Kings Canyon-An Outback Gem
August 2015, I once again had the pleasure of being included on an educational familiarization trip to Australia. The itinerary included several days in The Outback. Most Americans are familiar with the famed Outback either through movies such as "Crocodile Dundee", or the restaurant chain "Outback", or have heard about Ayers Rock (Uluru) that marks the center of this territory. However, I find that few want to take the time to really explore this region besides a 2 day inclusion to explore Uluru. I am here to tell you that you need to add some extra days to your itinerary and explore Kings Canyon.
Kings Canyon is part of Watarrka National Park and lies about half-way between Uluru and Alice Springs. Kings Canyon is "back of beyond"-way out there somewhere remote. No phone service, no Wi-Fi, no doctors even for miles or a day's trip away. Despite it's remote location this it the perfect place to escape, relax, and connect.
Kings Canyon's sandstone walls were formed millions of years ago and the aboriginal have called it home for over 20,000 years now. With more than 600 species of vegetation, the canyon makes for a lovely hiking escape if you're up for the challenge. I was, even with being under the weather the day of our climb I would not have missed this site.
The climb to the rim is a challenging 6 kilometer hike that takes approximately 3-4 hours. The very first section of the climb is the most challenging as it is nearly a 90 degree stone step staircase to climb. Once you've conquered it, the remainder of the trail is relatively level and the views are spectacular. Along part of the hike, we saw the famed area where "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" was filmed. Earlier in the week we had been surprised by a secret performance from Priscilla and her troop. We also took the descending walk through what is known as "the Garden of Eden". Here there is a permanent waterhole with amazing lush green vegetation and bird life. After you take a million pictures of the breathtaking landscape and complete your hike, I recommend spending a night or two at Kings Canyon Resort.
Kings Canyon Resort makes for a nice base camp for exploring more of the region. My recommendation would be to stay in the deluxe room with the soaking tub that sits below a clear picture window. You feel as if you are sitting right in the midst of the desert. It is very romantic for couples. During season (April to October), take in the evening meal "Under a Desert Moon". There is nothing quite so spectacular or romantic as dining under the Southern Night moonlit sky.
To explore Kings Canyon and Uluru, I would recommend allowing 3-4 days from your trip schedule. Trust me, this is the Australia you imagine and it is well worth the stop.
Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, and WI. She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds. Her agency’s focus is on creating itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind. She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember. With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide ride of leisure vacation planning.