The fourth largest town in the Northern Territory, Katherine is a
regional centre that has retained its importance due to the growth in
regional tourism. The town is the place from which to explore the
stunning natural attractions of the region, which include Katherine
Gorge, Edith Falls, Cutta Cutta Caves and Douglas Hot Springs.
Location: 340 km south of Darwin; 1,184 km north of Alice Springs.
Katherine town and surrounds provide plenty of park and garden
areas. Dakota Park, Giles Park, Jurassic Cycad Gardens, Jukes Park and
O’Shea Park are in the town. Attractions include Nitmiluk
National Park and Cutta Cutta Caves Nature Park (27 km south), Kintore
Caves Nature Park (15 km north-west) with its populations of endangered
cycads and Aboriginal rock art, Low Level Nature Park, Springvale
Homestead and Katherine Hot Springs.
Fishing for barramundi, tarpon and sooty grunter is also popular
along the Katherine River. The low level Nature Reserve and the hot
springs are regarded safe to swim. Both freshwater and saltwater
crocodiles inhabit the river.
In summer, the Katherine region is one of Australia's major mango
producing areas. The Northern Territory in general produces early
season (September–November) mangoes; this is fortunate, as it
helps avoid competition with the Queensland market as well as the wet
season which is damaging to fruit. The Kensington Pride is a notable
cultivar grown in the NT. Mangoes are a major primary industry in the
territory and generate substantial revenue, despite susceptibility to
fluctuations from year to year. Katherine mangoes are amongst the
highest quality fruit in the Australian market.
Katherine is one of only two scheduled stops (the other is Alice
Springs) on the Ghan railway between Adelaide and Darwin. During the 3
hours stopover, guests can take an around-town tour, taking in the
attractions in and around Katherine, or Nitmiluk National Park, and
visit Katherine Gorge. Katherine was originally connected to Darwin via
the North Australia Railway, a narrow gauge railway which was completed
in 1926. It fell into disuse and was eventually closed and the tracks
lifted. In 2003 the line was replaced with standard gauge as part of
extending the line to Alice Springs north to Darwin. The Ghan, run by
Great Southern Railway, operates on this track.
Katherine Gorge, in Nitmiluk National Park, is a must-see for
visitors. During the dry season, boat tours are conducted up two of the
numerous gorges through which the Katherine River flows. Visitors can
also kayak the gorge (half, full day and overnight trips) or walk along
the cliff tops via the Park's 100 km of marked walking trails. These
trails also lead to various waterfalls and lookouts. Scenic flights in
helicopters or fixed wing aircraft give a unique perspective to the
area's extensive gorge system. More information Ph (08) 8972 1886.
Flora River Nature Park
The park incorporates 25 km of the Flora River and an ideal spot for
canoeing, fishing and boating. Djarrung and Katherine Falls are a short
walk from the campground. Pig-nosed turtles, freshwater and saltwater
crocodiles i8nhabit the area. Location: 122 km south west of
Katherine via Victoria Highway.
Katherine Hot Springs
A short drive from the centre of Katherine, these springs consist of
a number of crystal clear pools winding through the trees, at an
idyllic 32 degrees celsius. The reserve has barbecue and picnic
Jurassic Cycad Gardens
1.4 km of self guided walking trails wind through 5 acres of
prehistoric gardens. The Gardens feature collections of rare living
fossil cycads, cacti, succulents and exotic plants. The complex has a
coffee shop. Entry fees apply. Location: 61 Morris Rd. Katherine.
Ph (08) 8971 0335.
Katherine School of the Air
Join a tour to discover how remote students are taught using
satellite and internet technologies. Entry fees apply. Location: Giles
Street, Katherine. Ph (08) 8972 1833