Katherine is located about 300km southeast of Darwin
. The main attraction is the Katherine Gorge
) which is only a 29km drive from town. There are actually 13 separate gorges in the system and you can take a boat cruise or helicopter ride, paddle the gorge by canoe or do a variety of walks, discovering the natural beauty and ancient aboriginal rock art Nitmiluk has to offer. There is a well equipped Visitors Centre at the gorge with souvenirs, kiosk, restaurant, facilities and plenty of information about the area. Camping is permitted at the gorge and dogs are prohibited.
Hot Springs are located close to town off Victoria Highway. The water temperature averages 32 degrees celsius and is crystal clear. There are a series of thermal pools which flow constantly out to the river. There are many paperbark trees surrounding the springs and a boardwalk to the source of the springs. The springs are a great spot to swim in the warm water or relax, sun bake or picnic on the grass. Wheelchair access is available via Crocker Street. Pets are permitted in the picnic area but not in the springs.
The Public Art and Craft Gallery is in the Civic Centre in town on Stuart Highway. The gallery boasts some impressive pieces created by Northern Territorian artists. Exhibits include traditional aboriginal art as well as spectacular landscapes from the Top End. The gallery is open between 8am and 3pm Monday to Friday.
Tick Markets (yes “tick” not “flea”) are on the second Saturday of each month between April and November, weather permitting. The markets operate from the Lindsay Street Complex and commence at 5.30pm until late. All sorts of trash and treasure are sold and new stalls are always welcome.
The Low Level Nature Reserve is 5km from town along Zimin Drive. The low level bridge is a popular fishing spot on the river and a grassy picnic area with gas barbeques, playground and toilet facilities are located close by. Pets and camping are prohibited here.
Knott’s Crossing is another popular fishing haunt just 5km from town via the Katherine Gorge Road. The weir is the original river crossing prior to the Low Level Bridge and is a pleasant spot to wet a line. Dogs are permitted.
Springvale Homestead, off Zimin Drive 8km from town, is one of the original pastoral stations of the territory since 1879. This historical untouched building is open to the public and provides information and photographs about its origin and operation. A caravan park and café are on site and crocodile spotting cruises operate on the river here.
Cutta Cutta Caves Nature Park is located 27km south of town on the Stuart Highway. The spectacular limestone cave is estimated to be up to 900 metres in length and about 350 million years old. A 650 metre walk through surrounding woodlands and grey rocky “karst” landscape takes you to the entrance of the cave. The guided tour ventures 200 metres into the cave itself as any further is considered potentially dangerous. The stalactites and stalagmites, protruding from the cave roof and floor form various shapes and some represent famous faces such as the late “Elvis Presley” and The Simpsons “Monty Burns.” Different varieties of bats inhabit the cave as well as the non threatening brown tree snake. The cave walk takes about an hour and is very informative, interesting and reasonably priced.
Leliyn (Edith Falls) is located 61km north of Katherine, including the 19km access road off Stuart Highway. The impressive lower pool is close to the car park, easily accessible and a fantastic swimming area. A 2.6km loop walk takes you up the escarpment with views of the upper pools and Katherine River and then descends to the stunning pools and breathtaking waterfall. Leliyn is a very scenic place and a longer 8.6km walk to Sweetwater Pool is available for the fit and energetic. The lush grassy camping area in the surrounding bush land is the perfect spot to set up camp. Facilities include barbeques, kiosk and toilets. Pets are prohibited.
Mataranka Thermal Pool is about 100 km south of Katherine along the Stuart Highway and set amongst paperbark and palm trees. A wooden boardwalk takes you from the car park through the forest to the pool. The spring fed turquoise water averages 34-35 degrees Celsius and is a great spot to take a dip.
The Katherine Region is where the outback meets the tropics. The scenery is spectacular and only a few hundred kilometres away are the unspoilt waters of The Gulf of Carpentaria, a fishermen’s paradise.
Click here for climate statistics for Australian locations (provided by the Bureau of Meteorology)
Destinations in the Northern Territory
Elsey National Park
Return from Katherine to Northern Territory