The Giles Track – An Overnight Hike at Kings Canyon
If you’re after a hike that’s a little bit adventurous without being too hard, then the Giles Track in Watarrka National Park (Kings Canyon) might be of interest.
This is a relatively easy overnight walk that meanders from Kathleen Springs in the east of the park all the way to the Canyon; a distance of about 22 km.
It’s named after the Nineteenth Century explorer, Ernest Giles, who was the first European to visit the area.
Unfortunately, the Giles Track doesn’t get a lot of use, although I’ve never understood why. So I reckon come prepared, and do this little known walk. You won’t regret it.
What to Expect
The track passes through a number of really spectacular and interesting areas and is well worth the effort. If you’re fit, you could easily do this as a day walk (although it’s recommended as an overnighter).
It’s a fantastic walk for people who’ve not had a lot of overnight hiking experience. And for those of you that have lots of hiking experience, you’ll still enjoy the feeling of solitude that you get from walking this great trail.
Although you can start the walk by doing the Rim Walk or walking up the descent, if you walk from the Kathleen Springs end, it’s virtually flat all the way. You can camp at Reedy Creek or other places along the Track.
One night camping up on the walk and you’ll marvel at how many stars there are that you miss seeing and as a bonus feel the solitude and lack of noise that hits you so much in the Outback.
Starting from the Kathleen Springs end also means that you finish the walk at the Canyon itself where you’re rewarded with spectacular overviews of the beehive-like domes that you don’t really get from any other vantage point:
What to Bring
The Giles Track can be done as a long day walk or as an easy overnight hike.
If you’re planning on making it an overnight hike, make sure you bring your usual lightweight sleeping gear, a tarp, food etc. You should also carry all the water you need.
Although water can usually be found along the track at Reedy Creek and Wanya, there may be times when water is not available. Like all hiking in Central Australia, don’t rely on natural sources. Bring all the water you’ll need on this hike.
- Water: six litres is recommended
- Wide-brimmed hat
- Hiking shoes, runners or light hiking boots (you do not need big heavy hiking boots)
- Warm clothes as nights can drop below freezing during winter
- Camera for awesome Canyon shots
When to Walk?
The Giles Track should only be done during the cooler months – May thru September.
We strongly recommend that you do not attempt the Giles Track during summer.
I’m not going to tell you much more about this walk here, other than to say this is another great way of experiencing what the Kings Canyon area has to offer.
If you’re travelling with friends or happen to bump into someone you may be able to arrange a drop off at one end of the walk and leave your transport at the completion end.