NORTHERN TERRITORY TRIP in June 2006 …. In Central Australia: KATHERINE GORGE …. Post 3

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Note: I would like  to share with  you  through  these few words, photographs and hyperlinked websites, a 3 Dimensional  experience as though you were  actually there with  us. Click on any photograph and it should enlarge to a different size ….. at least half screen or size full screen. It will be clearer in detail than the photo on the post. It will be as if you were  really there looking at the actual  scene. You are an arm chair traveller with us.

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Our Itinerary  Overall:

Harriet (my wife) and I flew off to the Northern Territory from 1st-13th June for a short holiday whereby we:

  • Flew up to Darwin from Brisbane on the 1st June then we hired a camper van
  • Then went down to Kakadu National Park for four days … a Park of rivers, floodplains, cliffs and Aboriginal rock art etc. over hundreds of square kms.
  • Then we drove back to Darwin
  • Then we caught the train = the Ghan down to Alice Springs (1500 kms. ) which is in Central Australia
  • We stopped off  before Alice Springs on the way down, for four hours to visit by boat the Katherine Gorge
  • Then on a small bus tour to Ayres Rock for several days
  • Then we flew back to Brisbane by the 13th  June ….. Alice Springs to Sydney then onto Brisbane

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Katherine Gorge

Katherine Gorge, Australia is probably my favourite national park in the Northern Territory. As you would have seen on photos below, the scenery is absolutely spellbinding. But there’s more to it. Natural beauty, flora and fauna, Aboriginal history, culture and rock art.  And most importantly, space to get way from the tourism side of things.

180,353 hectares to discover. And many people are not even aware of how much there is to see and do!  Yes, you can do much here more than the standard two hour tourist boat cruise.

You’ll be drawn to the majestic beauty and sheer size of the spectacular Katherine Gorge. Located on the lands of the Jawoyn people, rock art sites dot the park and dreaming stories bring the silent gorge walls to life. You can learn about the Jawoyn people’s association with the land at the Nitmiluk Centre or by taking a boat cruise of the first few gorges. Take sunrise or sunset cruises and see the gorge turn all shades of mauve and red. There are canoes for hire or you can get a permit to use your own canoe from the Nitmiluk National Park Visitor Centre.

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Katherine Gorge is  like  this for many  kilometeres. To see 100’s of beautiful photos,

some from a helicopter, see  Images for katherine gorge

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Map of Australia’s Northern Territory showing the regional locations.

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These are just a few photos of Katherine Gorge. Have you seen these? ….  see 100’s of beautiful photos, some from a helicopter: Images for katherine gorge

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Welcome to the Katherine Region

From: www.krta.com.au

There has never been a better time to travel to the Katherine Region. There is so much for you to do and explore, from the rugged beauty of the Borroloola Gulf Region, the Majestic Nitmiluk Katherine Gorge, the vast Victoria River Region, the wetlands of Kakadu and the beautiful and abundant barramundi filled fishing rivers of the Daly, the Roper & the Victoria Rivers that traverse all of the top end.

The Katherine Region is “Adventure Territory”, ideally suited to allow you to experience all that the Outback has to offer. From camping in swags to accommodation in air-conditioned motels, the choice is yours.

You could also consider a vast assortment of exciting experiences such as catching the famous barramundi or coming eye to eye with a saltwater crocodile. If you prefer a more relaxed approach perhaps a soak in numerous mineral rich hot springs as you travel throughout the Katherine Region.

Katherine has an extensive range of accommodation, caravan parks, tours, and restaurants to cater for all tastes. It is the perfect place to base yourself while you explore the rest of Australia’s Northern Territory “The Top End”.

Do yourselves a favor and visit the Katherine Visitor Information Centre in the town of Katherine Northern Territory, our friendly staff will offer you all the assistance necessary to make your vacation a memorable one. I trust you will enjoy your holiday and travel safely while you experience an adventure of a lifetime in the Top Ends “Jewel of the Territory”.

Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) National Park,  Northern Territory Australia  The Nitmiluk Katherine gorge is located 29km from Katherine on an all sealed road. It consists of 13 natural gorges carved through sandstone by the Katherine River. Rocks and boulders separate each gorge.
Katherine is located 317 km south of Darwin on the Stuart Highway. It’s a modern town with a population of around 11,000. Katherine has all the facilities for the traveller and boasts numerous natural attractions and a diverse history.

Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) National Park

The first people of the area were the Jawoyn and Dagomen Aboriginal people. They used the Katherine River as a foundation to their culture as it provided an abundance of food and water. The first European to pass through this country was Ludwig Leichardt in 1844 but it was John McDouall Stuart who on 4th July 1862 named the Katherine River after the second daughter of his patron James Chambers ‘Catherine’ spelling the name with a ‘K’ instead of ‘C’.
Those wanting to explore Katherine in more detail can pick up a copy of Discovering Katherine from the Katherine Visitor Information Centre.
Nitmiluk Visitor Centre

The visitor centre is located at the Katherine Gorge. Information displays are set up that explain the

 

geology, landscape and aboriginal history of the National Park. Informative staff are there to help you with tour enquiries and general information.
This should be your first point of call.

There are a number of different ways to explore the gorge, these are:
Canoeing

Paddling up the Katherine Gorge is a rewarding experience, it enables you to get close to wildlife and

Boat Cruises

Tour boats operated cruises of the Nitmiluk Katherine gorge. This is a good way to see the gorge as the

Scenic Flights

You can fly over the gorge either by helicopter or airplane. There are a variety of options in the amount you see. The scenic flights give you an excellent view of the Arnhemland plateau. (Check with us in 2003 for more information)

 

have the leisure of going at you own pace. You may wish to canoe for half a day, a full day or maybe overnight and stay in one of the bush camps located up the gorge.

guide can explain the many features and history of the gorge. There is a variety in cruise options from 2 hour to half day cruise adventures. Ask at the Katherine Visitor Information Centre for more information.

Bush Walking
There are over 100km of marked walking trails in the park. From numerous 1-5 kilometre half day to 66 km five day walks.
The walks lead to waterfalls and lookouts over the gorge and Park. For a 66 kilometre adventure walk from Nitmiluk Gorge to Leilyn (Edith Falls) spanning 5 days see here for a locals account of the walk about sleeping under the stars near amazing waterfalls each night. Or overnight you can do a 40 kilometre return walk to the Eighth Gorge & view the Jawoyn Valley ancient Aboriginal art sites. How about a 23 km return walk to Biddlecombe cascades. For more information on these walks contact the rangers at the Nitmiluk Visitor Centre. All walkers must register before attempting any walks.

You may wish to put your own private boat or canoe on the gorge. This is possible but there are some regulations so contact Parks and Wildlife before setting out. Fishing is another popular past time in the gorge. Only lures are allowed and there are regulations on the size of the fish and the amount you’re permitted to catch so check this out with the rangers first.

There is a picnic area provided with gas barbeques and tables and chairs. There is a variety of wildlife surrounding the picnic area which makes it an enjoyable place to sit and have some lunch.

Parks and Wildlife rangers are also there to assist with all your inquiries regarding walks and camping. The visitor centre also toilet facilities, a souvenir shop takeaway meals and refreshments available. The centre features a unique playground for children and an eating area situated above the Katherine River that is an ideal spot to sit down to a meal or a drink and watch the sun set.

Nitmiluk National Park , Leilyn (Edith Falls)

Edith Falls is part of the Nitmiluk National Park but had a different access to that of the Katherine Gorge. The access to Edith Falls is off the Stuart Highway 42km north of Katherine and then you drive in another 19km on bitumen road.

Close to the carpark and at the base of Edith Falls is a large pandanus fringed plunge pool that is a popular swimming area. There are also some really nice walks in the park. One of them is the Leilyn Trail, it’s a 2.6km round trip that climbs to the top of the escarpment and then down to the upper pools. The walk offers good views over the waterfalls and Edith River and swimming in the upper pool. There are also longer walks available following the Edith River that come to beautiful secluded swimming holes.

A popular place to camp or pull the caravan in for the evening. Restrictions:  No Pets ; No Fishing

During the wet season the plunge pool may be closed for swimming and access into the park is sometimes limited.

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See the next post:

2006: NORTHERN TERRITORY TRIP …. In Central Australia: Yellow Water, Kakadu National Park: Post 4