The climb to the rim of Kings Canyon seemed to just keep going up and up and up. The sign at the bottom had said 300m. It’s so steep that it seemed much longer. Twice we sat down to rest. Our nine year old son and seven year old daughter even struggled. The five year old and toddler needed a lot of help.
The view is incredible, but all we could think about was how much further to climb. We panted and puffed, and drank more and more water. We saw palm trees and beach sand, wild flowers and more trees. They looked so out of place in the desert.
Finally we reached the top, and we sat and stare at the view. Later I’ll say it was worth it for the view, but in the moment I was too busy feeling exhausted from the climb.
Earlier that day, we stopped at Kings Creek Station to check the car. We’d hit a creek crossing on the road. As it’s in the desert, they are usually dry, but it’s been raining so much that the creeks are flowing. The car moved awkwardly and jarred, so Jarrad had wanted to check it. The damage turned out to be that one of the springs in the car had broken — meaning that the campervan wouldn’t sit properly to be towed.
While Jarrad was checking the car, the station owner told the kids and I, “This is the wettest I’ve seen Central Australia in 32 years. The plants are greener and bushier than usual and the smaller shrubs and plants have sprung up. The wildflowers aren’t usually there, either.”
“500m Creek Walk – Easy. 5.6km Rim Walk – Moderate” read the sign in the carpark.
“we’ll just do the walk around the rim of the canyon,” Jarrad decided. “It’ll be too much to wakl along Kings Creek, as well.”
The area was so incredibly beautiful, though, we wanted to continue on the creek walk. It felt longer than 500m as we scrambled over rocks and through water – but so beautiful as we marvelled at the majestic white Ghost Gums and the creek.
Central Australia used to be part of an inland sea and had such a different climate.The marine sandstone had been deposited at the Canyon by the sea. The sandstone holds lots of water, but it can’t soak further down as there is another layer of rock that the water can’t run through so it trickles out into the creeks and waterways through the canyon. It’s this soggy sandstone that lets so many plants and creeks flourish at Kings Canyon.
The Walk around the Rim of Kings Canyon
Rim Walk – 6km
The rest of the walk after that first steep climb was a fairly easy walk, but it was long. We walked and walked … loving the views. Plants seemed to grow out of the rock. The wild flowers were tiny, but although many were white, some were bright yellow or purple.
We rounded a corner, and arrived in a section known as the “Lost City”. You really could imagine it being the ruins of a long lost city.
We found a few small lizards known as skinks. We could see ripples in the sandstone that looked like waves had lapped on it. We had fun imagining the ancient sea flowing over it millions of years ago
I was terrified when we kept walking and found that we were looking straight down a cliff front. There were no safety rails here! I held tight to Edmund who was not quite two years old, and refused to let the other three kids go near the edge of the cliff.
We sat and drank more water. It wasn’t a particularly hot day, nor was the walk particularly difficult now, but we were all thirsty.
The trail dropped down a little and rounded a corner. We all took a deep breath in. The Garden of Eden was so spectacular that we all just stopped and stared.It really was an oasis in the desert, with a tropical rainforest feel to it.
The sign read “That this region supported a large number of rare and endangered plants, as well as many relict species such as the cycads.”
We crossed the bridge and Peter asked, “Shall we go up, or are we going to go down on the detour into the Garden Of Eden?”
“Keep going.” Jarrad said, “We’re getting low on water, and we’re not even half way yet.”
“How much water do we have left?” Susan asked.
“Only three liters,” Jarrad replied. I gasped and stared at him,
“But we brought heaps! What’s happened to it?”
Jarrad shrugged, “We’ve been drinking a lot. We need to be careful with what we’ve got left.”
The water we had left was for the kids. Jarrad and I weren’t going to have any more, because they needed it more. The shine went off the walk as we all went on, thinking about two or three hours of walking in the open sun, without enough water.
“Ahhhhh!” Susan cried out, falling to the ground. She was clutching her ankle, that she had just twisted as she’d stepped awkwardly on to a rock that had moved from underneath her. Jarrad had to piggy-back our seven year old daughter for the next half-an-hour or so, while I carried Lucy then Edmund in turn when they got tired.
“Surely there’s only an hour or so left,” I said, starting to feel a bit whingy. The scenery was amazing, and it had to be one of the most incredible places we’d been…but all I could think about was water. “The creeks up here would be fairly clean. They might be OK to drink … would they … ”
“Do you need more water?” A couple who had just passed us asked. “We’ve just been thinking about pouring out some water because we’ve brought too much and it’s heavy. Do you want it?”
Thanks to them we managed to get through the rest of the walk. It was one of the most incredible places we’ve been, but without enough water we just couldn’t enjoy it properly. I’d love to go back again sometime with enough water!
We got a backpack each with a two litre bladder in it for all of our walks after that!