Nitmiluk NP & Katherine

Nitmiluk National Park

There are two camping areas in Nitmiluk National Park. Leliyn (Edith Falls) in the western side of the park and Katherine Gorge on the eastern side. We flipped a coin and headed for Katherine Gorge.

Upon arrival we discovered that it is actually a caravan park located within the National Park. Rather than double back to the Edith Falls camping ground we ponied up the dough.

The most popular activities here are to take a boat ride up Katherine Gorge or hire canoes and paddle yourself. We decided to save our pennies and see the area on foot.

After a good nights sleep we were up and out early on. We decided to head to Butterfly Gorge, as 12km return track. It starts off with a steep section to the top of a gorge before the track progresses parallel to the river before turning down Butterfly Gorge itself. The sounds of nature could be heard whilst walking through the gorge along side a quite stream in the shade of the cliff walls. The whisper of the wind through the leaves, the birds calling to one another, even the buzz of the insects could be heard.

The gorge ends with the stream running into the Katherine River.

On the return journey we diverted into Baruwei Lookout trail. This path peaks at the top a cliff providing expansive views of the Katherine River before heading down a staircase and finishing along the edge of the river, finally ending at the visitor centre where we were glad of a cold ice-cream.

Returning to camp we found we’d managed to walk 16kms. We headed to the swimming pool and relaxed for the remainder of the afternoon.

Unfortunately we hadn’t been able to book the car in for a service while we were in Darwin so had made an appointment in Katherine. This meant we didn’t have time to check out the other side of the park at Edith Falls.

Katherine

We stopped for a coffee at the café in the visitor centre at Nitmiluk before making the short journey to Katherine and booking in at a caravan park.

After some lunch we walked down to the hot springs and took a dip. The water was like a lovely warm bath and we paddled and relaxed in the slow current for a while before heading back to camp.

The next day we dropped the Paj off at the service centre. Having spent the last few weeks in National Parks, we took the opportunity while stuck in the caravan park without wheels to catch up on some boring stuff like laundry.

When we got the call from the mechanic later that afternoon to pick up the car we got the bad news that the car was going to need some more serious repairs on the suspension. We should be OK to do the red centre and head to Queensland, but to get the car looked at before heading to Cape York.

The worst case scenario could see the end of the trip. There was no point worrying about it until we had a second opinion. We prepared to get back on the road to follow our original plans until we hit Cairns where we’d get the car checked over by another mechanic.

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