The Great Australian Outback Day 5: Kathleen Springs and Curtin Springs Station

We did the Kathleen Springs walk (2.5km, Grade 2 of 5) en route to Curtin Springs, the only motel accommodation between Kings Canyon and Ayers Rock. The 300km drive from Kings Canyon to Ayers Rock is on sealed roads and you do not need a 4WD for this segment.

Location of Kathleen Springs:

The less well known Kings Canyon (Watarrka National Park) is a 300km drive from the famous Ayers Rock. Nearest airports are Ayers Rock (300km) or Alice Springs (330km). Although you could technically visit this area as a (very rushed) day trip from Ayers Rock or Alice Springs (budget 3-4h for the walk + 6-7h for the 600km return drive), we chose to spend 2 nights here to enjoy the walks and drive at a more relaxed pace.

While Kings Canyon rim walk is the crown jewel of Watarrka National Park, there are two easier walks in the area- Kathleen Springs walk (2.5km, Grade 2 of 5) or Kings Canyon Creek walk (2km, Grade 2). It is well worth the detour to escape the crowds at Ayers Rock and to enjoy the different views and experiences here.

Day 5 [AM]: Kathleen Springs Walk

After our 6km Kings Canyon Rim Walk, we decided to do something simple this morning. Since the Kathleen Springs walk is not strenuous, it is a great walk to appreciate the variety of flora and fauna in the outback.

Kathleen Springs Walk – plants galore

Kathleen Springs Walk – plants galore

Kathleen Springs Walk – plants galore

Kathleen Springs Walk – plants galore

Kathleen Springs Walk – plants galore

Kathleen Springs Walk – plants galore

The walk is mostly flat (wheelchair accessible) except for a short part at the end just before the waterhole.

Kathleen Springs Walk – Flat walk

Kathleen Springs Walk – Small stream near the waterhole

We also passed some of these old structures, left over from the time when the area was used for cattle. According to the informational signboards, water was kept in tanks to ensure that the cattle would return to this area every day after grazing.

Kathleen Springs Walk – Remains of fences

Kathleen Springs Walk – Remains of fences

Kathleen Springs Walk – Old water tanks

The waterhole marks the end of the walk, after which you retrace your steps to the carpark. The Luritja aboriginal people believe that the spirit of a Rainbow Serpent lives in this waterhole and protects it from drying up. We also saw some rocks with indentations in them- I think these are grinding stones used by the aboriginal people.

Kathleen Springs Walk – Waterhole

Kathleen Springs Walk – Aboriginal grinding stone

Day 5 [PM]: Kathleen Springs to Curtin Springs Station (c.200km)

After the walk we stopped at Kings Creek Station to have their fabulous burgers for a second time, after which we drove to Curtin Springs where we stayed the night. Being 85km from Ayers Rock Resort, this is the nearest non-camping accommodation to Ayers Rock if you cannot afford the pricey Ayers Rock Resort. The ensuite triple was very tiny but we made do since it was only one night. Curtin Springs also has cheaper non-ensuite budget rooms and campsites. As mentioned in Day 3 trip report, Mt. Conner sits on the property of Curtin Springs and you can visit via guided tour (SEIT 4WD tour or Curtin Springs guided walk/acomm/transport package) or a helicopter tour.

Curtin Springs (triple ensuite room)- Container units

Curtin Springs (triple ensuite room)- Double bed

Curtin Springs (triple ensuite room)- Single bed

Curtin Springs (triple ensuite room)- Shower

Curtin Springs (triple ensuite room)- Toilet

There is only one place to eat at Curtin Springs which is their in-house restaurant. Luckily for us, Curtin Springs is a working cattle station (breeding Murray Greys) so the restaurant serves great steaks! It is not fine dining here but a homely and relaxed atmosphere. The Bough Shed, made of desert oak trees and spinifex grass, serves as the dining hall.

Curtin Springs- Bough shed for dining (sheltered al fresco, non-airconditioned)

Curtin Springs- Menu

Curtin Springs- Drinks from the bar

Curtin Springs- Great porterhouse steak (AUD33)

Curtin Springs- Veggie quiche, quite expensive for AUD20

Curtin Springs- Home made bread and butter pudding (AUD11.50)

Conclusion / BeyondBanality pro tips:

An easy drive on sealed roads. Petrol stations available at Ayers Rock Resort, Curtin Springs (cheapest – diesel/unleaded at AUD1.76/1.78 per litre), Kings Creek Station and Kings Canyon Resort.

Date of activity: 10 June 2016
Location: Curtin Springs, NT, Australia
Operator: N/A
Rate: c.AUD70/day for rental of Group K car/standard SUV (got a free upgrade to a Prado)
Booking: Avis (pickup / dropoff at Ayers Rock airport)
Accommodation: Curtin Springs, 85km from Ayers Rock airport

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2 responses to “The Great Australian Outback Day 5: Kathleen Springs and Curtin Springs Station

  1. Pingback: The Great Australian Outback Day 4: Kings Canyon Rim Walk | Beyond Banality·

  2. Pingback: Sample itinerary (5N): Ayers Rock &The Great Australian Outback | Beyond Banality·

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