About Kings Canyon
Watarrka (Kings Canyon) National Park is 250kms south of west of Alice Springs and has two facets to this hidden diamond.
The first is the classic red scenery, the sand dune, spinifex and desert oaks in the lower flat regions of the park which were developed during the last arid period 16-18,000 years ago. The plateau regions with its rugged beauty of towering 100m sand stone cliffs of mottled reds and yellows capped with “igloo like” domes created by wind and water erosion of the criss-cross faulted blocks. Being sandstone the absorption of water during rain periods and the slow release during the dry period, often collecting in waterholes, allows this area to support a large ecosystem even during extended dry periods making it important not only for the plants and animals but also the traditional owners.
The second is the exceptional diversity of the plant communities resulting from the overlap of the main floristic regions of Central Australia; the Western Desert, MacDonnell Ranges and the Simpson Desert region. This overlap has resulted in the park, providing habitat for over 600 species of plants, of which 60 are rare or relic. With 4 new plants having been identified in the last 3 years. Within the park there are over 115 bird species and nearly 70 reptile species accounted for, together making it a quite dense and diversified ecosystem. The park also hosts an important project site for the breeding and reintroduction of animals that once occurred in the area, but are now locally extinct. Currently the main focus is the Bilby or Macrotis lagotis also known as the Rabbit Eared Bandicoot
Activities within the park include:
A 6-8km or 3 hr rim walk gives spectacular views of the canyon as well as the surrounding desert, and allows you to gaze down in awe at the sandstone chasm plunging 275 metres below to the lush canyon floor. The alternative is the 2.5km or 2 hr creek walk which is a cooler more comfortable walk filled with the constant chatter of birds set beneath the towering River Red Gums with their white trunks and intense green leaves silhouetted against the reds and yellows of the canyon walls.