Canoeing in the ancient Katherine Gorge, NT, Australia

by Tanja

Canoeing in Katherine Gorge is one of the things that should be on the top of your to-do list while visiting the Australian Outback. The ancient gorge is located in the Nitmiluk National Park, 330 km south of Darwin, Northern Territory. Here, where the Outback meets the tropics, you will discover misty waterfalls, thermal springs and ancient cultures.

We headed there on our way from Broom to Darwin during our budget 4wd road trip around Australia and it was an amazing stopover. There are different ways to visit Katherine Gorge: hikes, canoes, helicopters and also boat trips. We heard that the best way to visit this National Park was canoeing so we went for it!

Canoeing in Katherine Gorge: prices & info

Canoeing in Katherine Gorge

We chose a half day canoe hire ($40 pp for a double canoe), but full day and overnight hires are also available. During our 4 hour trip we only had access to the first of a series of 13 gorges, however, we got pretty much an idea of the beauty of this place. If you have enough time we highly recommend the overnight canoe trip ($85 pp for a double canoe, camping gear is not provided and permits are required). The gorge’s sections further up are a lot more scenic and less crowded than the first few.

Our experience in Kathrine Gorge

This is how it went: after fastening our lifejackets and spending the first 10 minutes moving in circles, we managed to take off in the right direction. Paddling is hard work – perhaps because I was the only one paddling, while Will was enjoying the scenery – but after a while, it seemed to take less effort to make the thing move forward. Reaching the end of the first gorge we enjoyed a refreshing dip and a picnic before admiring some of the oldest Aboriginal rock art found in Australia and returning to the starting point.

Canoeing in Katherine Gorge

Canoeing in Katherine Gorge

Canoeing in Katherine Gorge

Drifting past river banks, rocky escarpments and sandy beaches we saw signs saying ‘crocodiles nesting’ so keep your eyes peeled for the occasional small freshwater croc, which are harmless – so the canoe hire guy said! Canoeing is safe if you respect the rule of not approaching them in areas where they nest. While canoeing in Katherine Gorge you can also spot eagles, Black Cockatoos and Cormorants. A truly amazing experience!

Katherine Gorge canoe trips can only be done during the dry season (May to November approximately).

Where is Katherine Gorge?

Katherine Gorge is located about 3.5 hours by car from Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory.

For more info about the Nitmiluk National Park visit the official website >> 

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