Nitmiluk National Park, NT

A spectacular national park in the Top End of the Northern Territory – made famous by Katherine Gorge
By Jenna Hanson July 1, 2014 Reading Time: 2 Minutes

The Jawoyn people are traditional owners of Nitmiluk National Park and have jointly managed it with the NT Parks and Wildlife Service since 1989. The spectacular park, with its 13 gorges, waterfalls, lookouts and 100km of walking tracks, is a must-see when visiting the Top End.

Nitmiluk Gorge, otherwise known as Katherine Gorge, covers an area of about 2900sq.km complete with waterfalls, lush tropical savannah, unique wildlife and Jawoyn rock art.

The gorge has numerous places for canoeing and boat tours are run by Nitmiluk Tours. There are also many walking trails, including the 60km Jatbula Trail, which has campsites along the route.

Leliyn, or Edith, Falls is about 60km north of Katherine, in the north-west corner of the park. These picturesque waterfalls are best visited from May to September and are a great place for swimming.

Activities

Walking tracks: There are walking tracks throughout the national park. The Jatbula Trail is best done over five days.

For shorter hikes, try the Windolf Trail, which is an 8.4km return walk to Pat’s lookout, or the steep 400m Barrawei Walk, which takes you to a magnificent spot overlooking the gorge.

Boating tours: Boating tours are run by Nitmiluk Tours and range from a two-hour exploration of the gorge system to a half-day safari, which includes the third gorge.

These spectacular tours are a great way of seeing the gorges and discovering the customs of the traditional land owners, the Jawoyn. www.nitmiluktours.com.au

Waterfalls: Leliyn (Edith) Falls is located on the north-west border of the national park. It can be reached by the 60km Jatbula Trail or by turning off the Stuart Highway 42km north of Katherine, then following a sealed road for a further 19km. There is a 2.6km, two-hour circuit that ascends a hill then goes down to cross the upper pool above the falls.

The essentials

Location: The park’s main entrance is 30km north-east of Katherine, which is 310km south of Darwin along the Stuart Highway.

Accommodation: Camping is available in the park on the Jatbula Trail for a fee of $3.30 per person per night with a $50 refundable deposit.

Food/drink: Food and water is available from the visitor centre. There are picnic areas around the national park.

Points of interest: Leliyn (Edith) Falls and Nitmiluk Gorge are must-sees.

Maps: Guide to Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) National Park Walking Map is available from the visitor centre.

More info: www.nretas.nt.gov.au/national-parks-and-reserves/parks/find/nitmiluk#what