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Katherine & Nitmiluk Gorge explorer 4 day drive itinerary

Give yourself a long weekend to explore the popular and spectacular Nitmiluk Gorge and the Katherine region. With lots to do, you’ll want to stay longer, as Katherine will surely steal your heart.

Swim, hike, ride, dive, see, fly and float all through the Katherine region on this short drive itinerary.

Day 1: Darwin to Katherine

Katherine is an easy three-hour drive from Darwin – straight down the Stuart Highway. Make the most of the journey by stopping off to explore Adelaide River War Cemetery, and the remains of military airstrips from WWII along the way. There’s great food and coffee at Emerald Springs Roadhouse. Drop into Pine Creek to see if you can spot a Hooded Parrot or to just explore the history of the town and area.

Upon arrival in Katherine, make your way to your accommodation, and then head straight to Katherine Hot Springs. A perfect introduction to Katherine, the hot springs are surrounded by a beautiful picnic area and some short walks.

Days 2 & 3: Katherine region and Nitmiluk National Park

For the next two days you can explore all that this beautiful region has on offer. Head to Nitmiluk National Park for the day.

We recommend doing the Baruwei Loop Walk, which takes you to the top of Nitmiluk Gorge and gives you magnificent views over the Katherine River and 17 Mile Valley. For a thrilling way to see the gorge, take a helicopter scenic flight, float down the river on a cruise or hire a canoe. There are many optional experiences to choose from at the Nitmiluk Visitor Information Centre, so be sure to pop in to plan your day.

For the avid bushwalker or the hiker at heart, there are loads of tracks on offer that range from easy to difficult. For those who prefer to cast a line, this is your chance to catch a barramundi.

If birding is more your thing, make sure you keep your eyes peeled for the rare Gouldian Finch, fairly common to spot in this area. You can also experience a taste of local life at Katherine Outback Experience, home to a live show fitted out with guitars, dogs, horses, buffalo and more.

Day 4: Katherine to Darwin

Just because it’s the last day, it doesn’t mean this is the end of your Katherine road trip. Depart Katherine and head north back to Darwin making a stop at Leliyn (Edith Falls) for a dip and to explore. For a moderately challenging walk, take the 2.6km Leliyn Trail which takes you to the upper pool of the falls – well worth the effort! At the base of the falls there are picnic facilities and a café. Spend a couple of hours here before heading back to Darwin.

Optional add-on: Mataranka Thermal Pools and Bitter Springs

For more rejuvenating plunge pool experiences, head south to the Mataranka Thermal Pools, just a quick hour’s drive south. This is an awesome little stopover that’s perfect for everyone. Float in the clear sandy bottomed thermal pools and enjoy the serenity of the area.

Try adding on the Kakadu National Park itinerary.

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