Nitmiluk National Park

Nitmiluk National Park is in the Top End of Northern Territory.

This 292,800 hectare national park is one of the greatest ones in Australia. The main feature of the park is the rugged and spectacular Katherine Gorge which has been carved into the rock by Katherine River.


Many bushwalking tracks surround the gorge that is popular with kayakers. The longest, Jatbula Trail goes to Edith Falls in the western side of the park.
Katherine Gorge and Katherine River, Nitmiluk National Park, Northern Territory, Australia, Pacific
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Easy ways to visit Katherine Gorge

DAY TRIP FROM DARWIN

THREE-DAY KAKADU AND KATHERINE GORGE FROM DARWIN

FOUR-DAY KAKADU, LITCHFIELD AND KATHERINE GORGE FROM DARWIN






Geology, Vegetation and Australian Animals

The geology of the gorge is fascinating with high walls of sandstone and conglomerate. The gorge is lined with pandanus and paperbark stands, and walking tracks lead through different vegetation types such as tropical woodlands, monsoon rainforests and sandstone plateaus where Spinifex grows. Animals in this national park include freshwater crocodiles and water monitors, wallabies, goannas and flying foxes. Birds you can see include falcons, bowerbirds, honeyeaters, finches and martins.

Western End of Katherine Gorge, Australia
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River Cruises and Canoeing
The gorge and its wildlife are best seen from the water. There are cruises along different sections of the gorge and to some sites with Aboriginal rock paintings. They also hire canoes if you prefer to discover the gorge by yourself – it’s fun. The walls of the gorge are colourful in sunset and sunrise so bring your camera.

Katherine Gorge, Nitmiluk National Park, Northern Territory, Australia
Boat tour. Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to buy.

Helicopter Flights and Southern Bushwalks

There are helicopter flights if you want to see the gorge from the air. You can book them at the visitors centre of the Nitmiluk National Park, where you can also get maps and more information on the bushwalking tracks. Southern walks (east of the visitors centre) are short strolls on the southern bank of Katherine Gorge which take you to several lookout points with views over different parts of the gorge, some good swimming spots in the river, and a site of Aboriginal animal art. You can camp at Dunlop Swamp, Smitt Rock and the Eighth Gorge but you need to ask for a permit from Nitmiluk Visitors Centre.

The Western End of Katherine Gorge in Nitmiluk National Park, the Top End, Australia
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Jatbula Trail
The 58-km Jatbula Trail is a popular long walk over the Arnhem Land escarpment. It is well marked but only open during the Dry Season and you need to book in advance with the Nitmiluk National Park Visitors Centre as the hikers’ numbers are restricted. It goes north from the Nitmiluk Centre: 4km to Northern Rockhole where you are not allowed to camp and another 8km to Biddlecombe Cascades where there is a camping site. North from here is Crystal Falls with a camping site, and The Amphitheatre - an Aboriginal art site where you are not allowed to camp.

Edith Falls, Leilyn, Nitmiluk National Park, Northern Territory, Australia, Pacific
Edith Falls. Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to buy.

Edith Falls

Across the 17 Mile Creek in west is the 17 Mile Falls, and further west the Edith River Crossing, both with camp sites. South from here is Sandy Camp Pool with a camping site and Edith River South where you are not allowed to camp. South-east from Edith River South you come to Sweetwater Pool, and finally to Edith Falls, the best swimming hole in this national park. Around the pool is Leilyn Trail - a short walk that takes you to a few lookout points. Edith Falls can also be reached from west via Stuart Highway.

Nitmiluk National Park, Australia
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Tours and Camping

You can camp in the bush but there is also the Nitmiluk Caravan Park next to the entrance to the Katherine Gorge. Would you be in the area and not have transport to the gorge, there are one day trips from Darwin (that include the cruise) as well as three day tours that combine Nitmiluk with Kakadu National Park, and four day tours that combine Nitmiluk with Kakadu and Litchfield.

Accommodation


Accommodation in Katherine includes All Seasons Hotel, Best Western Pine Tree Motel, Donkey Camp Bed and Breakfast, Katherine Motel, Knotts Crossing Resort, Maud Creek Country Lodge, and Springvale Homestead.

Tourist Boat Cruise in Katherine Gorge
Tour boat. Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to buy.

Here's a map of Nitmiluk National Park, where I have tagged the places that I mentioned on this web page. You can click on the tags to see what places they are, and double-click anywhere on the map to zoom it in and see the places closer. Drag the map to move around, and if you want to see the satellite image with Google Earth, click on "Sat" in the top right hand corner.

 
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