Kings Canyon is an extremely popular sightseeing area in the Watarrka national park in the Northern Territory. Hikers, photo buffs and those who simply love nature are amazed year after year by the vastness of it, the beautiful permanent pools at the base, and the colossal sheer walls of the structure.
These walls reach heights of two hundred meters at some points, stretching for almost two kilometers, and as a result, the best view is at the rim. For those who are more interested in traversing the stone maze, there are three distinct walks available; The two kilometer Kings Creek Walk which traces the bottom of the gorge, the six kilometer Kings Canyon Rim Walk which exposes viewers to both the peaks and pools of the gorge, and the twenty-two kilometer Giles Track for the most adventurous of hikers. With such variety, it’s easy to see why people of any interest or fitness level find it easy to immerse themselves in the spectacle.
Canyons and other types of rock formations are formed by erosion, usually either by exposure to high wind or to water. This process usually creates a rounding on the edges of the stone, but those of you who’ve have seen Kings Canyon know that these “usual” traits don’t seem to be part of the formation.
The south wall is smooth and angular, almost as if it’s been chiseled from the stone itself, in stark contrast to the jagged and uneven edges of the north wall. The formation of both sides is due to erosion, yes, but also due to the sandstone breaking on vertical faults. Meanwhile, at the peak of a trek up a very steep slope, another striking example of erosion can be found.
The summit is home to a large number of rock formations in dome-like shapes that give the appearance of an ancient abandoned city, which covers a large area. It’s easier to maneuver up here, and man-made bridges and stairs help give access to the sprawling area of formations, which are beautifully accented by vegetation.
These unusual formations look even better with thick vegetation and waterfalls flowing after a large rain downpour.
Many hikers and photographers find that Kings Canyon is unrivaled in terms of fantastic photo opportunities and once in a lifetime beauty. The Garden of Eden, one of the permanent pools at the base of the gorge, is accessible with the Kings Canyon Rim walk. Particularly striking when the waterfall is active, this apparent lake at the bottom of a gorge, in one of the hottest areas in the world, is truly a sight to behold.
Central Australia Part 1 – Kings Canyon