King’s Canyon Travel Guide (Watarrka)
In this article, we take a look at some of the key facts about Kings Canyon in this handy travel guide.
Kings’ Canyon (Watarrka) Travel Guide, Northern Territory
Nature in the region
- Kings Canyon is a vast natural red canyon that soars 100m above Kings Creek to a plateau of rocky domes. It is positioned at George Gill Range.
- Kings Canyon is 400 million years old.
- It is part of Watarrka National Park, 450 km from Alice Springs.
- The Park is home to over 750 different species of plants, 60 of them being rare and unique to the region.
For more information of Watarrka National Park, please visit these websites:
History of King’s Canyon
King’s Canyon – The Traditional Owners
- The Luritja and Arrente Aboriginal people have lived here for more than 20,000 years.
1800s – Early European Exploration of King’s Canyon
- 1872 – Earnest Giles discovered the Watarrka region.
- He named the Kings Creek and Kings Canyon after his friend Fielder King.
1960s – Tourism in the Land
- 1961 – First European place of residence (Wallara Ranch) was built by Jack Cotterill. He established tours through Kings Canyon.
- 1990s – Approximately 60,000 people were visiting Kings Canyon each year.
- Currently, there are 300,000 visitors to the park each year, including the residents.
King’s Canyon Land and Language
- The areas around Ulpanyali and Watarrka National Park are also referred to as Luritja country.
- The dialect of Luritja spoken there is called as Southern Luritja (identical to Titjikala Luritja)
King’s Canyon Population
- The permanent population in the Kings Canyon area is approximately 400.
For historical information of the Luritja people please visit this website: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luritja_dialect
Tradition / Customs
- The Tjukurpa is the spirituality, law, moral compass for day-to-day life and justice system of the Anangu people.
- Under the Tjukurpa law, they belong to certain places and dreamings of Watarrka National Park and surroundings.
- On the Park, the countries Ulpanyali, Watarrka, Lila and Wanmarra are identified with predominant dreaming tracks and particular families.
- The Tjukurpa is not memorized. It is passed on to people who have inherited or earned the right to possess the knowledge.
- Their ceremonies play an important role in passing different sections of Tjukurpa knowledge to successors of younger generations.
King’s Canyon Art & Culture
The Luritja area relies heavily on the sale of artwork. Luritja artwork has a large number of artists. The Aboriginal art sites in the Watarrka National Park displays many of their artwork.
For more information on the culture of the traditional owners of the park, please visit this website: https://dtc.nt.gov.au
Animals / Birdlife
Grey shrikethrush, while-plumed honeyeater,
|Garden of Eden|
Hooded Robin, spinifex pigeon, diamond dove, crested pigeon, grey honeyeater, rock ctenotus
|Kings Canyon Rim Walk|
|Garden of Eden|
Red treefrog, yellow-faced whipsnake, thorny devil
|Kings Creek Walk, Kings Canyon|
|Garden of Eden|
Dingo, spotted nightjar, camel, brumbies
|Kings Canyon Resort campsite|
For more information on the animal and birdlife of the region please visit this website: https://www.thewildlifediaries.com/wildlife-of-uluru-and-the-kings-canyon
Tours to Kings Canyon
Key sights of tours to this region:
- Sunrise from atop Kings Canyon
- Helicopter flight over Watarrka National Park
- Garden of Eden
- Self-guided 22 km Giles Track from Kings Canyon to Kathleen Springs
- 4WD Safaris / quad bike tours
- Memorable Aboriginal experiences
- Bushwalks and wildlife spotting
Notes for traveller safety and comfort:-
- The first 700 km of the Kings Creek Walk is only accessible by wheelchair.
- Travellers should have a moderate physical fitness and choose a walk that they can handle
- Wear a hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, suitable clothing and comfortable footwear
- Avoid strenuous activity during the heat of the day
- Overnight camping in tents or campervans is not permitted in the National Park
- Firewood collection and fires are not permitted
For more information on our tours that visit the Kings Canyon click the tours tab in our menu.