The main appeal of the 195km Mereenie Loop, linking the West MacDonnells with Kings Canyon (allow 3–4hr), is that it avoids backtracking on the usual “Canyon and Rock” tour. It is a stunning drive with plenty of desert oaks, river crossings, wild horses, donkeys and dingoes. The corrugations can be fearsome; don’t even think about the trip if rain is forecast as it’s prone to flash flooding and inaccessible after rain. Obtain a permit at Alice Springs Visitor Centre, Glen Helen or Kings Canyon. Note that you’re not allowed to stop or camp.