The Beautiful Katherine Gorge

Trip Start Jul 10, 2010
Trip End Sep 17, 2010

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Nitmiluk National Park - Katherine Gorge

Flag of Australia  , Northern Territory,
Monday, August 2, 2010

A day where you just pinch yourself and appreciate how lucky you are to be here.

Our day was spent floating down the Katherine River within the Nitmiluk National Park.  In what was a four hour tour, we cruised down the first, second and third gorges, hopping off at each gorge interval to transfer boats as the water is too low in the dry season for one boat to sail all three gorges.

Like most days in the NT, it was sunny and hot with a slightly cool breeze keeping things comfortable on the boat.

The highlight of the tour was a swim in the water hole which sits between the third and fourth gorge.  Laying there in the cool water looking up at the sheer sandstone rock faces there was nowhere in the world I would rather have been.  I think Wendy enjoyed the swim as well, though was slightly more hesitant - fearful of the 2.5 metre saltwater crocodile still on the loose causing the gorge to be closed to all swimming and canooing for the last week or so.  

Courtney and Mitchell thoroughly enjoyed the day, and spending it with their friends Jess, Jack and Lachie made it even better.

The gorge and its surrounds is now fully owned by the Aboriginal community and is run by the NT Parks and Wildlife under a lease arrangement.

Visiting it in the dry season, it is amazing to realise how much water flows through it in the wet season.  During the last 1 in 150 year storm in around 2001, the water level rose by as much as 10 metres in parts, with some debris still stuck seemingly in mid air in the forks of some of the towering trees.

Our guide Lauren was very informative and seems to have immersed herself in the culture.  She knew many 'dreamtime' stories and was very good at identifying the uses for many plants along the journey. 

The remainder of the day was filled by more swimming in the camp pool and another dinner under the stars.

Tomorrow we head further north to Edith Falls and a stay not far from the Litchfield National Park.

Stay tuned.
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