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Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge

Alice Springs Darwin Katherine Ulu r u Kings Canyon

Make your way to the sandstone country of Nitmiluk National Park and explore the 13 stunning gorges on foot, by canoe, boat or helicopter.

Nitmiluk National Park covers a vast area of escarpment country, including 13 gorges carved from the ancient sandstone country. Explore the world-famous park and gorge country on foot, by canoe, boat or helicopter.

Cruise, paddle, walk or fly

Hire a canoe and paddle along the gorges to see waterfalls, Aboriginal rock art and wildlife. Board a sunrise cruise or speedboat and enjoy the ride.

For an aerial view of the gorge system and the extensive Arnhem Land plateau, board a helicopter ride leaving from near the visitor centre.

Walk the Jatbula Trail

Walk the five-day 58 km Jatbula Trail that passes waterfalls, monsoon rainforest, stone country and Aboriginal rock art. The trail starts at the visitor centre and ends at Leliyn (Edith Falls), an idyllic camping spot near waterholes that are great for a rejuvenating swim.

The Windolf Walk winds along Katherine River and up to Pat’s Lookout for a sweeping view of the gorge. Continue along the trail to the Southern Rockhole, where a waterfall flows after rain.

Natural swimming holes

Swim at Leliyn (Edith Falls), a pandanus-fringed plunge pool on the park’s western boundary. Then follow the scenic walking track to Sweetwater Pool, a secluded and tranquil swimming hole.

Paddle through the narrow chasms of Butterfly Gorge, a quiet, shaded gorge with rocky walls that are home to thousands of butterflies.

Aboriginal owners

Stop at Nitmiluk Visitor Centre to learn about the cultural and spiritual significance of the gorge for its traditional owners, the Jawoyn and Dagomen people. There are many Aboriginal rock art paintings on sandstone walls throughout the gorge system, some of which are thousands of years old.

Things to see & do in Nitmiluk National Park

  • Information

    Activities

    • National Parks and Reserves
    • Natural Attractions

    Opening times

    Daily 24 hours. The Nitmiluk Visitors Centre is open from 7am to 7pm.

    Entry cost

    Free entry

    Facilities

    • Barbeque
    • Cafe
    • Caravan / Camper Trailer / Campervan Sites / Campsites
    • Carpark
    • Coach Parking
    • Enquiry Desk
    • Family Friendly
    • Food and Refreshments
    • Interpretive Centre
    • Lookouts
    • Picnic Area
    • Public Toilet
    • Restaurant

    Activities

    • Birdwatching
    • Camping
    • Canoeing/Kayaking
    • Swimming
    • Walk
    • Hiking

    Accessibility

    Caters for people with sufficient mobility to climb a few steps but who would benefit from fixtures to aid balance. (This includes people using walking frames and mobility aids)

  • Map

    Map

    What's nearby

    What's nearby

    Explore the NT
    Road tripsFlight paths
  • FAQS

    Can Nitmiluk Gorge be done as a day trip?

    It's possible to take a day trip from Darwin to Nitmiluk Gorge, however a longer stay is recommended. The Gorge is just over 30 minutes drive from Katherine, meaning a day trip from Katherine is certainly possible. If you have more time, stay a few nights to make sure you don't miss out on anything.

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    Do I need any passes or permits to visit Nitmiluk Gorge?

    No passes or permits are required to visit Nitmiluk Gorge, except if you wish to use your own canoe. As always, check with local tourism providers – especially if you plan on camping or fishing.

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    How do I get around Nitmiluk National Park?

    Nitmiluk National Park has a number of attractions, so driving or taking an organised tour are the best ways to see everything. All attractions are accessible with a regular vehicle, a 4WD is not necessary. There are well marked walking tracks in the park, ranging from one hour walks to the five-day Jatbula Trail. When exploring Nitmiluk Gorge you can jump on cruise boat or hire a canoe.

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    How do I get to Nitmiluk Gorge?

    A number of tour operators include Nitmiluk Gorge in their itineraries, it's an easy drive from Darwin or Kakadu National Park. By road, Nitmiluk Gorge is a 4 hour drive south from Darwin on the Stuart Highway. You can take the weekly Ghan train from Adelaide or Alice Springs, or fly into Katherine with Air North. Nitmiluk Gorge is a 30 minute drive on a sealed, all-weather road from Katherine.

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    How far is Nitmiluk Gorge from Katherine?

    Katherine is just 30 minutes' drive from Nitmiluk Gorge. Katherine has an array of excellent accommodation options that suit every budget.

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    What are the major attractions at Nitmiluk Gorge?

    Whether you visit for a day or a week, there's plenty to see and do at Nitmiluk Gorge. Highlights include boat cruises down the gorge, unique tours with local Aboriginal guides, canoeing at the break of day, stunning Aboriginal rock art, and the luxurious accommodation at Cicada Lodge.

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    What should I bring with me to Nitmiluk Gorge?

    Aside from bringing your imagination and ambition to see as much as you can, you should also bring sunscreen, a hat, insect repellent, a first aid kit, plenty of water and comfortable walking shoes.

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    When is the best time to visit Nitmiluk Gorge?

    You can visit Nitmiluk Gorge all year-round. The weather between May to October is warm and dry, making it the perfect time for long hikes, canoeing or exploring the region. November to April sees the arrival of the tropical rain, and when the water level rises, jet boats operate cruises on the gorge.

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    Where should I go next from Nitmiluk Gorge?

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