Pine Creek is located 230km south of Darwin where the Stuart and Kakadu Highways meet. The historic gold mining town is within close proximity to the magnificent Litchfield and Kakadu National Parks and Umbrawarra Gorge.
The local lookout is accessed via Moule Street in town and looks out over Enterprise Pit, part of the town’s historic open cut gold mining operation. The former mine site has a depth of 130 metres below water level and is 250 metres at its widest point. Enterprise Pit was filled with water by diversion of Pine Creek, taking 14 months and holding 6800 megalitres. Old mine shafts are also located at the lookout.
The National Trust Museum and Public Library
on Railway Terrrace are located in the old repeater station. This historic building is the oldest prefabricated corrugated iron structure in Australia. Constructed in England and shipped to Australia to become the Mine Warden’s office at Burrundie during the goldrush in 1889, it was moved to Pine Creek in 1913 however shortly after mining took a downturn. It has since been used as a Pharmacy, Doctor’s residence and clinic, staff quarters, hospital, military communications centre, post office, telephone exchange and finally Museum and Public Library after being taken over by National Trust in the 1980’s when it was scheduled to be demolished. This important part of the town’s history is now a declared heritage place.
The Northern Australian Historical Railway and Museum on Old Moline Road is an interesting historical display. An old NF5 Locomotive built in Manchester in 1877 and used in Australia on the Port Augusta and Eyre Peninsula Railways is located here. The locomotive was transferred here in 1977 and featured in the 1983 film “We of the Never Never”. It was restored in 2000 and carried passengers at the official opening in 2001 for the first time in 57 years. NT railway history is depicted here and a newer diesel loco is also on display.
Copperfield Recreation Dam is 7km from town and is accessed via the Umbrawarra Gorge Road just south of town. Swimming is permitted in the lake and there are basic toilets and a picnic area. Camping and dogs are prohibited.
Umbrawarra Gorge is located 25km from town. The turn off is just south of the township on Stuart Highway and the unsealed access road is 21km in to the gorge. This impressive gorge is characterized by steep orange and black cliff faces towering over the rocky centre. An easy 1km stroll finds a sandy beach and swimming hole. Continuing further involves constant rock hopping and negotiating the creek bed. Not far from the beach area are some fabulous views through the gorge and well worth the effort. A 45 minute walk sees plenty of stunning scenery however the more adventurous can continue on and appreciate the stunning views from the cliff tops. A shady camp ground is located 130 metres from the gorge with pit toilets, wood barbeques and benches. Camp fees are around $3 per person and pets are prohibited. The gorge is accessible by two-wheel drive vehicles during the dry season (May to September) however careful driving techniques are strongly advised due to corrugations, dips and creek crossings. Road conditions are pending on current weather conditions and recent rainfall levels.
Grove Hill Historic Hotel is located on the old railway line in the northern goldfields. The old pub is accessed via unsealed road 45km north of the township and a further 16km in. Built in the 1930’s by the late Bill and Margaret Lucy the hotel serviced the mine workers on the goldfields. Today it is owned and operated under new management and features a historical museum with old relics dedicated to the original owners. The bar itself sports plenty of memorabilia including beer bottles, stubby holders, license plates and photos. Grove Hill is a unique spot to call in for a cold one. Camping and basic accommodation are available here. Grove Hill can also be accessed 9km north of Hayes Creek to complete the old goldfields loop.
Litchfield National Park is accessed some 120km northwest of Pine Creek via the Stuart Highway. This stunning park boasts many breathtaking waterfalls, refreshing swimming holes and tropical rainforests all within close vicinity. The main attractions are Wangi Falls, Florence Falls and Buley Rockhole with magnificent scenery and fabulous swimming. Entry into Litchfield National Park does not require a permit and is free of charge. The best time to visit Litchfield is during the dry season (May to September) when the attractions are generally open.
Kakadu National Park is accessed some 58km northeast of Pine Creek via Kakadu Highway and a permit is required to enter. This World Heritage-listed park is the largest in Australia and features diverse landscapes including rolling floodplains, picturesque billabongs, tumbling waterfalls, crystal clear plunge pools, striking escarpments and historical Aboriginal rock art.
The charming little outback town of Pine Creek has two caravan parks, the Lazy Lizard Resort and Kakadu Gateway Caravan Park. Camping is also available along the Stuart Highway at Emerald Springs Roadhouse (30km north) and Wayside Inn Hayes Creek (54km north).
Pine Creek’s popular annual events include the Goldrush Festival in June featuring local gold panning and the Pine Creek Races each May at Pussy Cat Flats.
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Destinations in the Northern Territory
Elsey National Park
Return from Pine Creek to Northern Territory