Nitmiluk National Park (previously known as Katherine Gorge National Park) is on the lands of the Jawoyn people, who are the traditional custodians. The park encompasses an area rich in river systems and spectacular sandstone valleys and comprises an area of over 292 000 hectares. This stunning landscape is where the Jawoyn people live, work and continue to share their culture with the community and visitors.
Nitmiluk is the Jawoyn name for Katherine Gorge. It's pronounced 'Nit-me-look' and literally means 'Cicada Place".
Located about 3 hrs south of Darwin, the park has two main entrance points providing access to the most well-known attractions. Leliyn (Edith Falls) to the North and Nitmiluk Gorge (Katherine Gorge) to the South. It is a 90km drive between the two entrances.
Leliyn (Edith Falls) is a vast natural spring-fed pool lined with paper bark trees and pandanus palms. The area is open for swimming throughout most of the dry season and is an excellent place to camp or picnic. Swimming at both the upper and lower pools is possible. Nearby bushwalks take you through various habitats where you can see a diverse variety of flora and fauna, as well as small rock art galleries.
Further south, Nitmiluk Gorge (Katherine Gorge) is a deep gorge created from millions of years of extreme wet season water flows from the Katherine River. Nitmiluk Gorge is made up of thirteen gorges. The sheer rock face walls that line the waterways change with the light, and the sandy beaches and pandanus-lined channels make it a memorable experience.
Venture North offer small group tours to Nitmiluk National Park along with Kakadu and Arnhem Land. Alternatively, we can arrange a private charter to suit individual interests and time frames.
With so many ways to experience in the Gorge, here are some tips to make the most of it!
No visit is complete without boarding a cruise that takes you down the river, where you can absorb the area's sheer beauty. Sunrise or Sunset is a spectacular time to experience the Gorge. Freshwater crocodiles are frequent inhabitants of the site, along with an array of endemic Australian mammals and birds.
Alternatively, go at your own pace and hire a canoe. A slow paddle is a perfect way to immerse in the natural beauty of Nitmiluk Gorge. Drift through the sandstone cliffs. Pull up on a sandy beach with a picnic and take in the features of the environment. Full-day or half-day tours are available.
Another unique way to take in this ancient landscape is by air. A scenic helicopter flight gives a breathtaking perspective as you can trace the unique gorge system from the air. This bird's eye view provides the ideal photography opportunity.
Nitmiluk Tours operates a variety of tours in the Gorge system. Tours depart from the Nitmiluk Tours Jetty and can be booked via the Nitmiluk Visitor Centre.
Where to Stay
Base yourself at Nitmiluk Campground to easily access the main attraction, Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge. Choose from powered camping sites or comfortable one or two-bedroom chalets are also available at Nitmiluk Cabins.
Cicada Lodge provides a luxurious alternative. All 18 eco-friendly air-conditioned rooms have ensuites & private balconies and feature Indigenous artwork from local artists. Relax by the pool with canapes and drinks at Sunset before dining at the restaurant with dishes combining traditional elements and flavours from the region.
When to Go
The most comfortable time to visit Nitmiluk National Park is from May to September. Although if you can handle some humid weather, months on either side of this can be just as spectacular (and a little quieter)
There may be times during the wet season due to flooding that parts of the park become inaccessible. Check if a park is open via the NT Parks website.
Alternatively, why not take the hassle and stress out of planning, driving, booking tours and accommodation and let us take care of all of that for you in one of our guided tours!
Venture North offer a five-day guided small group tour, including Nitmiluk National Park, Litchfield, Kakadu, and Arnhem Land. We can also create a tailor-made itinerary to cater to your touring needs. Our private charters operate all year round.
For more information on Nitmiluk National Park or to find out more about our available tours, please get in touch.