How to get to Kings Canyon

Kings Canyon is located in Watarrka National Park in the heart of the Australian Outback. It’s a 3.5-hour drive from Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park and around five hours from Alice Springs.

The most important thing to remember when planning your trip is that the Outback is big, like really big. The key is to plan ahead and ensure you’re prepared as it can take hours to get from A to B, and fuel and amenities are few and far between.

Flying to Kings Canyon

The quickest way to get to Kings Canyon is to fly to Ayres Rock (Connellan) Airport in Yulara, 20 minutes outside Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. There are regular flights to Yulara from Melbourne, Sydney and Cairns with Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Australia.

Average flight times to Yulara:

  • Sydney–Yulara: 3 hours
  • Cairns–Yulara: 2 hours 50 minutes
  • Melbourne–Yulara: 3 hours

You can also fly direct to Alice Springs. Qantas and Virgin operate multiple weekly flights from most major Australian cities including Brisbane, Darwin and Adelaide – you might find there are more flight options than Ayres Rock (Connellan) Airport.

Average flight times to Alice Springs:

  • Sydney–Alice Springs: 3.5 hours
  • Cairns–Alice Springs: 2.5 hours
  • Melbourne–Alice Springs: 3 hours
  • Brisbane–Alice Springs: 3.5 hours
  • Darwin–Alice Springs: 2 hours
  • Adelaide–Alice Springs: 2 hours

If you’re coming from overseas, you can connect via one of the cities mentioned above.

Whichever airport you fly into, you’ll then need to drive to Kings Canyon.

Driving to Kings Canyon

There’s no public transport in the Red Centre, so driving is the only option. Once you’re in the region, there are a few roads you can take to Kings Canyon depending on your starting point:

  • From Alice Springs: Mereenie Loop Road (permit required), Ernest Giles Road or Stuart/Lasseter highways
  • From Yulara/Uluru: Lasseter Highway and Luritja Road
  • From West MacDonnell Ranges: Mereenie Loop Road

The Outback heat and environment can be unforgiving, so it’s crucial that your vehicle is in good shape and that you’re prepared for long drives. You don’t need a four-wheel drive if you’re going via the Stuart/Lasseter highways or Luritja Road, as these roads are sealed.

However, four-wheel drives are recommended for the Mereenie Loop and Ernest Giles roads as they're unsealed. It’s also important to take extra care when driving at dawn and dusk when wildlife’s more active.

You’ll often drive for hundreds of kilometres without seeing another soul on the road, so always check how you’re tracking for fuel when you arrive at a roadhouse. Once you arrive at Kings Canyon, you can buy fuel and essential supplies at the service station in Kings Canyon Resort.

Still want to learn about Kings Canyon? Return to Kings Canyon FAQs

Joining a Kings Canyon tour

If you don’t like the thought of driving in the Outback or if you’d rather sit back without worrying about the logistics, you can join one of our Kings Canyon tours.

We’ll immerse you in the region’s rich cultural history and give you an unforgettable Outback experience. We have departures and drop-offs in both Yulara and Alice Springs.

Our Kings Canyon tours