Watarrka National Park
Watarrka National Park contains the western end of the George Gill Range. This scenic landscape of rugged ranges, rockholes and gorges acts as a refuge for many plants and animals, making the Park an important conservation area and major attraction of central Australia. Kings Canyon features ancient sandstone walls, sculptured by the elements, rising up 100m to a plateau of rocky domes.
How to get there
The Park is located about 450km southwest of Alice Springs and can be reached by 2WD vehicle via Luritja Road from Yulara and Lasseters Highway (sealed road). It can also be reached: via Larapinta Drive, through the West MacDonnell National Park, linking into the new gravel Mereenie Loop Road (4WD recommended); or via Ernest Giles Road (4WD essential) and Luritja Road. Careful driving techniques should be applied at all times to accommodate changing road conditions.
When to visit
The Park is accessible all year round. The cooler months (April to September) are the most pleasant.
What to see & do
Watarrka National Park offers multiple options for things to see and do. Just click the links below to see what they are.
Most of Watarrka's visitors come to view the spectacular Kings Canyon with its towering vertical walls and pockets of 'lush' vegetation protected in sheltered gullies amidst the vast and harsh desert that surrounds the Park.
There are two walking tracks at the Canyon, both offering visitors an opportunity to escape the crowds and experience first hand the beauty and solitude of the Australian bush. Signs along both tracks highlight features of interest.
There is also a walking track at Kathleen Springs. This walk is recommended for families and visitors with limited mobility. Signs along the track tell the story of centuries of Aboriginal culture and the recent cattle industry. It leads to a delightful spring-fed waterhole at the head of Kathleen Gorge. This is a cool moist place to sit and enjoy the areas tranquility.
All walkers are advised to carefully read the information on the two walks before starting out. Safety is your responsibility. The Kings Canyon walk has many steep sections and is recommended for reasonably fit and healthy walkers. Tracks are constructed to a suitable standard with stairs and boardwalks to make your walk safe and comfortable and to protect sensitive vegetation and waterholes. Information on other walking tracks in Watarrka is available from other Parks Service publications.
Watarrka, as with all National Parks is a protected area. Disturbance of plants, animals and natural features is an offence. It is prohibited to: break branches for fly swats; write or etch names on rocks; remove or displace the natural landscape i.e. rocks or flora. Cigarette butts, tissue paper and orange peel are three common and unsightly forms of litter.
Care should be taken after heavy rains as gravel roads may become impassable.
Walking Track Markers
The walking tracks of the Canyon area are well sign posted with metal trail markers. The arrows are Orange for the Kings Creek Walk and Navy Blue for the Canyon Walk.
Please conduct the Canyon Walk in a clockwise direction, in accordance with management, safety and interpretive signage.
If someone is in urgent need of medical action, you can contact a Ranger in one of two ways.
Please read this information carefully before commencing these walks. Drinking water, a hat, sunscreen and robust footwear are essential on all walks.
Information for this National Park has been supplied courtesy of The Parks and Wildlife Service NT