During a visit to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, you are sure to take part of some of the memorable hikes and walks around the area. One of the moderate ones to enjoy is the Walpa Gorge Walk that heads between the Olgas of Kata Tjuta. This guide will go into detail on what the Walpa Gorge walk is all about and how to enjoy a trip there for yourself.
1) Walpa Gorge Walk Details
Compared to the Uluru Base Walk and the Kata Tjuta Valley of the Winds Walk, the out and back trek through Walpa Gorge is on the easier side. Below are some helpful details to note as you prepare to take part.
Name: Walpa Gorge Walk
Starting & Ending Point: Walpa Gorge Car Park (25°18’01.9″S 130°43’23.8″E)
Walpa Gorge Walk Length: 2.6 km | 1.6 miles (round trip)
How Long is the Walpa Gorge Walk: 1 hour round trip
Elevation Gain: Minimal
Terrain: Dirt, Rock, Boardwalk
The Walpa Gorge walk is a perfect addition to your day if exploring the area around the Kata Tjuta Olgas. I had quite the long day when I took part of the walk.
I started with a Kata Tjuta sunrise, followed by the Valley of the Winds walk, and then relaxed for a bit and had some lunch. It was then off to the Walpa Gorge in the afternoon followed by a Kata Tjuta sunset experience.
Of course, you can decide to take things a bit easier depending on your interest and fitness levels.
2) Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park Tickets & Hours
If you want to take part of the Walpa Gorge Walk, you will need to make your way into Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park. The national park includes both the Uluru/Ayers Rock area as well as the Kata Tjuta area. If looking to head to any of the official sunrise and sunset spots, that would require entrance into the national park as well.
I would recommend purchasing tickets ahead of time to Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park. These tickets can then be printed out or added to your Apple Wallet on your phone.
Once you arrive at the national park entrance you can simply scan your paper or phone and be on your way. If you do not purchase ahead of time, you will need to purchase tickets in a separate car line at the entrance.
National Park Ticket Prices
Adult (18+): $38 AUD
Child (0-17): Free
At time of purchase you can choose how many days you would like to spend in the park. The tickets are valid for up to 5 days at no additional cost.
National Park Hours
The Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park hours depend on time of year. It opens early enough to make it to those sunrise points, and closes late enough to enjoy sunset within the park. Below is the latest as of 2021:
3) Where to Stay Near Kata Tjuta
The most realistic place to stay when visiting the Walpa Gorge would be the town of Yulara. The entire town is built around one large loop, where you will find several accommodation options, a small town center with restaurants, shops, and a supermarket, and other things like a gas station, emergency services, etc.
Below are a few of the places you can choose from:
Looking for a budget option? The Outback Pioneer Lodge has some shared room options.
4) Walpa Gorge Directions
Below is a Google Maps view of the Walpa Gorge walk as well as the parking lot starred down. The Walpa Gorge parking lot (GPS coordinates: 25°18’01.9″S 130°43’23.8″E), is not the same as the Valley of the Winds walk or the sunset/sunrise viewing areas. While they are all in close vicinity to one another, just note you will need to drive from one to the next.
» If renting a car, check out this Uluru Car Hire guide for more details
I have also included the route between Yulara and the parking lot so you can get an idea of where they are in relation to one another. The drive from Yulara takes around 45 minutes and is about 53 km / 33 miles in length.
The Walpa Gorge can easily be added to your longer Uluru Itinerary as you explore this whole section of the Outback.
5) Walpa Gorge Walk Map
Here is photo of the Walpa Gorge Walk map that is located directly at the trailhead. Unlike the Valley of the Winds Walk which is more of a circular route (as you can also see on the map), the Walpa Gorge Walk is an out and back route.
You will simply follow the pathway from the parking lot and straight between the gorge walls to the final platform area. Once you are all set there, it is back out the same way you came.
6) The Walpa Gorge Walk
The area of Kata Tjuta is made up of 36 Olgas/domes over 20 square kilometers. At the Walpa Gorge, you will have the chance to walk right in between two of these Olgas that will be soaring up above on either of you.
The name Walpa, translates to “whistle” in the local Anangu language, as you can hear the soft whistle of the wind as you are making your way through. The gorge is also an important source of water for the flora and fauna of the area. As it says on the signboard, “Rare plants and native animals seek refuge in this moisture rich gully”.
Right when you arrive at the carpark, you will already see the massive Olga walls out in front of you. The walking path begins right from the lot as you follow the rocky/sandy terrain further through the gorge.
Be sure to look up from time to time, to get a sense of how tall the Walpa Gorge walls actually are. It is quite remarkable seeing the Kata Tjuta rock with all its unique details surrounding you.
As you are making your way through, you will also come across several short boardwalk bridges that head over some more hazardous parts of the gorge. For the most part though you will mostly be walking on the red rock terrain.
You will continue through the gorge passing by some unexpected greenery and a few more bridges until you reach the end point of the walk. Here you will find a nice platform area that you can enjoy before deciding to turn back around.
Out in front of you will be the two Olga walls getting narrower and essentially meeting each other at the end of the gorge. Behind you will be a view through the Walpa Gorge and out into the never-ending Outback landscape.
It is then time to turn around and head back to the parking lot area. After enjoying a nice stroll through the Walpa Gorge, you can decide to take part of the next part of your day. Whether it be waiting for the Kata Tjuta sunset, an Uluru sunset, or just heading back to Yulara.
7) Walpa Gorge Walk vs Valley of the Winds
Many people wonder whether they should do the Walpa Gorge Walk or the Valley of the Winds Walk. The two are very different when it comes to length and difficulty, and I wouldn’t say they are walks that are really comparable to each other.
We have already covered the Walpa Gorge Walk – a simpler 2.6 km | 1.6 miles round trip hike that shouldn’t take more than an hour or so.
On the other hand, you have the Valley of the Winds Walk, which is a longer 7.4 km | 4.6 mile loop hike that can get quite strenuous at times. There are several points of steeper elevation gain and loss that can be found on the overall hike.
With that said though, the Valley of the Winds Walk also has shorter options to choose from if you don’t want to take part of the entire loop. These include heading just to the Karu Lookout (first lookout spot), or to the Karingana Lookout (second lookout spot).
The hike to the Karu Lookout is pretty comparable to the Walpa Gorge, however not too long after you are past this point, the terrain can get tougher towards the Karingana Lookout.
So, if you are looking for a longer and tougher hike that takes you through many more of the Olgas, with several viewpoints along the way, then the full Valley of the Winds walk is for you.
On the other hand, if you are just looking for a short and manageable hike just to get a feel for the area and get up close to the Olgas, then the Walpa Gorge can be a better option (and/or the walk to the Karu Lookout).
» If you would like to learn more, take a look at the Valley of the Winds guide I have up on the site that goes into detail of what the walk is all about.
That about wraps up a guide to the Walpa Gorge of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Feel free to check out the other Australia itineraries and guides up on the site for more helpful posts.
If you have any questions or comments, be sure to write them in below. Have fun out there and safe travels!