When is the best time to visit Katherine Gorge?

When is the best time to visit Katherine Gorge?

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 07/26/2023

Reading time: 3 mins

Over a three-hour drive from Darwin, you will find yourself looking at the beautiful Katherine Gorge/Nitmiluk Gorge.

Nitmiluk National Park (Katherine Gorge National Park), is a beautiful river system with sandstone valleys in the Northern Territory. Nitmiluk Gorge (Katherine Gorge) is made up of 13 other gorges! This gorge has been created over millions of years from the heavy rain in the wet season that flows from Katherine River.

The best time to visit Nitmiluk Gorge is between May to September when it is the dry season. You’ll avoid the heavy rainfall, but you will still experience nice sunny days as you explore the gorge and the national park.

Why did Katherine Gorge change to Nitmiluk Gorge?

The name change came along when the traditional owners, the Jawoyn people had the land returned. Nitmiluk Gorge was always the traditional name of the land and the gorge before the gorge was even called Katherine Gorge.

Nitmiluk Gorge

What can I do at Nitmiluk Gorge?

Nitmiluk Gorge is over 20 million years old and is a must-visit when you are in the Top End. One of the best ways to see the gorge is on a two-hour river cruise.

There is also a one-way, 62-kilometre trail from Nitmiluk Gorge to Leliyn. The walk can take five days to complete, but you can do a quick stroll along the trail and spot some wildlife.

How can I get to Nitmiluk Gorge?

A drive from Darwin to Nitmiluk Gorge is over three hours. Or if you’re staying in Katherine, then you will only have a short drive to get to the gorge.

No car? No problem, you can book a tour and get driven down to Nitmiluk Gorge from Darwin! On the tour you’ll be seeing a lot, such as the Adelaide River War Cemetery where over 400 casualties lie. Adelaide River was the headquarters of a large base during World War II.

Next, you will head to Nitmiluk National Park to see explore a plethora of natural wonders. Around here you can also see a few waterfalls from Katherine River, like Leliyn (Edith Falls). You are able to swim at this waterfall during the dry season.

After you have had your lunch, you will have some time to walk through the Nitmiluk Visitor Centre and see the photographs and cultural displays.

Finally, you see the main attraction, Nitmiluk Gorge. You will go on a two-hour river cruise through the gorge. Enjoy the scenery of the cliffs reaching 70 metres high and also keep a lookout for some wildlife, such as freshwater crocodiles.

Overall, Nitmiluk Gorge is beautiful to visit all year round, but the dry season gives the area peacefulness without rain.

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.