In the local Luritja language, the word Watarrka refers to the umbrella bush (Acacia ligulata) that is very common in this amazing landscape.
Kings Canyon is the famous part of Watarrka National Park. Almost everyone who visits the park visits the canyon. Many do the Kings Canyon walk. A few do the short walk at Kathleen Springs. Very few hike the two-day Giles track. Almost no one other than Willis's Walkabouts treks beyond these tracks deep into the wilds that make this such a special place.
Few people realise that Kings Canyon is only a tiny fraction of the park that surrounds it. Spectacular cliffs and gorges make Watarrka one of the most scenic parts of the Centre. The numerous permanent and semi-permanent waterholes have made this an important place for Aboriginal people for thousands of years.
There are a number of Aboriginal art sites scattered around the park. In deference to the views of the traditional owners, the only art site photo we have on the website is the one here, taken on the Lilla cultural tour which we include in our trips wherever possible.
It's not just the landscapes that make Watarrka so special. With over 750 species of plants, at least 60 of which are rare or relict, Watarrka is by far the richest area for plant diversity in the whole of Central Australia.
As the sign says, Watarrka lies at the intersection of three landscapes: the the mountains of the Macdonnell Ranges to the northeast, the sandplains of the western deserts to the southwest and the low hills and mesas of the Simpson Desert to the southeast.
On our Watarrka bushwalks, we hike far beyond the tourist walks at Kings Canyon, deep into the heart of the George Gill Range, a 'site of conservation significance'. You visit deep gorges and picturesque waterholes, trek through red dunes and green vegetation and enjoy spectacular views over the steep cliffs on the northern edge of the range. We visit Watarrka on two different trips.
Finally, here are some links to additional information about the area.
A gallery of Watarrka photos from our trips
Interested in birds? See a bird list from one of our Finke - Watarraka trips. While the list is an old one, we still see most or all of the same species on our trips.
Willis's Walkabouts, 12 Carrington Street, Millner NT 0810, Australia firstname.lastname@example.org
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