The Red Centre in the Northern Territory of Australia
Kings Canyon in Watarrka National Park
Located between the airport in Alice Springs and Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Kings Canyon is a regional must-see destination. Although not as well-known as its more famous cousin, some people say it's better than Uluru.
Referred to as "Australia's Grand Canyon", Kings Canyon has a trove of natural Australian treasures that you can explore during the Rim Walk, a 6 kilometre (3.7 mile) trail that takes 3 to 4 hours where you will come across the "Lost City" domes and discover the sacred hidden oasis, the "Garden of Eden".
Immerse yourself in a one hour Aboriginal Cultural Tour (seasonal). Experience spear and boomerang displays, learn about bush tucker and bush medicine, learn local languages, purchase local arts and craft and much more.
Explore the many tracks and trails surrounding Kings Canyon Resort, including the renowned Kings Canyon Rim Walk.
After a day of adventure, dine under the stars with the Under A Desert Moon dining experience here at Kings Canyon Resort where you will be treated to a five-course menu, featuring locally sourced tucker including seared Kangaroo Loin and Wild Rosella flowers.
Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta (The Olgas)
There is nowhere else in the world like Uluru (Ayers Rock). Located within the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, this Australian icon is an isolated bare sandstone rock, 348 metres high and 9.4 km (5.8 miles) around. Its beautiful range of colours change throughout the day. Sunrise or sunset is the best time to capture this once in a life time Australian outback moment, and several car parks are located in some of the best locations for viewing. Walking trails/tracks circle the formation. In warm weather, plan to finish your walk by 11am. Walk with an Anangu guide to learn about Dreamtime ancestors' ties to the red gem landmark.
Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) lies about 50km from Uluru (roughly a 45 minute drive) and is a second landform within Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Although it's nearby, the conglomerate rock at Kata Tjuta is quite different than the arkose sandstone found at Uluru. Kata Tjuta means 'many heads' and has many smaller formations instead of one large one. This area was named the Olgas after Queen Olga of Wurttemberg in 1872, but has since proudly returned to its original name.
The Valley of the Winds walk is a popular activity in Kata Tjuta. Allow about 4 hours for the 7.4km full circuit due to the sometimes steep and rocky terrain, or take shorter walks to scenic points like the Karu Lookout or Karingana Lookout.
You can find out more about Uluru and Kata Tjuta by downloading the park service's Visitor's Guide.
Alice Springs is a stunning location enriched with tradition. From exploring the Aboriginal art galleries, trekking the 223 kilometres Larapinta Trail, floating over the West MacDonnell Ranges in a hot air balloon to experiencing views of the vast land from Anzac Hill, Alice Springs is filled with Australian experiences that you must include on your Northern Territory adventure.
West Macdonnell Ranges
The West MacDonnell Range is 200km west of Alice Springs, surrounded by the West MacDonnell National Park and home to the Larapinta Trail. The National Park was established in 1984 to protect the beautiful parks and reserves, developing into a tourist attraction and photographer's dream.
Larapinta Trail is a 223 kilometre walking track following the ranges that many seek to accomplish. Well-marked signs, campsites offering BBQs and toilet facilities, natural watering spots, sacred sites and scenic views all make the trail a hiker's dream.
Watching black-footed rock wallabies at Simpsons Gap, enjoying picnics amongst the amazing geology of Ellery Creek Big Hole, diving into the Glen Helen Gorge's beautiful watering hole and hiking the red cliffs at Ormiston Gorge, are just some of the reasons why the West MacDonnell National Park needs to be explored.