Hiking in the Australian Outback with Kids

As I stood at the base of the Kings Canyon looking up at the steep path ahead of me, I started questioning my sanity at attempting this with two young kids. I won’t lie, the first part of this walk is brutal. My thighs burned, I breathed heavily and my fat cells cried tears of sweat.

My husband and two teenagers overtake me with ease. Okay, so I’m not the world’s fittest or fastest hiker; especially when I have a chubby 18-month-old strapped to my back. However, I am incredibly determined to prove that you can still do exciting stuff with young kids. Slow and steady wins the race!

The Kings Canyon Scenic Rim Walk has been on my bucket list for six months, ever since I started toying with the idea of making the long 3,300 km drive from the east coast to central Australia for a two-week-long 4WD camping adventure.
The good news is, the hardest part is over once you get past the initial ascent. I stop for a rest at the top, taking a well-deserved water and banana break. Mr nearly-four is walking ahead, hitching a ride on daddy whenever his legs tire.

The landscape at the top is nothing short of fascinating. I can’t say that it’s pretty, but I can say that its interesting. The unique geological features of the landscape up here feel more at home in a science fiction movie.
Standing on the edge looking over to the other side of the canyon is a memorable experience. The views are breathtaking and the lone ghost gum tree growing almost vertically from the side of the canyon wall is a testament to the stubbornness of mother nature. From this distance, the hikers on the other side of the canyon are the size of ants. I wave at them in excitement even though I know they can’t see me do so.

Just when I think I can’t take any more of the harsh outback sun, the track leads down some steep stairs into what is known as the “The Garden of Eden”; an aptly named shady green oasis with a permanent waterhole.

Swimming is not allowed here. The traditional aboriginal owners of this land request that you stay out of the water, just as they do. Keeping the waterhole clean is important for the health of the unique wildlife that rely on it. I don’t mind. The thought of polluting this pristine oasis doesn’t sit well with me anyway.

The steps lead up and out to the other side of the canyon. If I could travel back in time 90 minutes and stand in this very spot, I would now see myself a speck in the distance, waving from the other side of the canyon. The thought amuses me for some reason. The last remaining few kilometres are uneventful. Little miss 18-months has fallen asleep in the carrier and it’s a slow and steady downhill incline from here. By the time I reach the bottom, my knees and leg muscles are giving me hints that they will hurt tomorrow.

They do indeed hurt the next day. In fact, it takes another two days before they finally forgive me. However, the minor muscle aches are worth it as I have proven to myself that I can do this. That life with young kids can still be full of hikes, adventures and new and fascinating landscapes to explore.
Find Out More: Kings Canyon is located in the Watarrka National Park in Central Australia. Most people visit on route to Australia’s beloved icon, Uluru.


About the Author: Jessica Palmer is a freelance travel writer and obsessive traveller, photographer and blogger. She’s also a wife and mother of two young kids. Jessica’s goal is to show her followers that  once you become a parent, travelling can still be adventurous and fun!

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