Be drawn to the spectacular sandstone country of Nitmiluk National Park and the majestic Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge with spectacular cliffs that glow in the changing light.
Nitmiluk National Park, just 30 kilometres north-east of Katherine, covers a vast area, including 13 impressive gorges carved from the ancient sandstone country which stretch for as far as the eye can see.
Explore the world-famous park and gorge country on foot, by canoe, boat or helicopter.
Accommodation is available within the National Park. Choose from camping, to chalets through to the upmarket Cicada Lodge. Nitmiluk National Park has something for everyone.
Cruise, paddle, walk or fly
Hire a canoe and paddle along the gorges to see waterfalls, ancient Aboriginal rock art and wildlife. Feel the oars pushing through the water as you set your own pace, taking in the magic and the enormity of the impressive gorges. Canoes are available for hire or permits can be obtained for those wishing to use their own.
Watch the gorge move through a spectrum of colours and glowing hues on a sunrise or sunset river cruise. As you observe the cliff faces towering over the boat, sit back and listen as the traditional owners of the park, the Jawoyn people, transport you into a spiritual world of their culture and history.
Reach for the sky in a scenic flight over the park. Offering the most magnificent views from the air, a helicopter flight is a ‘must-do’ experience, showing the gorge system, Arnhem Land escarpment and local wildlife from a different perspective. Flights leave from the nearby Visitor Centre with some options including an exclusive swim in one of the harder to reach gorges.
The Windolf Walk is a moderately challenging track that winds along Katherine River and up to Pat’s Lookout for a sweeping view of the gorge. The 8.4km return track includes access to the picturesque Southern Rockhole – a seasonal waterfall.
Natural swimming holes
Soak up the landscape as you cool off in the tranquil waters of Leliyn (Edith) Falls, on the park’s western boundary. Swimming at both the lower and upper pools is a must with the upper falls offering a particularly special swim among picture-perfect rock formations.
If you have time for a full day or overnight walk, you can follow the track to Sweetwater Pool, a secluded swimming hole where the waters mimic the sky in a spectacular display.
For the slightly more adventurous you can paddle through the narrow chasms of Butterfly Gorge, a quiet, shaded gorge with rocky walls that are home to thousands of butterflies. Feel like you are in the land of fairies as they surround you while you walk.
Learn about the cultural and spiritual significance of the gorge for its traditional owners, the Jawoyn and Dagomen people. The Nitmiluk Visitor Centre is located at the entrance to Nitmiluk Gorge and should be your first stop when visiting the national park.
For thousands of years the Jawoyn people have maintained their culture and traditions through the stories passed from one generation to another – the Dreamtime. Nitmiluk is the Jawoyn name for Katherine Gorge. It is pronounced Nit-me-look, and literally means Cicada Place.
There are many Aboriginal rock art paintings on sandstone walls throughout the gorge system, some of which are thousands of years old. Take a tour to learn about the traditions, stories, ceremonies and the significance of the land from a local guide.
Walk the Jatbula Trail
For a trip of a lifetime walk the five-day, 58 km Jatbula Trail. The reasonably difficult trail, for experienced hikers, is named after an ancient Aboriginal songline (paths across the land) used by the Jawoyn people that passes waterfalls, monsoon rainforest, stone country and Aboriginal rock art.
The trail starts at the Visitor Information Centre at the entrance of Nitmiluk Gorge and ends at Leliyn (Edith) Falls.