While its star attraction is undoubtedly the famous Nitmiluk National Park (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 Australian border. Around 300 kilometres south of Darwin, Katherine is set on the banks of the Katherine River. This unique outback town of around 8,000 people is the region’s major service centre.
Katherine offers a wide range of accommodation, facilities and attractions, including museums, art galleries, character-filled pubs and historic sites. Other attractions within easy reach of the town include the Cutta Cutta Caves Nature Park, the Katherine Hot Springs and Leliyn / Edith Falls. Ninety kilometres north of Katherine is the gold rush town of Pine Creek, a treasure trove of heritage bush buildings and mining sites.
Nitmiluk National Park (Katherine Gorge) covers an awesome 3,000 kilometres of magnificent escarpment country. Nitmiluk means ‘cicada place’ to the local Aboriginal people. The Katherine River flows through 13 separate gorges that carve their way through the Arnhem Plateau. You can canoe, cruise and swim between sheer cliffs to the sandy freshwater beaches of the main gorges and view ancient Aboriginal rock paintings high on the rock faces. Waterfalls and rock pools are found along over 100 kilometres of walking tracks, beginning at the park’s visitor centre.
An hour south-east of Katherine is Mataranka, where the famous Mataranka Thermal Pool is found. Travellers can enjoy a refreshing dip in the pools, which are surrounded by the rainforests of Elsey National Park. The Katherine region also offers excellent fishing. The Daly River area is a fishing hot spot, as is the Victoria River area, which includes the Gregory Nation Park and Keep River National Park. Nearby, the small historic towns of Pine Creek and Timber Creek are well worth a visit. The remote Gulf region also offers a fishing challenge. Anglers can base themselves at Borroloola and fish the McArthur River. Cape Crawford is also popular with anglers attracted by plentiful supplies of barramundi.