Katherine – In four days
DAY 1: Katherine Springs & the Katherine Low Level Nature Reserve
The Katherine Springs run alongside but separate to the Katherine River. This is a fantastic place to go to cool down and have a dip. There are a number of pools commencing with the very top pool which has the crater pouring out almost hot water from the ground. As the water pours down over the rock formations, lower pools and tree root systems, the water drops in temperature, getting cooler by the minute. There is a walking track that takes you from the Springs around to the Low Level Nature Reserve, which has lots of shady trees and picnic tables, spots to put a blanket and have a snack.
Katherine Outback Experience
A must see while you are in the region is the ‘Katherine Outback Experience’ with Tom Curtin. Tom is equally renowned for his award winning music skills in the Tamworth Golden guitar awards as well as he is for his horseman abilities. Watch in awe during his 90 minute show as you witness authentic horse-breaking techniques and a working dog demonstration. Gates open at 4.15pm with the show beginning at 4.30pm and ending at 6pm.
Marksie’s Stockman’s Tucker Night
Dine under the stars at Marksie’s Stockman’s Camp Tucker Night where you’ll feast on traditional outback tucker using a blend of unique Aboriginal spices, resulting in a delectable taste. Meals are cooked according to treasured family recipes, dating back generations. BYO alcohol. Participate in billy spinning or just sit back and enjoy humorous yarns and stories with your host, Geoff Mark. 7pm - til late.
DAY 2: Top Didj Cultural Experience & Art Gallery
The Top Didj and Art Gallery Aboriginal Cultural Experience offers you the chance to meet with local indigenous artists. You can get involved and create some of your own artwork and learn traditional painting styles, try your hand at spear throwing or using a woomera. You also learn to start a fire using just two sticks. Tours start at 9.30am or 2.30pm, each going for 2.5 to 3 hours.
Katherine Museum is a place full of history where you can experience our region through visual and audio interpretation. The Museum site was the town's old aerodrome and was bombed 91 times on the 22 March 1943. Displays feature Clyde Fenton’s Gypsy Moth, Overland Telegraph Line Display, 1998 Flood Movie, World War II Display, Russian Peanut Farmers, One Man, Three Cultures, the Icon & many more. Open from 9am – 4pm daily
Roam around the Katherine town centre, browse through some unique shops and art galleries where you can pick up some unique locally hand crafted gift items or paintings. While you’re looking, why not grab a coffee and sweet treat along the way.
Also check out the bridge on the way out of town, heading towards Darwin. During the flood of 1998, the Katherine River peaked at 21.78m above sea level and you can stand on the footpath on one side of the bridge, look across at the pylon and railway bridge, see where the water level points finish at 18, then walk across to the railway line and stand in the very spot that was once completely immersed from flood waters. It’s quite an immense feeling you are left with.....Nature! Head back past the Information Centre and see the infamous local icon Sabu Sing, an Aboriginal stockman known for his sharp outback skills who became an Australian National cultural identity. His stunning statue stands proud and tall.
Day 3: Cutta Cutta Caves
Travel 27 kilometres south of Katherine to the Cutta Cutta Caves Nature Park. The Park covers 1,499 hectares of limestone landscape with the main feature being impressive limestone stalactites and stalagmites. Formed millions of years ago, the caves are still growing today and are found about 15 metres below the surface.
Around 1900, a European stockman discovered the main cave entrance, and named the cave 'Smith's Cave'. During World War II, servicemen visited the area and referred to it as '16 Mile Cave'. Tours are conducted on the hour between 9am – 3pm, excluding 12 noon.
Mataranka & Bitter Springs
Mataranka is a small town just over an hours’ drive south along the Stuart Highway heading towards Tennant Creek. Mataranka is known for its medicinal thermal springs, where you can swim or just chill out. There are a number of WWII sites to see in the area. Mataranka is also the location for filming movies such as “Jedda” and “We of the Never Never”. The old Elsey Homestead replica which was used in the movie “We of the Never Never” still stands today, reminding us of the early days and the hard life back then.
Bitter Springs is a short distance from Mataranka and is renowned for the resident turtles. Make sure you bring your goggles and snorkel so you can get a close up view of these incredible creatures!
Winding down at the end of a relaxed day
If you enjoy walking or walk to just like to stay fit, there are a number of walking trails in and around Katherine. You can commence your walk at a variety of places, with most people starting at the Information Centre and heading out along the Stuart Highway until they almost reach the Tindal Base. If you are staying in town, you can commence your walk along River Terrace or on the Victoria Highway Road. The paths are also ideal for cycling in case you travel with your own bicycles. Grab your free copy of the Katherine map from the Visitor Information Centre.
DAY 4: Katherine Gorge - Nitmiluk National Park
Nitmiluk National Park extends north to Kakadu National Park and is part of the magnificent Arnhem Land escarpment. Katherine Gorge consists of 13 ancient sandstone gorges carved out by the Katherine River and it’s only half an hours’ drive from Katherine. There are many ways to view the Gorge; boat cruises, canoe hire, hiking, plane and helicopter. The best choice in our view is to see the Gorge change colour during sunset while partaking in fine dining on the Dinner Cruise. Leliyn (Edith Falls)