Our Guide to Travelling to the Kings Canyon in Australia

Brimming with otherworldly rock formations, vast plateaus and lush gardens hidden within the canyon crevices, Watarrka National Park & Kings Canyon is a must-do experience on any Red Centre adventure. The park is nestled in the heart of the Australian Outback – 186 miles (300 kilometers) from Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park and  280 miles (450 kilometers) southwest of Alice Springs. If you’re joining us on one of our Kings Canyon tours, you’ll need to make your way to Alice Springs or Yulara. If you’re going alone, there are a few other ways to get there.

The most important thing to remember when planning your Kings Canyon adventure is that the Outback is big, like really big. It can take hours from A to B, and fuel and supplies aren’t as available as they are in more populated areas of Australia. The key is to plan ahead and ensure you’re prepared so you can travel around safely and have a great time.  

Flying to Kings Canyon

With the Outback being so vast and remote, flying is a great option if you’re short on time or travelling from afar. You can’t fly direct to Kings Canyon with a commercial airline, but you can fly into Alice Springs or Uluru/Ayres Rock airport. There are daily flights to Alice Spring and Uluru with Qantas and Virgin Australia from all major cities in Australia including Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns, Darwin, Perth and Adelaide.

You can jump in a taxi to get to and from the airport, or if you’re flying to Alice Springs, there’s also a shuttle bus that will cost you $16 one way to/from the town center.

Driving to Kings Canyon

If you’re driving, you’ll first need to make your way to the Red Centre region in the Northern Territory. You can drive via Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia:

  • From Queensland – Barkly Highway from Mt. Isa or the Victorian Highway from Cairns
  • From Western Australia – Victoria Highway & Buntine Highway from north WA or Tanami Road from south WA
  • From South Australia – Stuart Highway from Adelaide

Once you’ve arrived in the Red Centre region, there are several routes to Kings Canyon depending on where you’re coming from:

  • From Alice Springs – Mereenie Loop Road (5.5 hours), Ernest Giles Road (5.5 hours) or Stuart & Lasseter Highway (5 hours)
  • From Yulara/Uluru – Lasseter Highway & Luritja Road
  • From West MacDonnell Ranges – Larapinta Drive & Mereenie Loop Road

You don’t need a four-wheel drive if you’re going via the Stuart Highway, Lasseter Highway or Luritja Road as these roads are completely sealed. However, if you’re going via the Mereenie Loop Road or Larapinta Drive, four-wheel drives are highly recommended as these roads are unsealed and not cut out for 2WDs – and the Outback isn’t the kind of place you want to break down! You can buy fuel and essential supplies at Kings Canyon Resort within the national park.

Taking public transport to Kings Canyon

Public transport is limited within the Red Centre, and there are no public buses to Kings Canyon. However, you can travel to Alice Springs from Darwin, Tenant Creek and Adelaide on a Greyhound coach. From here, you can start your Kings Canyon tour or hire a car. With hop-on hop-off tickets available, travelling by coach is a good option if you have time on your hands and would like to travel at a slow pace.

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