northern Territory can be stiflingly hot, but it’s doable if you're prepared with suitable clothing and set off early in the morning.

Winter (June-August)

Winter sees more temperature fluctuation with averages of 7°C to 22°C. However, the temperature can drop to below-freezing at night, so you’ll need warm layers for the evenings and early mornings. Winter is a fantastic time to explore and tackle the iconic Kings Canyon Rim Walk without sweating buckets. The trail takes you up a steep ridge onto a rocky plateau where you'll be treated to sweeping views across the desert.

While it never feels crowded in the Red Centre, winter is the busiest time of year so bear in mind that flight and accommodation prices to Alice Springs or Yulara may be higher.

Find out what to pack for Uluru and the Red Centre

Summer (December-February)

If you’re not a fan of the heat, you might want to avoid planning a trip from December to February. Average summertime temps range from 22°C to 36°C, but it’s not uncommon for highs to soar into the mid-40s. Rain is low throughout the year, but summer sees the most precipitation – mostly in January.

Aim to set off early to beat the midday sun. When the temperature is forecast to be 36°C+, you must start the Kings Canyon Rim Walk before 9 am and the South Wall Return Walk before 11 am (heatstroke is a very real threat in the desert). Another thing to note is the flies. Flies are ever-present in the Outback, but they’re particularly annoying in the summer. You’ll need to wear a head net to keep the flies out of your eyes, mouth and nose.

Autumn (March-May) and spring (September-November)

Spring and autumn are considered some of the best times to visit the Red Centre. The days are warm days and nights are cool, with average temps of 16°C to 31°C. Ensure you have suitable clothing and enough water to stay hydrated throughout the day.

Autumn is an extra scenic time to hit the trails, with daisies and native fuschia blooming after the summer rains. Spring brings a splash of pink to the rusty-orange landscape with the flowering of wattles, grevilleas and hakeas (corkwood trees).

Average temperatures in Watarrka National Park

MONTH

AVERAGE HIGH (°C)  

AVERAGE LOW (°C)  

January

38

23

February

37

23

March

34

21

April

30

17

May

25

11

June

21

7

July

22

6

August

24

8

September

29

13

October

33

17

November

35

20

December

36

22

 

Read about the best time to visit Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

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