Our journey from Daly Waters to Katherine last Thursday was one of a ‘history lesson’.
The first town we passed through was Larrimah. Larrimah became a town during WW2 when the historic Gorrie Airfield was built about 10km to the north. At that time the railway from Darwin also terminated near Larrimah. Today the town boasts one hotel and a tearoom that operates out of the old police station.
The next historic town was Mataranka in the heart of Never Never country. The town has Elsey National Park close by and the Mataranka Thermal Pools are approximately 9km out of town. The area was made famous by Jeannie Gunn in her classic ‘We of the Never Never’ who describes her experiences on nearby Elsey Station in 1902.
We arrived in Katherine mid-afternoon on Thursday. Katherine is a major centre in the heart of the Northern Territory at the junction of the Stuart and Victoria Highways. The reason many visit the area is to experience the Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge. This was certainly the reason for our visit.
Our home for three nights was the Manbulloo Homestead Caravan Park. The park is on a working cattle station about 9km out from Katherine itself. It was a great little spot beside the Katherine River. Our wakeup call each morning were the cattle dogs going about their business.
We had a big day on Friday. Our first adventure was the Baruwei Loop walk over the Katherine Gorge. It was 2-hour climb through some fairly challenging landscapes but we found it to be another stunning piece of the country. Words cannot adequately describe the scenery we came across on the climb. One of the standouts for us was the colonies of flying fox in some parts of the Gorge. There were simply thousands of them hanging in the trees. We were especially privileged at sunset when they all took to the sky for their evening search for food. A magnificent sight.
Our second adventure on Friday was the Katherine Gorge boat trip followed by an onboard dinner. The boat took us through two of the 13 gorges with our dinner commencing at sunset. We feasted on crocodile, kangaroo, barramundi, local beef steak accompanied by champagne and a variety of wines. A brilliant way to end a busy day. We slept like logs that night.
As an aside, we sighted two crocodiles while on our boat cruise so we made a majority decision not to swim in the Katherine River while we are here.
A few more shots of our Nitmiluk Gorge adventure HERE .
Saturday was a motorhome maintenance and cleaning day. The chores still have to be done whether at home or on the road. We did however take advantage later in the afternoon of a swim at the local hot springs just up the road. It was nothing sophisticated – just a dammed stream of natural warm water but the team spent a relaxing couple of hours at the spring.
This morning we decided to stay in the area for a few more days but move further into the Nitmiluk National Park and stay at Nitmiluk Camp, an excellent facility 32km northeast of Katherine itself. After a brief stop off in Katherine to pick up a few supplies we made our way into the Park and are now settled for the next two or three days.
If you ever get the chance to get up this way – do it. It is a historic and brilliant part of Australia. The scenery and wildlife is amazing.
Our plan is to stay here until either Tuesday or Wednesday then make our way Edith Falls, about 60km north of Katherine. We are not quite sure what is there but apparently it is worth a couple of days stay. We will let you know.