The Meerenie Loop
This is my favourite way to get from Alice to Kings Canyon and Ayers Rock. Part of it is rough and corrugated but it takes you through some of the most beautiful and varying country in Central Australia.
There are majestic Desert Oaks overhanging the road, groves of Grass Trees in the sand hills, miles of Spinifex country, a meteorite crater and beautiful creek crossings.
Pick up a Meerenie Loop Permit and brochure in Alice and head out through the Western MacDonnells, past Glen Helen and Redbank Gorge.
Check out the look-out at Mt Sonder and Tornala lookout further on. From here you will see Gosses Bluff in the distance. You can drive right into this ancient meteorite crater through a sandy and winding track.
Then travel on through more beautiful country to Kings Canyon.
I have stayed at Kings Station Homestead a couple of times. It is more casual and friendly than the Kings Canyon Resort and is closer to the canyon itself.
At the Canyon you have the choice of two walks. They both qualify as the most interesting and fascinating walks in the Centre in my opinion.
The walk into the canyon proper takes you into a different world. It is almost a sub tropical rainforest. You follow a small winding creek through a dense forest of unique and rare plants and trees. Interpretive signs identify most of plants and habitats. It is a beautiful walk even on the hottest days.
The walk around the Canyon Rim is a stark contrast. If you can manage the steep and demanding climb up the steps to the top of the canyon it is well worth the effort. “The Kid” was going no matter what, so I had to follow!
The view across vast plains to Ayers Rock dramatically emphasises the contrast in the environment of the canyon to the surrounding country.
I was fascinated by some of the rock formations on the Canyon Rim. They appear like a small version of the Bungle Bungles in the Kimberly. Of course “the Kid” had to sit out on the ledges, which literally hang over the canyon wall, to have her photo taken. The photos I took are blurry because I was so nervous.
Further on is the sub tropical garden area. You can follow the track down through more lush vegetation to the waterhole which is set at the head of the Canyon.
As you walk further around the Rim you are able to crawl carefully to the canyon edge and look straight down 300 feet to the waterhole. “The Kid” persuaded me to try it to get a view of the “naked Pommy tourists” swimming there. There were indeed naked swimmers and judging by the accents they were British.
If you are game enough or silly enough to try this be very careful not to knock any small pebbles over the edge onto the swimmers below.
It is downhill from there back to the car park passing the rare pine trees on the way.
This ranks with Ayers Rock at the top of the Australian Outback Attractions list.
Wild hops Central Australia
Kings Canyon is no secret but it is one of my favourite places.
Click here to go to Ayers Rock-Uluru