My Trip to Katherine Gorge
Arguably the best holiday I have been on was a trip to the Katherine Gorge. South of Darwin in the Northern Territory, also known as the Nitmiluk National Park, nothing could prepare me for the serenity and adventure. Unlike most other destinations that are best visited during the peak of summer, the Katherine Gorge peaks in the ‘dry season’, between April-May until October. Leaving rainy Melbourne, I arrived at the National Park and instantly felt my body relax in the warm breeze.
Katherine Gorge has an unbeatable trifecta. Scenery, culture and activities. Admittedly, it’s hard to get past just how mesmerising the habitat is. I found that there were so many ways to enjoy this trifecta: through hikes, boat cruises and even helicopter rides. I started off with some of the smaller hikes that lasted about four hours. Crystal waters, waterfalls, and abundant, green vegetation that’s home to countless birds. Shamelessly, I spent a whole afternoon on the banks one day just bird watching; there are so many species that a day was not enough to spot them all.
My favourite hike was on the Jatbula Trail, it was such a humbling challenge. It took me a total of five days, setting up camp with the sunset each evening. There is this sense of connectedness you feel when you are surrounded by that much nature for days on end. Feeling the warmth of the soil and seeing the fertility of the banks. My favourite animal to observe was the crocodile, their shy nature gave me a chance to really get a feel for their sun-kissed lives.
On my last day, I decided to book a boat cruise. From the comfort of my own seat (which I needed after the hike), I saw a side to the Katherine Gorge that hiking alone couldn’t give me. I saw sacred Aboriginal rock art and the full extent of the gorges – thirteen in total. I chose to go during dawn when the birds are most vocal and the sun dances along the calm water. I did consider doing the helicopter tour, but thought I’d leave something for the next time I come to visit.