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Plan your Katherine Gorge adventure

Discover ancient sandstone cliffs in Nitmiluk National Park

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Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge

Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge is pure magic

Katherine Gorge is no doubt one of the most beautiful places in Australia. Just 30 kilometres from the town of Katherine, nestled in Nitmiluk National Park, this impressive 12 kilometre gorge has been carved out by the Katherine River over the last 23 million years. Surrounded by lush rainforest and broad valleys, Katherine Gorge boasts 70 metre-high sandstone cliffs, 13 gorges and a series of breathtaking falls and rapids.

Katherine Gorge is found on the lands of the Jaowyn people. It was renamed Nitmiluk, meaning ‘place of the cicada dreaming’ referring to the Creation Time story of the traditional owners. With its majestic beauty, the sheer size of this impressive gorge is a sight not to be missed. Whether you choose to experience the landscape by foot, boat or on a helicopter tour, Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge will steal your heart as one of the Top End’s most magical places.

View our Katherine Gorge holiday and tour packages

Physical rating icon
Physical rating:
3 - Active/Moderate
Tour duration icon
Tour duration:
13
days

Australia's Top End and the Kimberley await with adventures to be had, dreamtime culture to enlighten and glorious nature to explore. Marvel at the termite mounds of Litchfield National Park, see Rock Art and cruise the Yellow Water wetlands in Kakadu, discover Katherine Gorge and the Ord River, soar above the Bungle Bungles, see the Derby Boab Tree for yourself, then finish with a camel ride on stunning Cable Beach.

Physical rating icon
Physical rating:
3 - Active/Moderate
Tour duration icon
Tour duration:
12
days

This epic adventure heads into the heart of the Red Centre starts with 1 night in Adelaide before travelling overnight in Gold Service onboard the mighty Ghan. Enjoy a night in Alice Springs visiting the West MacDonnell Ranges, then see the wonders of Uluru with 3 nights at Yulara including the stunning Sounds of Silence dinner. Re-board the Ghan for another night before finishing with 1 night in Darwin.

Physical rating icon
Physical rating:
3 - Active/Moderate
Tour duration icon
Tour duration:
8
days

Delve into Darwin and the Northern Territory’s epic top end onthis 8 day journey of discovery. From the rich indigenous culture of the TiwiIslands to a breathtaking scenic flight over Arnhem Land, we have everythingcovered. Marvel at the termite mounds in Litchfield National Park, enjoy aguided tour of the Aboriginal rock art site of Burrungkuy and cruise the YellowWater Billabong in Kakadu. We experience the Tom Curtain’s Katherine Outbackshow followed by a magic sunset cruise along the Katherine River. We bidfarewell with a finale dinner at Seafood on Cullen.

Don’t miss this Top End gem

Round out your Top End experience with a tour of Katherine Gorge. Begin your visit by stopping in at the Nitmiluk Visitor Centre at the entrance to the gorge; get your bearings, plan your day, and take in the cultural displays.

As for touring Katherine Gorge itself, there’s a host of options on offer to suit all travellers who want to delve into the beauty of this rugged and untamed landscape. Witness the ever-changing colours of the gorge’s majestic sandstone cliffs aboard a Katherine Gorge cruise, or choose a sunset dinner cruise to enjoy spectacular views of this natural phenomenon while learning about the traditional owners of the land, the Jaowyn people. 

Discover ancient sandstone cliffs in Nitmiluk National Park

View by foot or sky

Nature lovers and hiking enthusiasts may opt to walk one of the many trails through the national park. A range of short walks will unveil secret vistas and ancient history, whilst the epic Jetbula Trail at 62 kilometres in length offers an experience like no other. Alternatively, scenic helicopter tours present a chance to experience the grandeur of the gorge from above.

With its endemic flora and fauna, its cultural heritage and remarkable landscape, a tour of Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge is a must-do when visiting the Top End. Come and see for yourself; you can view our range of Northern Territory tours here.

Frequently asked questions

When is the best time to visit Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge?

Like its neighbour Kakadu, the best time to visit Nitmiluk is throughout the dry season which runs from April to October. Daytime temperatures during the peak months of the dry season average 29-30°C, and the waters of Katherine River at this time of the year are tranquil and perfect for canoeing and swimming in the many waterholes.

What wildlife can you see in Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge?

Wildlife is in abundance during the dry season, with a chance to spot relatively harmless freshwater crocodiles nesting on the shores. Bird lovers will also wonder at ospreys, red-tailed black cockatoos and great bowerbirds.

How can I explore Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge?

There are various ways to explore the area. Visitors can take guided boat tours that navigate through the gorges, providing close-up views of the dramatic cliffs and rock formations. There are also options for canoeing and kayaking, allowing you to paddle along the river and experience the tranquillity of the area.

Can you swim in Katherine Gorge?

Yes, you can swim in Katherine Gorge, but it is essential to be aware of seasonal conditions and safety guidelines. Swimming is generally safe during the dry season (May to October) when water levels are lower, and the risk of saltwater crocodiles is minimal. Popular swimming spots include the First Gorge and the Southern Rockhole. Always check with local authorities or tour operators for current safety information and swim only in designated areas to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

How long is the Katherine Gorge walk?

The Katherine Gorge in Nitmiluk National Park offers several walking trails of varying lengths and difficulties. The most popular walk is the 8.4-kilometre (5.2-mile) return trail to the Southern Rockhole, which takes about 4 to 5 hours to complete. Another notable trail is the Windolf Walk, a 12-kilometre (7.5-mile) loop with a viewpoint over the gorge that typically takes around 4 to 6 hours. Shorter walks, such as the Baruwei Lookout Walk, are also available, taking about 1 to 2 hours for a round trip of approximately 2 kilometres (1.2 miles).

How many days do you need in Katherine Gorge?

To fully experience Katherine Gorge and its surroundings, a stay of 2 to 3 days is recommended. This allows you to explore multiple gorges, partake in various activities such as boat cruises, kayaking, and hiking, and enjoy the stunning scenery. Within a few days, you can also visit nearby attractions like the Edith Falls and the Nitmiluk Visitor Centre, which offer insights into the local Aboriginal culture and the area's natural history. This timeframe provides a well-rounded experience of the park's diverse offerings.

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