Posted by: travelrat | December 24, 2012

Katherine Gorge

Katherine 2

Katherine: 18th April 2012.

As I think I’ve said before, the Ghan is never in a particular hurry, and it stops in Katherine for several hours to allow passengers to make one of several tours that are on offer.

The major attraction is the Katherine Gorge, about 12 miles away.

There are, actually, thirteen gorges, separated by rapids and waterfalls, where the Katherine River has carved its way into the countryside, leaving steep red cliffs, with a lush riverbank environment between them.

There’s time for a scenic flight over the gorge, but I don’t think this is really the way to see it. Far more leisurely and laid back is the possibility of hiring a canoe, and doing your own thing. But, we wouldn’t have time for that. So, we chose the ‘Two Gorge Tour’, a gentle boat cruise, which is exactly what it says.


What we call the Katherine Gorge National Park has been handed back to the Aboriginal people, so, nowadays, they prefer the name ‘Nitmiluk’, for the gorge and the land around it belong to the Jawaya people, who own and operate the cruise company.

I’ve got this thing about gorges. I’ve walked down them, and walked up them … but this one, we just sit in a boat and cruise it.

The cruise lasts about two hours, and two boats are used, with a short walk to negotiate the stretch of river that the boats can’t negotiate. How did they get the second boat up here, then, I asked. Stupid question; the guide simply grinned.

‘In the Wet, the water’s much higher than this. So, we just sail them up!’

Katherine Gorge

That’s an understatement; the gorge is a narrow one, and the river has been known to rise 25 feet in as many hours. But, of course, it doesn’t need to get nearly that high to sail the boats upstream.

The river flows between the high, red walls of the enclosing cliffs, and we saw two freshwater crocodiles basking on the bank.

The main attraction was the scenery. We only saw a small part of it, though, and wish we could have stayed much longer. But, we had, eventually, to get back on to the train!

Croc 4


  1. Hi Keith,
    I have never had the pleasure of going to the Gorge, but have heard a lot about it. It seems like a wonderful place to cruise so peaceful and of course to see some crocs. I’m glad you enjoyed it, something a bit different.

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