Kings Canyon Resort, Watarrka National Park, Northern Territory

Watarrka National Park in the Northern Territory covers 71,000 hectares and is situated 215 km west-south-west of Alice Springs. This scenic landscape is a refuge for many plants and animals, making the Park an important conservation area and major tourist attraction of central Australia. Watarrka is home of the spectacular Kings Canyon featuring ancient sandstone walls rising up to 100m to a rocky plateau from the arid Spinifex grasslands below. Kings Canyon Resort is located off the main highway between Ayers Rock and Alice Springs just seven kilometres from Watarrka National Park. The landscape is amazing with rocky crags and huge buttresses carved out of the sandstone sides by the elements over millenniums. Ancient marine fossils etched into the rock show the geological changes that have taken place over time.

Watarrka is one of the most beautiful locations in Central Australia and to get the most out of it, plan to stay at least a full day. You can walk around the base of the cliffs and admire the majestic contours of the gorges. There are well marked walking tracks to enjoy the spectacular scenery. The Creek Walk is only about 1.5 km and takes you through the canyon to a lookout with view of the rocky Kings Canyon cliffs. The main walk is the Canyon Walk that starts with a steep climb for a few hundred metres up to the top of Watarrka. This walk is hard going, but well worth it for the chance to walk through the domes on top of Watarrka, and enjoy the views into the canyon from the canyon walls. The walk takes about four hours and takes you to the “Lost City” – an area of rock domes that is said to resemble the ruins of a lost civilization. Tucked away deep in one of the gorges you will see a lush green garden of palm-like cycads by a rock pool, known as the “Garden of Eden”. At Watarrka there is also a walking track to Kathleen Springs that leads to a spring-fed waterhole at Kathleen Gorge. Interpretative signs along the way explain the story of Aboriginal culture and European settlement in the area.

The area has some fascinating plant and animal life. From February to May you may see the Sturt Desert Pea flowering. During the warmer months, reptiles are active in the Park including Blue-tongue Lizards, Woma Pythons, Thorny Devils, Desert skinks. Look out for majestic Wedge-tailed Eagles soaring above.


Kings Canyon Resort offers a range of accommodation from campground to deluxe spa rooms. It is the perfect base to explore the pristine wilderness of Kings Canyon.

  • The Deluxe Spa Rooms are in a prime location at the Resort. Each room features a private balcony with views to the rocky escarpment, and a large spa bath with a glass window providing uninterrupted views of the range.
  • Standard Rooms have either two double beds or one queen bed, and contain a separate ensuite with shower. Interconnecting rooms are available.
  • There is budget accommodation in the 36 Budget Lodge rooms. These have air conditioning and shared bathroom/shower facilities. Rooms are available in double, twin or quad configurations. Quad rooms have a double bed and three single beds. Double rooms have a double bed, and the twin rooms have two single beds.
  • The campground blends in with the natural environment, and features grassed shady camping grounds and caravan sites. The Campground has 72 camping sites with power. Each site is on a shaded and grassy area with 240 Volt power. Non-Powered tent sites are also available where you can pitch your tent near the shared facilities including kitchen, laundry, toilets, showers and gas BBQs.

Kings Canyon Resort facilities include outdoor BBQ, mini-supermarket, souvenir shop, petrol station, laundry, two swimming pools, tennis court, sunset viewing platform, conference facilities for up to 30.

Getting There

Kings Canyon Resort is located roughly half way between Alice Springs and Uluru (Ayers Rock). It is about three hours drive from Uluru (Ayers Rock) and about four hours from Alice Springs. The drive from Alice Springs to Kings Canyon passes some other notable outback scenic places including Standley Chasm, Ormiston Gorge and Ellery Creek. The Red Centre Way (also known as the Mereenie Loop Road) takes you to Kings Canyon. This road is unsealed for most of the way.

On the map the pin shows the location of the resort, with the cliffs of Kings Canyon easily visible on the map 7km to the east. Even from the Google satellite view, you can get an appreciation of the impressive scale of the cliffs when you zoom in on the map.

Related posts:

  1. Ormiston Gorge, West MacDonnell National Park, Northern Territory
  2. Alice Springs Desert Park, Red Centre, Northern Territory
  3. Angkerle (Standley Chasm), near Alice Springs, Northern Territory
  4. Alice Springs Reptile Centre, Northern Territory Reptiles
  5. Territory Wildlife Park, near Darwin, Northern Territory

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