Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Kings Canyon

A canyon in the George Gill Range, with walls of pastel-coloured rock reaching heights of 200 m and stretching for almost 2 km. It is the deepest gorge in central Australia, and possibly the most striking gorge. The gorge, with the rock of its walls showing no sign of the rounding seen in other gorges of the centre, the massive southern wall having the appearance of being cut straight through, as opposed to be worn down by slow erosion. The appearance of the walls result from the method of erosion, the wall being formed by the collapse of chunks of rock breaking along vertical faults. The north wall is not smooth like the south wall because of the uneven way the rock chunks have broken away. The gorge was formed where King's Creek leaves the western end of the range. There are several sections that are distinct from each other, resulting in the overall appearance of a giant maze.

The walls taper in to form a precipice that is wide and round, from which the deep rook pools can be seen at the end of the canyon, the sheer walls or red sandstone, one smooth, the other rough, giving it a spectacular appearance when the light is right. A waterfall sometimes forms at a high crevice after heavy rain, at which times the pools expand and occasionally the creek flows. The wide, valley-like entrance, with precipitous slopes is thickly vegetated, the gorge swinging to the east about 2-3 km along its length, where it becomes straight and has sheer walls more than 200 m high. Unlike other Australian canyons, it is best views from the rim.

The flat summit of the range is reached by climbing a steep slope near the entrance of the Canyon. From here the red rocks to the sides have been shaped by erosion into various forms that gives them the appearance of a city in ruins covering a large area. The area has been called the Lost City.

The large crevice to the east of the north wall, the source of the waterfall that occasionally falls, continues some distance into the rocks, eventually opening into the Garden of Eden, a natural garden high in the canyon wall, that has a series of deep dark pools. The pools are surrounded by very old specimens of the cycad Macrozamia macdonnellii, as well as many other plants of wet habitats. The Garden is reached by climbing down from the range into a tributary crevice, then along a long, dark passage to where the 2 crevices meet.

  1. Watarrka National Park
  2. Australian National Parks
  3. Australian National Parks - Northern Territory

Sources & Further reading

  1. Hellen Grasswill & Reg Morrison, Australia, a Timeless Grandeur, Lansdowne, 1981
  2. Penny Van Oosterzee, The Centre - The Natural history of Australia's Desert Regions, Reed Australia, 1993


  1. King Canyon
  2. Kings Canyon images
  3. Kings Canyon
Last updated 05/11/2008


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                                                                                           Author: M.H.Monroe  Email:     Sources & Further reading