Welcome to one of Australia's wildest, most wondrous landscapes

With 100-metre-tall walls that drop into palm-lined chasms, giant boulders that make you feel like an ant and sweeping views across the rust-coloured desert, Kings Canyon is a huge highlight of the Red Centre. Hiking up to the canyon rim is full of surprises — one minute you're weaving through a maze of beehive-shaped domes known as ‘The Lost City’, and the next you're blissing out by a waterhole in the Garden of Eden. Like Uluru and Kata Tjuta, Kings Canyon is highly sacred to the traditional owners, and you'll also have an opportunity to connect with Country and learn about Luritja and Pertame culture during a unique cultural experience.

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Tailor-Made trips

Take four or more on an exclusive trip and tailor your itinerary

Highlights of Kings Canyon

A First Nations guide explaining ancient sand drawings on the Karrke Aboriginal Cultural Experience

Learn about ancient Aboriginal culture

Meet with Lurit­ja/Per­tame (South­ern Aran­da) guides for an immersive cultural experience on their ancestors' land. You'll be welcomed with a smoking ceremony where you'll walk through smoke to cleanse and restore your energy, before learning about traditional bush tucker and medicine, dot painting and ancient cultural knowledge that's been passed down the generations. You'll know how to extract a witchetty grub from an acacia tree root in no time!

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A traveller climbing through the famous Priscilla's Crack on the Kings Canyon Rim Walk

Tackle the Kings Canyon Rim Walk

Get ready for one of Australia's best hikes. After ascending to the plateau of this 400 million-year-old canyon, you'll be treated to awe-inspiring vistas that stretch as far as the eye can see. This hike keeps on giving, with cliffs so sheer they could've been cut with a knife and massive boulders that make you feel tiny in the best way. But wait, there's more! Climb down to the canyon floor to relax in the Garden of Eden – a sacred Aboriginal waterhole home to 600 species of flora and wildlife.

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A table at the Sounds of Silence Dinner in Watarrka National Park

Dine under the outback skies

Enjoy a delicious five-course dinner in the heart of the rugged landscape of Watarrka National Park. The desert-inspired menu highlights seasonal, locally sourced ingredients and native herbs such as lemon myrtle, wattle seed and bush tomato. Starting with canapes and sparkling wine at sunset followed by an entree, main course and dessert under the glittering night sky, this is a truly unique dining experience.

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Traellers enjoying a drink at sunset in Kings Canyon, the Northern Territory

Watch a Kings Canyon sunset

No trip to Watarrka National Park is complete without watching the sunset. Grab a cold one from the pop-up bar at the sunset viewing platform and witness the changing colours of the desert landscapes. As the sun gradually disappears behind Carmichael's Crag, watch in awe as the George Gill Range lights up with hues of red, pink and purple. Don't forget to look up as the sky transforms into a canopy of stars.

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Kings Canyon tour reviews

Kings Canyon FAQs

Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards

From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises). However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.

Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.

Learn more about Intrepid's COVID-19 proof of vaccination policy

All of our Red Centre trips start in Yulara (a resort town on the outskirts of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park) or Alice Springs.

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

You can also fly direct to Alice Springs – Qantas and Virgin operate multiple weekly flights from most major cities in Australia.

Learn more about how to get to Kings Canyon

Kings Canyon is a year-round destination, but 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 hot enough that you’ll melt in the sun. 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 to beat the midday heat.

Learn more about the best time to visit Kings Canyon

You'll be doing a fair bit of walking, so make sure you bring a comfy pair of walking boots or runners with good sole grip. In terms of what to wear, bring hiking pants, leggings or shorts, t-shirts and a long-sleeved shirt to prevent sunburn and pesky insect bites. It can get cold at night, particularly in winter, so you’ll also need a warm fleece and a jacket. Lastly, don’t forget to bring a reusable water bottle, a small day bag and a sun hat to cover your head and neck.

Mobile phone and data signal in Kings Canyon resort is pretty good, although some network providers tend to be better than others. Expect the signal to be patchy or completely cut off on the Outback roads and within Watarrka National Park (Kings Canyon). You can usually pick up a few bars of signal at the roadhouses if you need to send a message or make a call.

Yes, drinking tap water is safe throughout the Red Centre. Ensure you bring a 1-2 litre reusable water bottle to refill at the water station in the Kings Canyon car park. Staying hydrated is important as the Outback sun is intense and you'll be doing many outdoor activities.

The Luritja and Arrente people are the traditional owners of Watarrka National Park (Kings Canyon). As one of the world's oldest living cultures, they have lived on Watarrka for over 20,000 years and are deeply connected to the land and waters.

It depends on the trip style you choose. Our Basix and Original trips feature simple (but comfy) camping accommodation in permanent or semi-permanent tents with stretcher beds and shared facilities, or a mixture of camping and budget hotels.

If you choose a Comfort or Premium trip, you'll stay in 3-to-4-star hotels and resorts with private amenities.

Learn more about our trip styles

The Red Centre covers a huge, very remote area of Central Australia. We'll spend many hours driving from A to B in an air-conditioned vehicle. Make sure you bring ample snacks and maybe a few podcasts to listen to – or use it as an opportunity to get to know your fellow travellers! With a comfortable, air-conditioned bus, sit back and enjoy the unique desert landscapes that you'd miss in any other form of travel.

You can use a credit or debit card for purchases in most roadhouses and at Kings Canyon Resort. However, it's always handy to have cash for smaller purchases. You can withdraw cash at a number of ATMs in Alice Springs or in the Town Square at Ayres Rock Resort in Yulara. Most of the highway roadhouses will also have an ATM or the option to get cashback. 

Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. However, we’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.

Learn more about accessible travel with Intrepid

Read more about the Northern Territory