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Red Centre

Finke Gorge and Watarrka National Parks

September 4-24, 2016

Watarrka campsite with a view

Section 1: Finke Gorge National Park: Sep 4-14

Rest stop on a small creek near Palm Valley Hiking up Palm Creek beyond Palm Valley

On most of our Finke trips, we hike through Palm Valley and continue out into a vast open area. We follow the creek upstream for some distance until it bends west near a ridge. We cross the ridge into another creek system which we follow back down to Palm Valley once more. We usually spend two nights on this hike.

Boggy Hole, late afternoon Campsite near the Boggy Hole track

Boggy Hole is one of the very few permanent waterholes on the Finke River. As such it was, and still is, incredibly important for the local Aboriginal people. We normally spend one or two nights camped near the waterhole and do a day walk up into the hills beyond.

The Boggy Hole track is strictly 4WD. Using hired 4WD vehicles gives us the freedom to carry water and camp anywhere we like. This in turn allows us to visit one of the most spectacular landforms in the park.

Circular Valley

Circular Valley from the rim Moonlit campsite near Circular Valley

Circular Valley was formed by an old bend in the Finke River. It is a fair hike from the 4WD track. Sometimes we do it as a day walk. And sometimes we carry out packs part way and camp as in the moonlit photo here.

No one who has done the hike has ever been disappointed.

This section finishes with a night in budget accommodation at the Kings Canyon Resort.

Section 2: Watarrka National Park: September 14-24

Walking along the ridge above Kings Creek limbing up on the marked trail

Our trek begins as we follow the tourist track up to the top of the range. This is the steepest climb of the entire trip. Once on top we follow the trail until it crosses Kings Creek. We leave the trail here. From this point onwards, we may see no one else until the walk is over.

We hike north along Kings Creek into an area of rugged rock formations and hidden water holes, stopping to spend two or even three nights in one spot as we explore the rock maze around us.

Hiking along the northern edge of the George Gill Range Back Canyon campsite

From Kings Creek, we trek east to another deep canyon and another magnificent campsite. From here we go roughly southeast as we head toward more permanent waterholes.

High waterhole on one of the southern creeks Hiking into the dunes

We follow the southern edge of the range west, stopping at a number of permanent pools along the way. We may even walk out into the dunes on the top of the range and spend a night in a very different environment. The occasional art site tells us that this has been a special place for thousands of years.

As we near the end we meet the Giles Track which we follow back to where we began.

Grasshopper, camoflaged n the sand Wildflower

Terrain and difficulty.

The first section consists of a number of relatively short walks. There are no big climbs where you need to carry a full pack, but there is some rocky terrain in places. The day walks include some very steep climbs and rock scrambling.

The longer trek on the second section begins with a steep climb along a marked trail. Much of the walk is along flat rock ledges but there is some rock hopping where you have to move over fairly rough country. Portions of the walk go over soft sand which is generally slower and more tiring than walking over rock. The scrub should not be much of a problem, but this can vary from year to year and there may be some sections of fairly thick scrub which will slow our progress.

Although there are some moderately difficult sections, overall the terrain is as easy as you can find in central Australia. Combine this with stopping more than one night at some camp sites and you have one of the easier treks we offer in the Red Centre.

Your rewards are spectacular scenery, wildflowers and an incredible wilderness experience no other operator can offer you.

Here are four photo gallery pages that should be of interest.

The Finke - Watarrka detailed trip notes are essential reading for anyone thinking about booking this trip.

For more information about this trip or to find out how to book email us for Finke - Watarrka Tour

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Willis's Walkabouts, 12 Carrington Street, Millner NT 0810, Australia walkabout@bushwalkingholidays.com.au

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