The central north of the Australia is a rich and abundant region, teeming with wildlife amid awe-inspiring natural surrounds. Katherine town is the main service point to the region and from here you can explore the wonders of Nitmiluk National Park and the gorges, the adventure of the Douglas Daly region and the interesting gold rush history of the area around Pine Creek.
The most spectacular site in the Katherine region is Nitmiluk National Park, a vast stretch of land on the Arnhem Plateau where 13 gorges have been carved out over millions of years by the Katherine river. Visitors can explore the sheer cliff faces and ancient rock art by canoe, guided boat cruise or maybe a walk or a swim, with some fishing along the way.
North-west of Nitmiluk is the Douglas Daly region. Named for the two local rivers – the Douglas and the Daly – the region is most popular for recreational boating and fishing, especially for barra in the Daly River and at Oolloo Crossing. There’s also camping, bushwalking and swimming, with gorges, waterfalls and swimming holes in abundance. The picturesque Tjuwaliyn (Douglas) Hot Springs is a lovely spot for a dip in cooler weather, as well as a traditional place for Aboriginal women’s ceremonies. Nearby Butterfly Gorge is a magical oasis with refreshing pools for swimming, in the shade of towering paperbark trees, while thousands of butterflies rest across the rock faces above you.
As you head north from Katherine, you will pass through Pine Creek, the gateway to Kakadu National Park. Formerly a bustling mining town, the area has a rich gold rush history, which can be discovered in the local museums and mining exhibits dotted through the town, such as the Pine Creek National Trust Museum.
Image © Louise Denton