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While its star attraction is undoubtedly the famous Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge, Katherine and its surrounds include great fishing, hidden natural wonders and a rich indigenous and pioneering history. The region stretches from the Gulf of Carpentaria to the West Australia border. Around 300 kilometres south of Darwin, Katherine is set on the banks of the Katherine River.

Katherine was named by explorer John McDouall Stuart in the late 1800s after the daughter of one of his expedition sponsors, and the gorge was renamed ‘Nitmiluk’ – meaning ‘cicada place’ – in 1989 when traditional owners, the Jawoyn Aboriginal people, gained title to the land, which is now Nitmiluk National Park.

The Katherine River flows through 13 separate gorges that carve their way through the Arnhem Land plateau. You can canoe, cruise and swim between sheer cliffs to the sandy freshwater beaches of the main gorges, view ancient Aboriginal rock paintings high on the rock faces. Waterfalls and rock pools are found along more than 100 kilometres of walking tracks, beginning at the park’s visitor centre. Katherine offers a wide range of accommodation, facilities and attractions, including museums, art galleries, character-filled pubs and historic sites. It is also home to the Tindal RAAF Base. Although the airfield was constructed in 1942, it is the Air Force’s youngest operational base and one of Australia’s most important defence installations.
Other attractions within easy reach of the town include the Cutta Cutta Caves Nature Park, the Katherine Hot Springs and Leliyn (Edith Falls).

While exploring the Katherine area why not stop into Pine Creek. Established in the late 1800s, Pine Creek is located 90 kilometres north of Katherine. It is the Top End’s only original mining town remaining from the 1870s gold rush era and is a treasure trove of heritage bush buildings and mining sites. Gold was discovered in 1871 by workers on the Overland Telegraph Line. Although small, the township offers a range of accommodation options, including caravan parks and cabins.


Want to swim in some natural springs?

Don't forget to pop into Mataranka, only an hour’s drive south-east of Katherine. With a population of about 250 people.

The area was made famous by the novel 'We of the Never Never' – a book written about nearby Elsey Station by Jeannie Gunn. Here you will find the Mataranka Thermal Pool and Bitter Springs, where you can swim with the turtles. Catch the elusive Barramundi in the Roper River. Enjoy a bush walk in Elsey National Park. Wander through the Never Never Museum to learn about traditional Aboriginal custodians, the Mangarayi and Yangman people. There are also displays about the region and the North Australian Railway, the Overland Telegraph Line construction and World War II.  Explore the region’s WWII history at Larrimah, south of Mataranka. The historic outpost was established in 1940 to service the nearby Gorrie Airfield during the war. Look through photographs and interpretive signage at the Military Transport Museum.

 

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