By definition a national park is a flora and fauna reserve open to the general public – in the Northern Territory you might want to add camping, boating, swimming and some of Australia's best walking trails.
The well-managed national parks of the greater Katherine area showcase the natural diversity and abundant wildlife of the region. There are six parks to choose from and more than 10 nature parks, reserves and conservation areas.
From the remote Barranyi (North Island) National Park in the gulf region, with its pristine marine environment and fascinating birdlife, to the towering sandstone landforms of the Keep River National Park, there is plenty to see and experience.
Tracks and trails
A popular destination just 30 kilometres northeast of Katherine is the Nitmiluk National Park, home to the magnificent Katherine Gorge. This unique natural formation has been carved from ancient sandstone by the Katherine River and can be viewed up close on a boat tour.
Nitmiluk is also home to the Jatbula Trail, a popular seasonal walk from Nitmiluk to Leliyn (Edith Falls). It covers 60 kilometres and can be tackled over 5 days. The trail features beautiful swimming holes at every campsite, and amazing Jawoyn rock art along the way.
For the intrepid traveller the Gregory National Park has a network of four-wheel-drive tracks passing through gorges and desert landscapes. A popular destination is Limestone Gorge with excellent fishing, hiking and canoeing. Four-wheel-drive bush camps have also been established in the more remote areas.
The national parks are most comfortable in the dry season between May and August/September. If you're embarking on a remote four-wheel-driving trip or hiking overnight be sure to check in with local rangers before departing.