Yes, You Can Do The Kings Canyon Rim Walk With Kids!

This Australian road trip has opened my eyes to the strength and resilience of my daughters.

I’m sure if we were living a normal life; we’d not have the opportunity, or be open to testing their limits of capability.

The helicopter parenting instead takes over, and we impose the limits onto our children based on our fears and conditions.

“You’re too young for that. You’re not strong enough to do it. You might fall and hurt yourself.”

But, out here on the road, in the Red Centre of Australia, you’re plonked into adventures that force you to redefine what’s possible. (I’m reading a fantastic book at the moment, which dives into this more “What we want for our children” by Wayne Dyer.)

A sign on the side of the road

The Kings Canyon Rim Walk

“Let’s just try it and see how we go. We can always turn back.”

That’s what we said on the morning we set out early to do the Kings Canyon rim walk, in the Watarrka National Park. Other people told us the girls couldn’t do it, but we knew we could try first and then discover the real answer instead of just assuming.

Craig and I were prepared to carry the girls at some stage. It was a 5.5 kilometre loop walk, without counting the extra side trails we took to Cotterill’s Lookout and the Garden of Eden.

A sign on a dirt trail

We’d done a lot of small walks and hikes with the girls so we were fairly confident we could do it. Only a few days earlier we had walked 10 kilometres around the base of Uluru. Granted I had to carry Savannah a lot of the way.

I had a feeling King’s Canyon would be different. As we suggested in this post on how to hike with kids, you need to keep them entertained. Rocks and steep climbs do it every time.

From the minute we started, they took control of their legs. It was just on sun up, so it was cool, and there were no flies.

They made it to the top of the only steep part of the walk, took a rest and admired the views over the sheer 100-metre high sandstone walls and the sun rising above the deep gorge.

people walking up a rock trail

Kings Canyon Rim Walk, Norhtern Territory, Australia

Sunrise at Kings Canyon, Northern Territory, Australia

Kings Canyon Rim Walk, Norhtern Territory, Australia

girls laying on rocks

It was lovely to walk amongst the dome shapes and see the colours change as the sun continued its journey up.

A canyon

A canyon

rocky mountain

girls walking on a dirt trail

A canyon

girls hugging each other

Then the remainder of the time they sang, played games and scrambled over the rocks. There are plenty of places to stop for a break and to take in the views of the gorge below. Just be careful of going too close to the edge – stay well back!

It was a beautiful walk, and I was so happy to enjoy it carrying only a small backpack.

girls climbing on rocks

woman holding her children on a hiking trail

girls standing on a tall rock

little girl climbing up a rock

Rumour has it the Garden of Eden is not to be missed. It’s a little diversion off the main track along the creek past 400-year-old cycads to a large waterhole in between the high cliff walls of the north rim.

With its high cliff walls, it was a picturesque, green refuge from the hot sun and the perfect place for a snack break of banana chips and vegemite sandwiches.

No swimming is encouraged due to it being an Aboriginal sacred spot for men’s business.

water running through a canyon

water inside a canyon

people standing on wooden stairs that lead down into a canyon

Three-year-old Savannah started to waver after this and the whines of being tired started to appear.

We’d encourage her to walk just that little bit further until she found her limit. She appreciated the views out over the ‘Lost City’ – a mini-Purnululu of striped stone domes – on our shoulders instead.

Soon enough, we’d come across some more rocks to scramble over, and she’d demand to get off our shoulders.

A canyon

woman standing on a rock cliff

rock tower

people walking on top of a canyon

A canyon

man standing on a rock cliff

tree in a canyon

Doing the rim walk of Kings Canyon was another of those memorable moments with our girls. They tend to come the most when were out walking in nature.

I remember them, not just because of the breathtaking scenery and the adventurous walk but for the strength of spirit I see in my girls. They inspire me to dig a little deeper and find my strength. And to skip a little more with the joy that comes with something as simple as scrambling over a rock.

girl sitting on a rock


close up of a rock floor

The walk tired me; I can only imagine how their little bodies felt. How strong and capable they’ll be when they grow up. I love that these days are helping them understand the healing effects of nature and the goodness it gives to mind, body and spirit.

I’m incredibly proud of them and so grateful we get to share this journey together.

people walking down into a canyon

Kings Canyon Resort

After the walk, we highly suggest grabbing a couple of cold drinks and sitting at the outside sunset bar at the King’s Canyon Resort to watch the sun set over the mountain ranges.

It was stunning, especially with the full moon rising. Perfect end to a perfect day!

Kings Canyon Resort, Northern Territory, Australia

Kings Canyon Resort, Northern Territory, Australia

A bottle of beer

Kings Canyon Resort, Northern Territory, Australia

Rim Walk Facts

Distance: 5.5 kilometres
Time: 3-4 hours.
Start/Finish: Kings Canyon car park.

Warning: You must start your walk early, especially in summer as it gets very hot here. Wear appropriate footwear, a hat, sunscreen and take lots of water and snacks.

Getting there:

From Uluru, Kings Canyon is a three-hour drive along the Lasseter Highway and Luritja Road. Kings Canyon is along the Red Centre Way loop road which starts and ends in Alice Springs and links the Red Centre’s main landmarks, including Uluru and Kata-Tjuta.

Plan Your Trip to Kings Canyon

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30 thoughts on “Yes, You Can Do The Kings Canyon Rim Walk With Kids!”

  1. I’ve been zooming in on all your hiking photos to see what you’ve been putting on your kids feet – I have a pair of Keen hiking sandals but I’m in two minds about whether to spend the $$$ on proper hiking shoes for my three kids (4, 7, 9) – good to see yours managed in just regular shoes!

    1. Hi Cath, we both have Keen hiking sandles and love them. They have been with us on this whole trip around Oz. As for our kids yeah they just have regular shoes, we recently lost their regular hiking sandles somewhere lol. Regular shoes and sandles are fine for a 3 & 7 year old as they grow out of them so quick 🙂

  2. Last August we did the same walk with our boys and it was absolutely great, but the biggest surprise on our Australia holidays was when my younger son (11 years old) did snorkeling on Great Barrier Reef with a broken arm (in a cast). Even the boat crew doubted he can do it, but with the innovative mind of my wife creating the “construction” of waterproof bags and mattress he could do it. And he will remember the day on GBR as a day of his glory and not a defeat… Yes, I fully agree with you – kids can do much more than parents think they can.

  3. we did the Rim walk, and loved it, I didn’t want to go at first and plus I was sick with the flu, our ten year old bounded up there and walked every inch and more, we all loved it, got some amazingly beautiful photos and realised just how small we are in the scheme of things.

  4. What an amazing post! So many people would avoid an activity like that because of safety fears, and miss out on an opportunity for a long-lasting memory for their children (hopefully at least!). Heck, many parents are afraid to have their children walk home from school or wait at a bus stop by themselves. For a hike like this, as long as you start early, dress appropriately, take plenty of water and employ common sense, there shouldn’t be any issues. Instilling a sense of adventure in children is rarely a bad thing!

    1. Exactly. Some of my most vivid memories as a child were bushwalking with my parents. I’m so grateful they did that for me from a young age as it taught me many things. My girl’s are so much stronger, grounded and more resilient because of it. They know a little about pushing yourself just that little bit further to see what you can actually do

  5. It is beautiful view. Also I really appreciate the mother for sharing her passion with her kids. That is true parenting. We choose the fears we pass on to our children and this is very good example. Also a very productive way to make the children spend their holidays. They learn so much about themselves with activities like these.

  6. Hi. Been reading your blog/website for several months now I have even posted before. My children aged 10 and 11 will be with us on holiday in Australia ,the outback in December 2015. We are flying into Alice Springs renting a car or vehicle from there would you suggest doing Kings Canyon then down to Uluru or the opposite way?of course stopping along the way we have an unlimited amount of time and my only concern is the heat in December. Kids want to rent a camper van I think a car what would you say ? last time I was there was 15 years ago in the month of July completely different and with no kids we are coming from New York. We read so many books and articles about the places we going to visit we specially love your posts as well your family is beautiful we love looking at the pictures and

    1. I don’t think it makes much difference what direction you go in. I’d plan to stop at the West MacDonell ranges between Kings Canyon and Alice. We’ll be publishing a post on it soon. A car would work fine. It depends on what you want to do for accommodation. A campervan will at least cover you for that as well.

      December shouldn’t be too bad. We were there in February and possibly one of the hottest weeks of the year and managed fine. Just make sunrise and sunset your activity time and rest and swim during the day. We did all our walks right at sunrise and the heat wasn’t too intense at all. It was quite perfect. West Macs has some beaut swimming holes that will cool you down.

      Enjoy it. Was definitely a huge highlight of our trip

  7. Thank you for sharing! We are looking at a road trip in September with our 11, 9, 6, 4 and 18mth old sons. I googled ‘king’s canyon with kids’ and this came up! I was worried we would be wasting our time especially with our 4 year old, (the baby can go in a carrier) but this have made me feel more positive!

  8. I’m considering driving the Red Centre Way one-way from Alice to Uluru in April. It would be just me and my two daughters, 11 and 9. Do you think this route is doable for a solo driver with two kids? If so, how long would we need to do it well?

      1. Four hours via the Stuart Highway maybe, but I’m talking about via Glen Helen, Mereenie and Watarrka. That’s not four hours unless perhaps by hovercraft…

        1. Oh right! Sorry I misread your comment. It is doable as long as you incorporate breaks. I’d take at least four days, optimally a week. That way you’d get plenty or rest breaks and time to explore.

  9. Dear Caz and Craig
    I love to read about your travel-adventures. We will be traveling with two kids (5/8) from Yulara to Kings Canyon. Actually we planned 1 night an Kings Canyon (coming from Yulara), then the next day, early in the morning we want to make the rim walk. We are not sure if we should stay another night, or if we can drive to Alice Springs right after the walk (5hrs) The travel agency thinks this is easy, but I want to enjoy it and not to hurry up all day. What do you suggest? Thank you.

  10. Caz, I am sure lots have already commented the same, but I am gonna say it again! Awesome blog and it does really help parents out there (like myself with a 6 and 9 year old) to plan for the rim walk.
    I am wondering where you guys did the “Under a Desert Moon ” dining experience, is it worth it? Also, you guys set off to see the sunrise as I understand from the blog, just wondering how long was the hike before you got to a good place to see the sun rise and was it too dark for the kids before the sun rose? Love to take a similar sun rise photo like yours!

  11. Hello – love your blog, pictures and great info! My husband and I are traveling from the US in December and will be spending 23 days in Australia. We thought that sounded like a long time but as we started planning our itinerary found it to be very short and only time for short stays in many places we wish we could stay longer. One such area is the Northern Territory and I’m wanting your opinion on whether you think we should try to alter our plans or stick with what we have. We are flying from Cairns to Alice Springs on a Sunday and so far have the below planned.
    Sunday – arrive Alice Springs 9:30 am (spend the day in an around AS)
    Monday – drive to Kings Canyon via Mereenie Loop, spend the night there
    Tues/Wed – drive from Kings Canyon to Uluru and spend 2 nights there
    Thurs – leave Uluru around noon to drive to Alice Springs to spend the night
    Friday – 11:30 am fly from Alice Springs to Melbourne

    We are in our early 50’s and like some hiking, we are not serious fitness or outdoor people, however, we do love beautiful scenery and don’t mind putting out some effort to get there.
    In your opinion, does the above seem like too much driving in a short period of time without enough time to stop and enjoy the various gorges, etc? I keep thinking that perhaps we should try to spend more time in the Macs and stay Monday night at Glen Helen and skip Kings Canyon. Tuesday would then include early morning in the Macs and then leave around noon to drive to Uluru.

    Thank you, I look forward to hearing your suggestions.

    1. Hey Kim,

      That’s awesome you are visiting Australia. We have a suggested 3-week itinerary that takes in most of the highlights. Read it here:

      For all our best content on Australia you can read it here:

      And for the Northern Territory posts check out this link:

      Enjoy Australia!

  12. I am amazed at all your wonderful pictures. I just found them tonight and feel I have found a goldmine. What a wonderful family! I won’t be going on a hike over there. But I am hoping you can send more pictures that I can enjoy in my old age.I was born in Melbourne 93 years ago.
    Many thanks,

  13. Hi, I love your photos of Kings canyon. We are a family of 5 (kids aged 14,11 and 8) and are holidaying at uluru soon. We arethinking of doing a day trip to kings canyon, as weve already booked our flights and accomodation at uluru. We would get to kings canyon about 10. As its summer do you think it will be too hot to do the rim walk? Is it a worthwhile day trip? Thanks so much?

    1. Yes. It will be too hot to do the rim walk. You really have to start at sunrise, especially in the summer. It’s too dangerous otherwise and they usually close the track at around 10 or 11 in the summer months. I think a day trip will be too rushed, especially at that time of year. You are better off just soaking up Uluru more or spending longer at Kings Canyon if you can to make it worthwhile.

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