6 reasons why a Katherine Gorge road-trip is a NT family must do

By Darren Potter

So you want to take the family on that great Aussie adventure? Well, the Northern Territory certainly packs a punch for adventure seekers but one of the ultimate experiences has to be a trip to Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge.

Here’s why:

  1. It’s very accessible
    Yes it’s rugged and it’s beautiful but the best is a trip from Darwin to Nitmiluk is easy, keeping both the littlies and adults happy.

    At Darwin, you jump on the Stuart Highway and about 300km down the road you hit the town of Katherine. This is a ‘kid friendly’ distance, and the time will fly-by, especially once you hit the car games (spotting all the giant termite mounds along the way is a crowd favorite!).

  2. The journey is as great as the destination
    Road trips are the perfect way to really get to know a region. And there is nothing better than staring out the window taking in scenery that only the Northern Territory can deliver. It’s exactly the picture perfect Aussie outback scene you’d expect: great big blue skies stretching above rolling red hills dotted with green eucalyptus. Just like you see in all those Aussie movies!

  3. The ‘pit stops’ are fun
    One of the first highlights of the vast Nitmiluk National Park, is Edith Falls (Leilyn), which is just a quick detour off the main highway. The falls are an easy 125 metre walk away on a well-worn track from the parking area, so once you’re out of the car you are into the action.

    This is an absolutely beautiful waterhole, which is perfectly safe to swim in and it’s huge, so everyone has plenty of room to splash around. If you have the energy, swim out to the lower falls through the deep green waters, and float in the middle for a truly serene experience.

    Once you have finished swimming, either set up for a picnic in the shady grounds, or dive into one of the huge burgers at the kiosk which come highly recommended.

  4. A real outback experience
    You can stay right at the entrance to the Gorge at the Nitmiluk Chalets which can sleep up to 5 people. There is a great community vibe, with the focal point being the large resort style pool, which provides the perfect outback oasis. A bush BBQ, under starry skies, whilst making new friends, will add a memorable moment to your family trip.

    If you want to treat yourself, enjoy a breakfast or lunch buffet at the Sugar bag Café in the Visitors Centre, where the views from the large outdoor deck over the Nitmiluk National Park are breath-taking.

  5. The Gorge is simply gorgeous
    The highlight is certainly the Gorge itself and there are so many ways you can explore this amazing natural wonder. A great place to start is the Baruwei Lookout Walk which provides a birds-eye view of the Katherine River. It’s a short one hour walk with a few steep sets of stairs, but the reward at the top is well worth the effort.

    There are a great series of walking trails for the serious bush walkers including a five day hike along the 66km Jatbula Track, but in my opinion, the best way to see the Gorge is from the water, surrounding yourself amongst the huge sandstone cliffs, in what feels like a truly ancient landscape. A number of different cruises can take you through the first three Gorges, and the guides with their personal stories and insights into the local Jawoyn people, add to this breathtaking and visually inspiring experience.

    Hot tip: Check out the Sydney 2000 Olympics torch, on your way out, which made its way to the Gorge as part of the relay.

  6. Activate the family
    So you want to take your holiday to the next level? Well the Gorge can certainly deliver the goods.

    Get active as you glide around the waters on a kayak or canoe, with just the sounds of nature disturbing the peace.

    Cultural Safari tours provide a great interactive experience where you can go beyond the amazing landscape and learn about the local traditions. These tours are packed with activities, from visiting rock art, having a go at playing the didgeridoo and even trying your hand at spear throwing – what better way to stir up some family competition.

    Or why not finish with the ultimate experience, and take an exciting helicopter flight, which is the only way that you will be able to see all 13 Gorges. The take home stories will last a lifetime.

Ready to plan your trip to the NT? Create your dream bucket list here.

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