Katherine and Surrounds

Often underrated in its beauty, tranquility and rich heritage, the Northern Territory is home to some of the most spectacular sights and incredible experiences in the country,  which are scarcely unrivalled across the entire globe. Katherine is a small town located 320 kilometres southeast of Darwin and is the point where the stunning outback setting of Katherine Gorge and the tropical treats of Umbrawurra and Elsey National Parks meet. It also located on the Katherine River and and has been home to the Jawoyn Aboriginal people for thousands of years.

Walks and National Parks

Katherine Gorge and Nitmiluk National Park

With 13 gorges all having been meticulously sculpted by history’s omniscient brush, Nitmiluk National Park is an area of world-famous escarpment country that is simply not able to disappoint. The pristine area is dotted with serene, natural waterholes such as Edith Falls or Sweetwater Pool and offers smaller walks which provide you with overwhelming views of the gorge-filled region. To truly immerse yourself in this untouched wilderness and to witness all the incredible sights the national park has to offer, you can pull out your hiking gear and walk the five-day Jatbula trail that meanders through sandstone country, raging waterfalls, traditional Aboriginal rock art and monsoon rainforest.

Elsey National Park

You can experience the natural wonders of thermal springs firsthand in the heritage site of Elsey National Park, located East of Katherine. Lined with pandanus, paperbark and palm forest trees this area will appear as a oasis of serenity and bliss. For a cooler, more refreshing dip, you can also visit the Stevie’s Hole.

Umbrawarra Gorge Nature Park

Over on the other side of Katherine lies a ruggedly majestic nature park that protects the steep red-cliffed Umbrawurra Gorge. Adorned with Aboriginal art and split by a creek that forms a natural pool bordered by sand, this isolated area which allow you to relax and unwind and simply admire nature’s unaffected beauty.


If walking through these incredible parks doesn’t quite get enough adrenaline going for you, the are plenty of other options on the table. Almost all of these parks offer abseiling, rock climbing or rock hopping, canoeing, 4WD driving, boating, fishing or even helicopter rides and scenic flights.

History and Culture

On top of the many rock art painting in the area surrounding Katherine, there are also many other demonstrations of its rich cultural background. There are a range of tourist attractions which will teach you about the Aboriginal communities of the region and also demonstrate the European history. You can choose from the Old Sheep Dip, the World War II Aboriginal Army Camp Walk, the Bullita Homestead, still in its original condition or simply a visitor information centre.

About Sam Oldfield

Growing up in Santa Cruz, California, I was a keen surfer and beach junkie from early on. My first overseas trip was to the Caribbean, and I've been chasing the summer sun ever since. I wrapped up my media degree at uni, and decided to move to Australia. The land downunder is full of beaches, babes and brilliant adventures. I'm just hitch-hiking my way around this sunny paradise, one travel blog at a time.
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