Nitmiluk National Park plays host to a diverse and breathtaking landscape filled with rustic gorges, rainforest gullies and rich broad valleys. Owned by the Jawoyn people, this ancient sandstone country is centred around its namesake gorge. Carved out by the Katherine River, the gorge makes for a wonderful natural playground for visitors to the park. There’s so much to do in this 2920 sq km national park.
It’s the perfect place to fill your Northern Territory holiday days. Take a boat cruise on the gorge or an immersive tour with an Indigenous guide. Wake early for a sunrise canoe tour or walk the many trails. Swim in the refreshing waters of Edith Falls or discover intriguing Aboriginal rock art. There's something for everyone in Nitmiluk, the 'Place of the Cicada Dreaming'.
Whether you visit for a day or a week, there's plenty to see and do at Nitmiluk National Park. The main sites you’ll want to include in your Nitmiluk National Park tour are the gorge itself and beautiful Edith Falls. The best way to see Katherine Gorge is by water. There are several cruises on offer but all include cultural guides who share their knowledge about plants, animals, Dreamtime stories and culture. As you cruise alongside the sheer limestone escarpments, the scenery is some of the greatest in Australia.
You’ll find Leliyn (Edith) Falls on the park's western boundary, where tranquil waters offer a cool respite. Here you can swim in the lower pool surrounded by paperbark and pandanus. If you’re feeling more energetic, walk to the upper pools where you can swim among picture-perfect rock formations.
Nitmiluk National Park is open year-round. From May to October, you’ll find the weather warm and dry. This is the perfect time for long hikes, serene cruises, canoeing, and general exploration. The days become hotter from November to April, and tropical rain causes the water levels to rise making for a more adventurous experience on the gorges.
The best way to discover Nitmiluk National Park’s many attractions is to drive or join an organised Nitmiluk tour. The park’s roads are all accessible, so a 4WD is not necessary. Walking tracks within the park are well marked and provide options from one hour walks to the five-day Jatbula Trail. If seeing the park by foot or boat isn’t to your liking, there’s always the option of taking to the skies on a scenic helicopter flight.
You’ll find camping, cabin, and safari tent options within the park, as well as the luxurious Cicada Lodge. For those who prefer a day trip, there is plenty of accommodation on offer in nearby Katherine.
If you’re coming from Darwin, Nitmiluk National Park is around a three-hour drive. From Katherine, it’s only a 30-minute drive.
"Nitmiluk" refers to Katherine Gorge and was named by the local Jawoyn people who are the traditional custodians of the land. It is derived from the Jawoyn word "nitmi," which means "cicada dreaming," and "luk," which means "belonging to." The name reflects the cultural and spiritual significance of the area to the Jawoyn people and their deep connection to the land, its stories, and its natural features.
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