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The Katherine region of the Northern Territory is a vast outback and tropical haven. Drive three hours south of Darwin, and you can be in the town of Katherine, a gateway town to the many national parks in the region as well as a cultural hub for the Aboriginal People. The Katherine region is where the outback of central Australia meets the topical coast. Perfect for relaxing getaways, you will be spoilt for choice on places to drive your car hire in this region.
Few places on earth offer such untouched natural wonders as the national parks of the Katherine region. Boat tours, aboriginal tours, self-walking and guided tours are all fun ways to experience the natural environment. The region is full of gorges, waterfalls, thermal springs, tropical rainforests and native animals. The Katherine Gorge and Nitmiluk are right outside the town centre. One of the best aspects of the national parks in the region is that they are so stunning and diverse that you will be blown away straight out of the car park.
You will find many Aboriginal experiences on offer, from art galleries to outback tours showing how the Aboriginal people lived off the land and the ceremonial practices they continue to follow in the region to this day.
Many people are completely stunned when they first encounter the beauty of the Nitmiluk Gorge. See it from the land or on a river cruise; either way, it is one of the most spectacular regions in Australia. You will find Rock Art from the Jawoyn people, who have called the lands of Nitmiluk home for thousands of years. Like Uluru, the rocks of Nitmiluk seem to change colour with the sunset and sunrise. You can be right in the park within a 30-minute drive from the centre of Katherine. You will feel a million miles away from the rest of the world while you tour the impressive 13 gorges carved by the Katherine River. Drive to one of the many walking trails to take in the park by foot, with swimming holes, camping sites, waterfalls, and stunning lookout points all readily accessible.
You can learn about the cultural significance of the gorge from the local Dagomen and Jawoyn people, including the details behind the rock art and the ceremonies. Walking trails can take a few hours to some that can take over 5 days, such as the Jatbula Trail.
There are many more national parks with amazing attractions, such as the Cutta Cutta Caves Nature Park, a 30-kilometre drive south of Katherine in your rental car. Go 15 metres below the surface in these incredible limestone caves, filled with stalactites and stalagmites. A pleasant 30-minute walking trail also surrounds the caves, perfect if you’re waiting for the next guided tour.
Katherine is a cultural hub for many Aboriginal people, as the gateway to two of the most important sites in Aboriginal culture, the Nitmiluk and Kakadu National Parks. In Katherine, you will find many art galleries with paintings from local artists for sale. Visit the Top Didj & Art Gallery. Full of fun hands-on activities such as didgeridoo playing and Aboriginal art classes using authentic materials. The tour is held by local man Manuel Pamkal, and runs for 2.5-hours. It is an unforgettable cultural experience and offers a great insight into the region.
To learn even more about the region, visit the Katherine Museum, which features a collection of artefacts that showcase the history of the town and the surrounding area.