Australia, Camping, Central Australia, Northern Territory

Kings Canyon Rim Walk with kids (Central Australia)

Kings Canyon Rim Walk (with kids) in Central Australia

Kings Canyon is often overlooked because of how well Uluru is marketed as the icon of Central Australia, however Kings Canyon is capable of being a must see 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 whilst on a Central Australia self drive 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 however, if you camp, or stay in a room at Kings Canyon Resort, you get access to this stunning view:

kings canyon with kids
View from the sunset viewing platform at Kings Canyon Resort

Even though I came to Central Australia to specifically see Uluru, I 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 walk back down the way you came 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 do 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.

kings canyon with kids

 HOW WE MANAGED THE RIM WALK at Kings Canyon with Kids

I used the Ergo Baby Carrier to carry Miss 18 months due to her tendency to run off.  I only let her out of it once when we sat down for a snack.  Jason carried Mr nearly 4 in the Piggy Back Carrier which allows him to hop on and off as he pleases. (please see my baby and toddler carriers for travelling section for more details).

We carried plenty of water and a few snacks in a bag.  We also wore, hat 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.

Here is what you can expect from the Rim Walk:

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.

Kings canyon with kids
Mr nearly 4 hitching a ride on the Piggy Back Carrier whilst doing the initial climb on the Kings Canyon Rim Walk

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.

Kings canyon with kids
3/4 of the steep climb up and there is a lovely flat spot with a steep drop off and great views

Once you get to the top, there is HEAPS 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.

When walking around up the top, you can’t help but feel like you are on another planet.

Kings canyon with kids
The fascinating rock formations on the Rim Walk at Kings Canyon
Kings canyon with kids
These rock formations made me feel like I was walking on another planet

There are also 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.

Kings canyon with kids
The fantastic view from the Rim Walk and the beautiful white gum growing out of the side of the canyon wall
If you carried binoculars up with you, you can wave at the people on the other side

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.

Now you head towards the Garden of Eden!

When you get there, you walk 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 and swimming is prohibited.  You can stop for picnic and drinks here and enjoy a much needed rest.

Kings canyon with kids
Heading down and across into the Garden of Eden
Kings canyon with kids
A hidden waterhole in the middle of Kings Canyon
Kings canyon with kids
Heading back up and out of the Garden of Eden

You now 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.

Kings canyon with kids
The view from the other side

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 2 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 water and snacks up with you.

Looking for some inspiration for your next getaway?

For more information, blogs and things to do around Central Australia with kids (The Red Centre), please see my page on the link below:  Central Australia & Northern Territory

To see all of my destination, head on over to this page: My travel destinations

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