Katherine & surrounds Three-day itinerary
This three-day itinerary explores local gorges, waterholes, waterfalls and thermal springs, showing that this region is a perfect holiday destination for travellers with a thirst for adventure.
Katherine is the gateway to the magnificent Nitmiluk National Park. This is Jawoyn Country where the red sand of the Outback meets the lush tropics, offering the best of both worlds.
Start your engine
Leave Darwin to embark on your 3.5 hour drive south along the Stuart Highway to Katherine.
Plunge into Edith Falls
Leliyn (Edith Falls) is the perfect stop over to break up the trip with a relaxing swim in the plunge pool (usually open May–October), or if you are feeling particularly active, a bushwalk along the 2.6km Leliyn Trail.
Immerse yourself in local art
Katherine is a great base for exploring the nearby gorge country and learning about local Aboriginal culture. Stop in at the galleries in town showcasing Aboriginal art, where you can meet the artists, browse the pieces or buy one of your own to take home.
Feel revitalised with a dip in hot springs
Next stop, refresh yourself with a dip in the Katherine Hot Springs, a series of clear pools fed by a natural thermal spring on the banks of the Katherine River.
Catch a must-see show
A must-see while you’re in the region is the Katherine Outback Experience with Tom Curtain. Tom is equally renowned for his award-winning music skills as he is for his horseman abilities. Watch in awe during his 90 minute show as you witness authentic horse-breaking, a working dog demonstration and performances with his trick horse.
Rest your head in Katherine
There are many accommodation options for tonight. Pitch a tent in the Nitmiluk campground or treat yourself to a luxury experience at the Cicada Lodge, next to the Katherine Gorge in the stunning Nitmiluk National Park.
Start your day at Nitmiluk Visitor Centre
The world-renowned Nitmiluk National Park contains 13 gorges carved from the ancient sandstone by the Katherine River. Start your journey at the Nitmiluk Visitor Centre for advice on the many ways you can experience the spectacular gorges.
Grab a paddle, or cruise along
Take in the views from above
Get a sense of the size and majestic beauty of Nitmiluk from the air. Helicopter flights take off year-round (weather dependent) from the helipad near the Nitmiluk Visitor Centre or near the gorge at Maud Creek airstrip. Another great way to see this country is on foot. There are plenty of short trails to follow over the sandstone plateau.
Eat like an outback stockman
Tonight, dine under the stars at Marksie’s Stockman’s Camp Tucker Night in surroundings reminiscent of an outback stockman’s camp. You’ll feast on traditional outback tucker cooked using a range of Aboriginal spices to develop unique tastes. Partake in a scavenger hunt, or sit back and enjoy humorous yarns and stories with your host, Geoff Mark.
A top art and cultural experience
The Top Didj Art Gallery and Aboriginal Cultural Experience offers a chance to meet with local Aboriginal artists. You can get involved and create some of your own artwork and learn traditional painting styles, or try your hand at spear throwing using a woomera. Guests can learn a traditional way to start a fire using two sticks.
Go underground at the Cutta Cutta Caves
Only 27 kilometres south of Katherine are the Cutta Cutta caves where you can delve 15 metres below the surface to discover limestone caves that were formed millions of years ago and are still growing. The caves are home to a variety of wildlife including the rare orange Horseshoe Bat.
Soak in thermal hot springs
Another hour south is Elsey National Park. Dip your toe in Australian literature, best known as the setting for the Australian novel We of the Never Never. Soak in the warm turquoise water of nearby Mataranka Thermal Pool, surrounded by pandanus, paperbarks and palm forest. Then take a walk to Bitter Springs, another spring-fed thermal pool set among palms and tropical woodlands.
Pit-stop at Pine Creek or Adelaide River
On the return journey north to Darwin, stop at Pine Creek for a cool drink. Be sure to check out the mud brick made from termite mounds and local timber used to build the Lazy Lizard Tavern.
The Adelaide River Inn is also worth a stopover. Challenge yourself to finish one of their deliciously huge hamburgers and meet ‘Charlie’ the Buffalo, who starred alongside Paul Hogan in Crocodile Dundee.
If war history interests you, it’s worth visiting the Adelaide River War Cemetery, a reminder of the impact of WWII on the Territory and commemorating military and civilian casualties.