Kings Canyon Rim Walk with Kids
Kings Canyon is often overlooked in favour of Uluru (Ayers Rock), but it is more than capable of being a destination in it’s own right! This visually stunning canyon is located in the Watarrka National park and surprisingly, is free to visit.
I visited Kings Canyon with my husband and young kids on a Central Australian road camping trip. See the route we followed here: Central Australia Road Trip With Kids (The Route We Took)
There are a few accommodation options available here, but if you camp, or stay in a room at Kings Canyon Resort, you get access to this stunning view at sunset.
Even though I came to Central Australia for Uluru, I actually enjoyed Kings Canyon and Kata-Tjuta more!
There are 3 popular short walks at Kings Canyon:
Kings Creek Walk: This walk is 2.6 km return and is fairly easy going. It suits families that are not up to managing the Rim walk. The scenery is still beautiful and the first 700m of the walk is wheelchair accessible (with assistance). This also means that it’s pram accessible.
South Wall Return Walk: This walk is 4.8 km return and requires some level of fitness. It is basically the final section of the Rim Walk. If you are fit enough, I would recommend the Rim walk over this one as you don’t see the Garden of Eden on this South Wall return walk. The walk ends at a one way gate and you return the same way you walked up.
The Rim Walk: This walk is a 6 km round trip with the hardest part at the beginning when you ascend the canyon. You need a moderate level of fitness to do this. See below for how we managed it with an 18 month old and a nearly 4 year old.
How we Managed the Kings Canyon Rim Walk with Kids
I used the Ergo Baby Carrier to carry Miss 18 months due to her tendency to run off. I let her out when it was safe to do so but she fell asleep for half of this walk which made it a bit easier. Jason carried Mr nearly 4 in the Piggy Back Carrier which allows him to hop on and off as he pleases. (See my post on baby and toddler carriers for travelling for more details).
We carried plenty of water and a few snacks in a bag. We also wore hats, plenty of sunscreen and good walking shoes. There is virtually no protection from the sun up here. I wouldn’t even attempt it after mid-morning in the hotter months.
What to expect from the Kings Canyon Rim Walk with Kids
The initial ascent is by far the hardest part of the walk. The good news is, once you get to the top, it is fairly flat (except for some stairs at the Garden of Eden). Just remember, it’s not a race and there are places to stop and get your breath back.
On the steep walk up, there are some sections that you will need to carry your child if they are young. If they are older, you will be able to hold their hand or make sure they stay away from the edge. We carried our kids through the below section due to their age.
Once you get to the top, there is plenty of room to sit down and have a drink. You can also relax now because it’s a fairly flat walk for a while. You also don’t have to be near the edge unless you want too.
There are some FANTASTIC views from this side of the Canyon. If you only do the South Wall Return Walk, you will miss out on these views and the Garden of Eden. The barren landscapes makes you feel you are visiting another planet!
There is an extra walk you can choose to do up here called ‘Cotterill’s lookout’. It is not suitable for young kids as there is a bit of scrambling up the interesting rock formations. I suspect that older kids would love it!
I managed this extra walk with the Ergo Baby Carrier however I didn’t go the whole way.
Head towards the Garden of Eden!
Moving forward past the spectacular views, you will find yourself walking down some stairs into a hidden oasis. Don’t worry, these stairs are no where near as bad as the initial climb. This place feels really untouched and special. Swimming is strictly prohibited to protect the natural environment.
This is a great spot to stop for a picnic and enjoy a much needed rest.
When you are rested, make your way to the one-way gate that prevents the people doing the South Wall Return Walk entering from their side. The scenery on the other side is a bit different, but just as fantastic.
The walk back down to the parking lot from this side is interesting but not as spectacular as the other side.
This walk is certainly achievable with kids! We completed the walk in 3.5 hours and that included stopping briefly twice for snacks and many more times for photographs and a drink of water. I saw two other mothers carrying young kids in baby carriers, and also a lot of older kids managing it on their own.
Please be sensible though, you do need a moderate level of fitness for this walk. You absolutely need to carry lots of water and snacks up with you.
Looking for some inspiration for your next getaway?
For more blog posts, photographs and information on my travels through Central Australia with kids, check out this page: Central Australia with Kids
For more information on ALL of my travels, please check out this page: My travel destinations
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How to get there
You will need to either drive yourself to Kings Canyon (Watarrka National Park) or take one of the many awesome tours from either Alice Springs or Uluru (Ayers Rock).
Car hire is available in Alice Springs and Yulara.