Campervan in Kings Canyon - Outback Guide
The magnificent Kings Canyon is situated in Watarrka National Park in Australia's Northern Territory. The canyon soars an impressive 300 metres high and offers breathtaking views and incredibly dramatic landscapes. The park itself has derived its name from the Watarrka umbrella bush that proliferates in this incredible landscape. The scenic landscapes of rugged ranges, rock holes and gorges are essentially what make this park such a popular destination in the Northern Territory and a must for an outback campervan adventure.
If you are travelling to Kings Canyon from Alice Springs you will need to follow the Stuart Highway until the turn off for the Ernest Giles Road. This then joins into Luritja Road, while will take you directly to the canyon. Sitting at the western end of the George Gill Range, Kings Canyon is 323km southwest of Alice Springs, 280km north of Uluru, and 1,316km south of Darwin.
Airports and Campervan Depots
There are two main airports tourists use to fly into the Northern Territory. Alice Springs Airport and Darwin International Airport are both located near campervan depots and are ideal places to begin your campervan holiday in Kings Canyon. Campervan travellers can choose to either pick up their vehicle from Alice Springs or Darwin. A one-way rental is a popular option for those wishing to simply travel between the two and not backtrack on where they have already driven.
Park Use Fees
No entry fees are required for Watarrka National Park or Kings Canyon.
What to See and Do
Highlights within the canyon itself include the domes of The Lost City (not to be confused with the Lost City of Litchfield National Park) and the Garden of Eden which offer sheltered valleys of permanent waterholes and lush vegetation. The Kings Creek Walk meanders up the centre of the canyon to a lookout point on the left hand side of the valley, which affords a view of the sheer cliff face at the end of the canyon. This walk is suitable for all ages and requires only a moderate level of fitness.
The 22km Giles Track connects Kings Canyon to Kathleen Springs and is popular with more adventurous and athletic hikers. This walk isn’t recommended for inexperienced hikers.
Climate and Weather
The climate in Kings Canyon is a challenging one, with most days of the year reaching soaring temperatures. Temperatures tend to drop at night, so you will need to pack accordingly. There are typically two seasons in the outback: the wet and the dry. The dry season occurs from April to October and this is when waterfalls tend to stop flowing. The wet season brings with it a lot of rain and can restrict access to certain parts of the park.
Best Time to Visit
The park is accessible all year round, but the cooler months (April to September) are the best times to visit.
What to Wear?
In the outback climate it is essential to wear light, covered clothes at all times, as well as a hat and sunscreen. Though temperatures are generally very hot during the day, they can drop dramatically at night, so be it will be necessary to pack warm clothing as well.
When hiking, always wear a shady hat, sunscreen, insect repellent and be sure to have suitable covered footwear. It is important to take water with you, as to avoid dehydration.
The wildlife within the actual Kings Canyon is sparse, but several species of birds have been spotted in the region.
Driving Restrictions and Tips
Fortunately, all roads with Watarrka National Park are sealed which means you will not be restricted in a campervan. It is important to obey the speed limit at all times and drive slowly at night, keeping an eye out for wildlife. During the wet season, it is important to drive cautiously along the roads as they can get extremely slippery.
Kings Canyon is one of the most remote attractions in the Australian Outback. The closest major town is Alice Springs and that is over 320 kilometres away. This is important to keep in mind when travelling here, as many tourists often underestimate just how remote this area is and don't plan ahead.
What to Bring?
It is absolutely necessary to bring plenty of water to Kings Canyon, regardless of the length of your stay. Ensuring you always have fuel in your petrol tank is also important as distances between roadhouses can be vast.
Appropriate clothing, sun protection, insect repellent and shoes are also vital, because of the changing weather conditions. This is the outback, so remember it gets extremely hot.
It is also a good idea to bring a suitable amount of food. The shops within the park are quite expensive, so it works out a lot cheaper to bring your own in.
Another must-have for your campervan adventure in Kings Canyon is your camera. The landscapes here are unlike anywhere else in the world so you will want to remember your memories of this place.
Places to Stay
The best place to stay in a campervan whilst visiting Kings Canyon is the Kings Creek Station. Reasonably close to the Canyon car park, this station offers cabins and spaces for camping, along with a small shop that is useful for stocking up on supplies.
Kings Creek Station is a working cattle/camel station set amongst majestic desert oaks. The campsites are set amongst natural bush with views of the George Gill Range and facilities include toilets, showers, a laundry and a welcoming swimming pool.
Curtin Springs is the closest town to Kings Canyon and is home to a Roadhouse that offers fuel and food supplies.
Once you are in the park you will find a shop at Kings Creek Station as well as fuel. There is also a shop at Kings Canyon Resort. However, it is advised to stock up on supplies before heading into Kings Canyon, as everything here is considerably more expensive.
For a more comprehensive list of roadhouses in Australia, visit our Outback Roadhouse Guide.
Kings Canyon is a truly remarkable place to visit, offering majestic landscapes that will simply take your breath away. As one of Australia's most remote destinations it is extremely important to plan ahead to ensure your campervan adventure is one to remember for all of the right reasons.