6 Incredible Katherine and Surrounds Experiences To Have On Your Big Lap

by The Coe Family

1. Visit The Gorges

Situated within Nitmiluk National Park, Katherine Gorge is a culturally significant place to the Janowyn people. With multiple options from hiking, kayak tours and cruises to discover this amazing and culturally significant place, you will be sure to leave with some amazing memories.

Between July and October, you can embark on a canoe tour of Katherine Gorge. A boat will take you along the first Gorge to the bank of the second gorge where you pick up either your double or single canoe (kids under 12 must ride with an adult). You can then go at your own pace through the following gorges admiring the rock art and the vastness of the sandstone escarpment towering above you. Swimming is permitted in the second gorge onwards and if you are keen enough you can make it to the 4th and 5th Gorges.

Perfect for families, Umbrawarra Gorge is found at the end of a 22km dirt road with a few creek crossings which makes the trip a little more exciting. This Gorge is easily accessible and breathtaking. Umbrawarra Gorge is perfect for swimming and is best visited early to mid dry season to ensure that the water is flowing. There is also a sacred Indigenous women’s site at the top of the cliffs, which only women are able to enter and find the rock art there.

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2. Enjoy The Hot Springs

Bitter Springs is a natural spring in which you can take a leisurely float along the slowly flowing water with steps in and out at the end. The water at Bitter Springs is a comfortable 28-30 degrees year round and is a distinct clear blue colour which gives way to an amazing underwater world of plant and animal life. Make sure you bring a noodle for the kids.

Situated right in Katherine you will find a series of fresh water pools fed by a natural thermal spring. The pools start at the beginning of the spring and run into several pools down the hillside. These pools are on average 25-30 degrees year round and so inviting! You can float all the way from the top to the bottom pools.

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3. Experience Daly Waters Pub

The original outback pub! Surely this iconic NT Pub needs no introduction but for those who do not know, The Daly Waters pub is home to the infamous Beef and Barra meal and some absolute cracking NT entertainment. The pub started collecting items from its visitors in the 80s, all thanks to a drinking competition. These items are now plastered all over the walls and ceilings and range from forgeign currency and photographs to underwear hanging from the rafters. You simply cannot just drive past Daly Waters.

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4. Cutta Cutta Caves

The Cutta Cutta Caves are one of Australia’s only tropical limestone cave systems and is easily accessible by a boardwalk that runs throughout the cave system. The caves are full of spectacular stalactites and are also home to the rare ghost bat and the horseshoe bat. You have to book ahead and can only be seen via 1hour guided tours.

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5. Immerse Yourself In Culture

This area is rich with Indigenous cultural experiences. From the sacred spots in the various national parks, to art galleries and museums, this ancient culture is certainly alive and well here.

The Top Didj Cultural Experience is a great activity for all to get hands on and spend 2.5 hours with the aboriginal artist Manuel Pamka. Immerse yourself in culture as Manuel teaches you how to create a Rarrk Painting of your own, tells you about his life and childhood growing up in the bush and participate in other culturally significant activities such as Spear throwing and Fire Lighting. You are guaranteed to leave with a smile and your own bit of artwork to boot.

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6. Have An Outback Experience

Surrounded by some of Australia’s largest cattle properties, it’s no surprise that Katherine is an incredible place to get to know the outback way of life. Katherine Outback Experience runs from April to October a glimpse into life on the land with horse and dog demonstrations, Aussie music and funny outback tales.

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Want access to the best free camps, top walks, events, local secrets (and more) in the Katherine and Surrounds region? Click here to get your Big Lap Bible now.

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