Katherine – Katherine Gorge – Katherine (70kms)
Booked boat trip – the so-called 3 gorges cruise – and met the boat near the K.G. Visitor Centre at the boat ramp, funnily enough. The gorge has now been restored to the traditional owners, the Jawoyn people, and they operate the boat tours. The gorge is in the Nitmiluk (Nitmil-Look) Park, which means “place of the cicadas”, and the river itself is named the “blue-winged kookaburra river” (so much better than “Katherine River”). That said, Katherine is named after the second daughter of the sponsor of John McDouall Stuart’s expeditions.
The boat trip is in three parts: gorge 1, gorge 2, and gorge 3, of the thirteen gorges named .. well .. exercise for the reader. Gorge 1 is wide, and ends at a boat landing, where we took to the land. We were shown some wonderful Aboriginal rock art, before embarking on the second boat above the rapids. The second gorge was ringed in the highest cliffs, with huge fissures criss-crossing the landscape (apparently, as seen from the air). We transferred again, by foot, to the boat for the third gorge, and we landed at the bottom of stairs which took us to a delightful swimming hole, high above the river, away from salt water crocs. The pool was called the “Water Lily Pool”, and a long ribbon of water cascaded 30+m into the pool; truly delightful, and so refreshing.
Afternoon was spend replenishing supplies in Katherine, and buying fly/mosquito nets (need I say more) before we head south.