Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) National Park
This 292,800 hectare National Park is owned by the Jawoyn Aboriginal people and jointly managed with the Parks and Wildlife Service of the Northern Territory.
Some of this Park's amazing features include spectacular dissected sandstone country, broad valleys and numerous, significant cultural sites.
The deep gorge carved through ancient sandstone by the Katherine River is the central attraction of the Park.
Nitmiluk National Park is located in the Top End of Australia's Northern Territory. The Park has two main points of visitor access.
The Park's main entrance is located 30 km northeast of Katherine via a sealed road. Katherine is located 310 km south of Darwin along the Stuart Highway.
Leliyn (Edith Falls) on the western side of the Park, is reached by turning off the Stuart Highway 42km north of Katherine then following a sealed road for a further 19km.
The most comfortable months to visit the Park are from May to September. The wet season causes flooding of the Katherine River and restrictions on some of the activities available. The access road may be cut off for short periods during peak flooding times.
There are many activities to undertake at Nitmiluk. For more detail see the links below.
- Recreational Activities
- Scenic and Cultural Features
- Ranger Guided Activities
- Nitmiluk National Park Tour Guide Handbook
The picnic area provides gas barbecues, picnic furniture and toilet facilities. The launch tour boat jetty and canoe hire are located adjacent to the boat ramp. A public swimming area is provided in the picnic area. Information on the flora, fauna, geology, walks, activities, and other points of interest can be found in the Nitmiluk Centre at Katherine Gorge.
- All native plants and animals in the Park are protected.
- Please respect Aboriginal art sites and do not touch the paintings.
- Open fires are not permitted at the campsites on the Southern Walks or the Jatbula Trail. The only open fires permitted in the park are located in the Nitmiluk Tours Campground in the designated fire pits.
- Avoid using soaps or detergents in the waterways as they pollute the streams and harm aquatic life.
- Swim only where recommended. Observe all warning signs.
- Take your rubbish away with you.
- Keep to designated roads and tracks.
- Pets are not permitted in this Park.
- Nets, traps and firearms are not permitted.
- Camp only in designated camping areas.
- Observe all fishing regulations.
- Download Park fact sheet (pdf 738Kb)
- Leliyn (Edith Falls) fact sheet (pdf 665Kb)
- Jatbula Trail Information Sheet (pdf 1003Kb)
- Southern Walks Information Sheet (pdf 800Kb)
- Baruwei Walks Information Sheet (pdf 675Kb)
There are two types of camping in the Park. You can stay at the permanent campgrounds at the Gorge or Leliyn (Edith Falls)where there is plenty of car parking, tent and caravan sites. Powered (Gorge only) and unpowered sites are available. Elsewhere in the Park, bush camping areas have been established for walkers and canoeists who intend to stay overnight. Toilets are provided at some camping areas and a source of water is almost always available nearby. Check at the Nitmiluk Centre first.
Fires are permitted in the Nitmiluk Tours Camping ground located outside the Nitmiluk Visitors Centre. Fires are not allowed at the camping areas in the gorge system or the Jatbula Trail and campers must supply their own cooking gear and fuel.
A small fee is charged for bush camping. Check at the Nitmiluk Centre for availability of sites and to ensure that water is still available.
- Boat Ramp
- Boat Tours
Nitmiluk Tours operate a variety of boat tours in the Gorge system ranging from the popular two hour cruise, to a half day safari which includes the third gorge. Make sure you take a shady hat and check whether there is an opportunity to swim. Booking offices are located within the Gorge Tourist Precinct and all tours depart from the boat ramp.
- Camping Permitted
Canoes can be hired at the Gorge by the hour, half day, full day or overnight. You may put your own canoe on the river but you must register at the Nitmiluk Centre first. A fee will be charged. The upper gorges are accessible to canoes but portage can be quite strenuous, especially when the river is low. Canoes and gear have to be carried over the crossovers between various gorges.
There are several designated camping areas along the river but numbers are restricted, so be sure to allow plenty of time to register. Further information is available from the Canoe Information Sheet (pdf 689Kb).
- Caravan Permitted
- Flying Tour
A helicopter ride is one of the most exciting ways to see the gorge system. A 12 minute flight will take you as far as the sixth gorge, where you can experience a magnificent view of the Arnhem Land Plateau. Flights of 25 minutes include the whole of the gorge system. The helicopter takes three passengers at a time with a minimum of two people.
- Picnic Tables
- Visitor Centre
- Walking Tracks
There are numerous walking tracks in the Park offering a variety of experiences, ranging from strolls along the riverbanks, overnight walks and a five day walk from Katherine Gorge to Leliyn (Edith Falls). Overnight walkers are required to register with the Parks and Wildlife Commission at the Nitmiluk Centre. The geology of the area is fascinating with the formation of the gorge from the surrounding sandstone-conglomerate plateau making an intriguing study. Aboriginal art can be seen along the base of the sandstone escarpment as you travel the Katherine River. Other evidence of Jawoyn activities are located throughout the Park.
More detailed information can be found in the Nitmiluk Centre or in the Guide to Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) National Park Walking Map.
The Jatbula Trail is a seasonal walk from Nitmiluk to Leliyn (Edith Falls). The trail (approx 60 km) is best enjoyed over 5 days (4 nights).
The country you walk through is Jawoyn country and it changes from savannah grasslands to rocky escarpment outcrops and rainforest pockets. It is a challenging trail with beautiful swimming holes at every campsite, and amazing Jawoyn Rock Art which can be viewed at the Amphitheatre.
The Jatbula Trail is a very popular walk, therefore it is essential to book your place on the Trail as the campsites are limited to 10 people per night. Places fill up quickly, so call the Nitmiluk Visitor Information Desk on (08) 8972 1886 to book your spot early.
Camping fees are $3.30 per night per person. A $50 refundable deposit is required when you pay the camping fees. The deposit is returned when you deregister at Leliyn upon completion of your walk.
Leliyn (Edith Falls)is located on the western boundary of the Park. This picturesque waterhole is a favoured stopping point for visitors travelling northwards.
Leliyn (Edith Falls)can be reached by travelling the Stuart Highway northwards from Katherine for 42 km and then following a bitumen road for 19 km.
Facilities include an ablution block with toilet and shower facilities, basic park furniture of wood barbecues and tables.
Please collect your firewood before entering the Park. The campground at Leliyn (Edith Falls)has unpowered sites only.
Top End Parks Alive
Free Territory Parks Alive activities are offered in many Top End Parks between May and September.
See the brochure below for further details on the Walks & Talks or check the posters on park.
Park Access - Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) National ParkPhone 08 8972 1886 | Road Conditions
|Park Sites||Access||Comments||Forecast Opening|
|Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) National Park||Open||The Parks and Wildlife Commission of the NT advise that an aerial feral animal eradication program will be conducted in the park on; Sunday 26th May and Monday 27th May; CLOSURE NOTICE|
|Swimming in River||Closed||Edit|
|Southern Rockhole (Swimming)||Open||Edit|
|Lily Ponds Walk||Open||Edit|
|Dunlop Swamp (Camping)||Open||Edit|
|Smitt Rock Walk||Open||Edit|
|Eighth Gorge||Open||Camping allowed. Swimming in plunge pool only, not in Katherine River||Edit|
|Boat Tours||Open||Open to 3rd Gorge||Edit|
|Butterfly Gorge Walk||Open||Edit|
|Lily Ponds (Swimming at River)||Closed||Edit|
|Lily Pond Waterfall (Swimming)||Open||Edit|
|Jawoyn Valley Walk||Open||Edit|